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Strawbs - Nomadness CD (album) cover

NOMADNESS

Strawbs

 

Prog Folk

2.49 | 56 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars Never really understood what this title was hinting at: nomad-ness or no-madness, and it certainly was not its music that enticed me to investigate. Indeed the present is a very very very average run-of-the-mill album, which makes (or should make) even the most ardent Strawbs fan cringe. Let's go back (and forget the passable to acceptable H&H and Ghosts albums) to the atrocious BATS album and remind ourselves that Cousins had decided to attack the American market by splurging into shameless country ballads Part Of The Union and Lay Down and produced their then-weakest album, with only one double track that could please progheads. Well let's FFwd to Nomadness, which would come close to better that lowpoint by nailing a few countryrock stinking ballads, therefore trying again the US-breaking trick that had almost destroyed them after BATS. Probably sensing this new smelly move, Hawken left the band leaving them as a quartet and relying on guest Mealing and Tommy Eyre (Riff Raff) on keys and Wakeman on one track.

And indeed this album tries soooo hard to be radio-friendly that the group loses all of its strawberry flavours and if To Be Free, Absent Friend and Promised Lamp (the only track presenting a tad of drama) save the album from being a complete disaster being hounourable fillers, other shameless so-called (country?) rockers like Little Sleepy, Back On The Farm and Tokyo Rosie are complete catastrophes, drowning the album in mediocrity. Even soft tracks like Golden Salamander, Mind Of My Own, Shall Our Love Die sound cheap, unconvincing and stale. Only one sun ray on this disc: Hanging In The Gallery sounds like the previous group's better period, maybe not worthy of Witchwood, but certainly of GNV or H&H. Together with the closing dramatic Promised Land (I would've like to see this track expanded into double its time), these two tracks save in-extremis this album from being worse than BATS.

The remasters comes with two (honest) bonus tracks that came from this album's sessions, but never saw the light of day, the first of which (Still Small Voice) is an interesting track, certainly better than most of the original album was. The latter Good To See The Sun is however just as hollow and shallow as the album, delivering a country-esque FM track that fails. Recorded in London and graced with a bland (and blank?) meaningless lavatory artwork, somehow announcing the nullity of the songs inside, Nomadness reeks selling-out fumes, rotten fruits and ultimate failure. Best avoided as are most of the future Strawbs album in the decade.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |

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