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Curved Air - Air Cut CD (album) cover


Curved Air


Eclectic Prog

3.69 | 189 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Perhaps on the strength of their sultry female "frontman", their kickoff picture disk, and a top 5 single in the early going, CURVED AIR stormed out of the gate at the dawn of the 1970s. Unfortunately, being an archetypal super group assembled before the members solidified their reputations, they were cursed with steady attrition of those members who were clearly at war at least in a musical sense. By the time of "Air Cut", both Monkman and Way were out, 17 year old EDDIE JOBSON was in on both violin and keyboards and their profile hit the skids, at least in their homeland.

Speaking from my own experience, in Canada, where their early albums had, even cumulatively, barely eroded the cheapest stylus, "Air Cut" soared in relative terms, entirely on the strength of the 10 minute opus, "Metamorphosis". While it might not be quite as original as their earlier highlights, its warmth exposes the virtuosic iciness of most of their previous offerings, in case one hadn't noticed already. It's also a near perfect piece that combined angelic (!) vocals, cryptically resonating pagan lyrics, martial drumming, lofty lead guitar, and, most of all, astounding synthesizer, organ AND piano courtesy of Jobson. It's astonishing that the band never did anything else that remotely compares in style, composition, arrangements or achievement, and in fact it's one of the keynote prog epics of any era.

The rest is the uneven potpourri following its antecedents' precedence. By far the most exciting is "Armin", which showcases Jobson on the violin with which he would soon become inseparably associated. "Elfin Boy" highlight's Kristina's more maudlin side, but it can't hold a candle to "Melinda More or Less" from "Phantasmagoria" in case you were wondering. "Easy" is a worthy closer with Kirby Gregory conveying expert leads throughout, trading the spotlight with more Jobson jabs. Beyond this, we have a tepid attempt at another fluke hard rock hit in "Purple Speed Queen" and the ill advised and dire foray into male lead vocals in "Two Three Two". Even Sonja can't save the only marginally better "UHF".

Worth it for "Metamorphosis" alone - well, really off key ambulance sirens would be worth listening to if Metamorphosis was embedded in their somewhere - "Air Cut" is otherwise slightly inferior to, say "Phantasmagoria", which would have been CURVED AIR's closest approximation of unity even as the inevitable cuts loomed.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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