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Kevin Ayers - Yes We Have No Mananas CD (album) cover

YES WE HAVE NO MANANAS

Kevin Ayers

 

Canterbury Scene

2.57 | 12 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
2 stars In spite of the gorgeous title, this album marked the beginning of the end for Kevin Ayers. Melodically and structurally, some of the uptempo songs are similar to the earlier SWEET DECEIVER, but everything has been simplified and prettified. On SWEET DECEIVER many songs benefitted from Ayers's playfully philosophical ruminations, but here on MANANAS, unfortunately, there are simply too many traces of lightweight cabaret and childish whimsy. (Needless to add that Kevin's extended psychedelic experiments also lay far, far behind him.) Silly ditties about owls and snakes lead to the suspicion that Ayers may have been reading too much Edward Lear. Earlier on in his career, the even darker fantasies of Lewis Carroll had a more beneficial effect. Furthermore, run-of-the-mill pop songs like "Star" and "Love's gonna turn you round" never did anyone any good, and covering Marlene Dietrich ("Falling in Love Again") is better left to German rockers like the legendary Udo Lindenberg.

Towards the end of MANANAS Kevin almost redeems himself by singing a splendid love song ("I Do") in which he sounds more forlorn than ever. And he goes on to take this mood even further in the gorgeous "Blue", which features superb vocal and orchestral arrangements, as well as a climactic guitar solo (performed by Ollie Halsall, I think) which won't leave you untouched. It's a helluva way to end an album! Pity that almost everything before it was below par.

EMI's recent digital remaster features first-rate liner notes and several bonus tracks, among which there's a live performance of "Blue". The bonus tracks are no great shakes, but the original album now sounds clearer than ever.

fuxi | 2/5 |

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