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Jon & Vangelis - The Friends Of Mr. Cairo CD (album) cover


Jon & Vangelis


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3.31 | 106 ratings

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3 stars On the heels of Chariots of Fire, Vangelis releases his most popular collaboration with Jon Anderson. Not that it is their best, however. I think its popularity partially rests on the time of its release, and part rests on the fact that this is the most pop-oriented of their four albums. The CD version begins with I'll Find My Way Home, initially released as a single. This is a nice little tune, simple and pleasant. The original album begins with the next track, State of Independence, which is one of the best they have done. An almost funky synth beat drives the song, but not too hard. As such, it moves without crashing. Beside, which follows, is another thematic piece of theirs that could fit anywhere in their collaborative catalogue. There are some oddities here though. The Mayflower provides a comparison between the pilgrims and astronauts ? explorers of new worlds. This song is marred by the pompous announcement of the Mayflower setting sail in search of a new land. This is followed by some NASA recordings of astronauts in space, a la Freefall from Albedo 0.39. The title track, The Friends of Mr. Cairo is a 13-minute epic that begins upbeat and ends in grand atmospherics. As a homage to gangster films of the 30's, it is an odd subject for these two. The concept of linking love to these violent subjects shows that Mr. Anderson doesn't really understand these movies at all. Either that or he is stretching really far in his lovenik lyrics. Dialogue clips supposedly from these films augment the song, mostly in the first section. Unfortunately, these are not actually clips, nor are they actual lines from the films. And they are all bad impressions. They provide counterpoint but they are really only clichés of a genre which is treated so broadly that several of the clips aren't even from gangster films. This is followed by their absolute worst song ever, Back to School. Poppy and boppy, the music bounces along behind Jon Anderson's barking vocals. I find it just plain obnoxious. The album winds up with Outside of This (Inside of That), another song that typifies their sound. If anyone has a single Jon and Vangelis, chances are it is this one. Overall, the album is a mixed bag ? there are some classic tracks of theirs, but there are also some that emphasize their worst tendencies.
Progosopher | 3/5 |


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