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Strawbs - Déjà Fou CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.15 | 33 ratings

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3 stars Well, Cousins and co. are back and they can still cut it! From the "Ghosts"-like opener to the Arabic-influenced showstopper "NRG", DEJA FOU is an album of many delights.

Strawbs' strong points have always been eclectic songwriting and a long line of talented musicians. Here Dave Cousins is re-united with the line-up that did such classic work from 1973-75, Lambert, Cronk, Coombes and Hawken. They play well, though there aren't that many songs where they play together as a group. Hawken wasn't present during the recordings, (he lives in the US), instead he was sent the tapes afterwards to fill in his keyboard work.

On the slower numbers, there is usually only Lambert, Cronk and Cousins performing, as in the beautiful, stark "Face down in the well" and the wistful ballads "Sunday morning" and "If". (with a string quintet arranged by Robert Kirby. another Strawbs alumni) "If" is already becoming a live-favourite on the Strawbs many tours around the UK and US/ Canada. It's not prog, but it's a lovely tune like nothing else made in this day and age.

The group rock out on Lambert's fine "Cold steel", the poppy "On a night like this" (not my favourite) and "Russian front", which is the most progressive number on the CD. Meanwhiile, "Under a cloudless sky" is reminiscent of Strawbs from the era of "Hero and heroine", with a slow build-up, built around a hypnotic guitar-line and then a cracking finish.

The weakest thing about DEJA FOU is the production, which I think is 'nt nearly as dynamic as it should have been. The sound is sometimes muddled during the heavier moments. Otherwise the CD doesn't disappoint. And Dave Cousins still writes lyrics and tunes as no- one else. Good one.

brainway | 3/5 |


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