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If - If 4 CD (album) cover

IF 4

If

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.43 | 18 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Hope you like our new direction

"If 4" would prove to be the last album recorded by what was by and large the original line up of the band, before they disbanded and a new group using the same name was formed. Unlike the band's first three albums, "If 4" was not released in North America, but please see the entry for the album "Waterfall" for a North American release the same year. The tracks here were recorded live in the studio in front of an audience having been developed by the band at various gigs. The recordings are reportedly devoid of post production overdubs.

As a whole, the album represents the band's jazzier side, the opening 10+ minute "Sector 17" being a hope you like our new direction fusion style jam. There is plenty of energy in the performance, with guitarist Terry Smith and saxophonist Dave Quincy (who wrote the song) both being afforded plenty of space to display their talents. For me through, the track is very ordinary and indeed anonymous. This could be any of a number of bands and artists who resorted to rambling nonsense when the inspiration ran out.

Fortunately, things get back on track with the jazz rock of "The Light Still Shines", a song which reminded me of some of Alan Price's work. Here things are much tighter, J.W. Hodgkinson adding one of his fine vocals. "You in Your Small Corner" is the shortest track on the album and the last of the trio of Quincy compositions. Here we have the album's most accessible song, very much inspired by the anthems of Blood Sweat and Tears and complete with David Clayton Thomas like scat, plus a female backing vocal. I love it!

Side two of the LP sees the late Dick Morressey taking control, the opening "Waterfall" featuring plenty of his flute playing backed by a frantic rhythm and a good vocal refrain. "Throw Myself to the Wind" has a bit of a swing feel to it, the Blood Sweat and Tears similarities once again coming through. The album closes with Svenska Soma, the only song not to include a member of If in the writing credits. I have to admit defeat in my attempts to track down information on the composer (named as "Jonsson-Smith"). The track is another of the instrumental fusion jams, primarily focused on the sax section.

Overall, a bit of an up and down album (Iffy?!) by the band. The two extended jams aside, there is some decent material here. I can only assume that material was in short supply.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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