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Kevin Ayers - Bananamour CD (album) cover


Kevin Ayers


Canterbury Scene

3.18 | 46 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Leonard Cohen on steroids?

A year after "Whateverwebrignswesing", Kevin Ayers brought together a fresh bunch of helpers to record this his fourth album and his last for Harvest records (for the time being). By this time, Ayers was making definite moves towards a more mainstream style, and despite the presence of stalwarts such as Robert Wyatt and Steve Hillage as occasional guests, that migration continues to be in evidence here. Ayers use of multi-tracking on his vocals combined with female backing vocals on the opening track ("Don't Let It Get You Down") serve to indicate a desire to present something generally more accessible than on previous albums.

On "Shouting In A Bucket Blues", Ayers does a passable impression of Leonard Cohen on steroids, the satirical lyrics being along the lines of those used by the wonderful Jim Stafford. The highlight of the song is actually some rather uncharacteristic lead guitar by Steve Hillage. On "When Your Parents Go To Sleep", Archie Legget takes on lead vocals. The song is a slow blues with a decent brass arrangement. It reminded me a lot of the Rolling Stones song "I've got the blues".

We move into looser, funkier territories for "Interview", where Ayers employs some pleasing effects to colour an interestingly offbeat song. The track merges into the brief "Internotional Anthem", which is simply a coda to "Interview".

If the album has a feature track, it is the 8 minute "Decadence"; a tribute to the singer Nico, with whom Ayers would soon perform live. The song features some of the old style Ayers motifs, the soft folk style also reminding of Tim Buckley. This is certainly the beefiest of the tracks here, and the most likely to please long term fans. The following "Oh! Wot A Dream", a tribute to Syd Barrett, places us right back in the realms of the whimsical, but it is inoffensively brief.

The soft "Hymn" features the multi-tracked vocals which Ayers increasingly favoured, the songs acquiring a dreamy, relaxed mood. The album closes with the brief "Beware of the dog", featuring an orchestral arrangement by David Bedford.

Overall, one of Kevin's most accessible albums ever, and one which is certainly enjoyable. There is little in the way of genuine highlights as such, the album tending to drift along pleasantly and inoffensively.

The CD reissue has four bonus tracks. One of these is a wonderful early version of "Decadence" with spacy sounds and a fine vocal. "Connie On A Rubber Band" is a cod reggae/calypso number with naughty lyrics. We might expect "Take Me To Tahiti" to be similar, and it is to the extent of its pop leanings. There is though a harder edge to the song, with strong guitar bursts and pop chants. The final extra track is "Caribbean Moon", a melodic calypso song of little substance.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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