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Curved Air - Second Album CD (album) cover

SECOND ALBUM

Curved Air

 

Eclectic Prog

3.59 | 129 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The one after their first album (but before their third album).

Curved Air's name comes from Terry Riley album 'A rainbow In Curved Air', although it must be emphasised that their music bears no resemblance to that of Riley. Their debut album, "Air conditioning" was released in 1970, to be followed in 1971 by this release. In between the albums, they toured the USA supporting Jethro Tull and Free. The many line up changes which plagued the band between their formation in 1970, and their final recordings in 1976 started almost immediately, with bassist Ian Eire replacing original member Robin Martin. Eire was then himself replaced by Mick Wedgwood after recording this album.

"Second album" (what an imaginative title!) is best known for the huge hit single it contains in "Back Street Luv". It certainly helped to increase sales of the album enormously while opening the band up to a whole new audience, and propelling them towards stardom. It is actually a pretty good track too, and while not particularly representative of their sound, was by no means a sell out.

As a whole, the album is lighter and more pop orientated than "Air conditioning" although it does contain the 13 minute "Piece of mind". This is a rather elongated piece, based around what might otherwise have been a good 5-6 minute song. Kristina certainly gives a fine vocal performance, the tumbling fast singing sections being particularly striking. The track moves through rather jazzy piano and some distinctive brass (vaguely reminiscent of Uriah Heep's use of brass on "Salisbury"). There is some goods synth too, but the overall impression is of a track being stretched beyond its natural length.

Of the other tracks, "Jumbo" is a lovely violin dominated ballad which might have made for a successful single. The title is perhaps a bit unfortunate, conjuring images of elephants rather than the intended aeroplanes and their romantic "flying me home" connotation. "Puppets" is another ballad, with a sparse backing to high delicate vocals.

"Young mother" has an almost early Genesis like sound at times, but the sharing of the main melody by vocals and violin gives the track an intriguingly different feel. On the down side, "You know" is an average pop track on the lines of "Stretch" from their first album. "Bright summer's day '68" is a short throwaway song with strange, shouted and distorted vocals.

In all, a decent "second" album by the band, which relies less on the violin and more on the keyboards. Not their best album (I'd recommend "Air conditioning" or the wonderful but hard to find "Air cut"), but worthy of investigation.

The LP sleeve was rather attractive consisting of several fold out sections with cut- outs and rainbow sections.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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