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Strawbs - Deep Cuts  CD (album) cover

DEEP CUTS

Strawbs

 

Prog Folk

2.76 | 48 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars `Deep Cuts' is a mixed bag of styles and genres arranged in an accessible and easy to listen format, a collection of shorter and more concise pieces with slight progressive elements throughout. It's full of the usual charm and character of their previous albums, with rich and detailed lyrics and a feeling of sweet sentimentality. It's sophisticated and elegant pop/prog/folk with the expected country leanings and some rockier moments too, with a great balance of acoustic and electric guitar playing.

The album begins with `I Only Want My Love To Grow In You', a poppy foot-tapper with pleasant group harmonies, uplifting lead electric guitar lines and a catchy melody that's very easy to like. The power-pop sound carries on with the harder `Turn Me Round' with treated soaring guitar breaks and those gravelly but sweet lead vocals from Strawbs main man David Cousins. Gorgeous Mellotron and a wistful vocal on the charming `Hard, Hard Winter'. A reflective lyric and those typical Byrds-like dreamy group harmonies are superb on this one! `My Friend Peter', in contrast, is an angry heavy stomper with a spitting and bitter vocal from Cousins and a terrific searing heavy guitar solo in the middle! It ends far too early on an abrupt fade out, when another tough guitar solo would have been perfect! Sounds like nothing else the band ever did! `The Soldiers' Tale' is probably one of the slightly more substantial pieces on the album, with a strong narrative lyric, noisy guitar, urgent vocals, driving drum-work and eerie Mellotron breakouts.

Side B's `Simple Visions' has a very upbeat spiritual lyric and positive vocals from Cousins. It's full of gorgeous melodic guitar runs and uplifting Mellotron, but the whole band gets terrific moments throughout this one - I especially love the bass and keyboards! The slightly cheesy `Charmer' has that same power-poppy sound from the first side, loud snappy guitars with a frantic and catchy repeated chorus. It's very lightweight, but effortlessly pleasant. (`Wasting My Time) Thinking Of You' is an occasionally schmaltzy and breezy ballad, with a playful vocal that might rub some listeners the wrong way. It's very pretty, kind of cute, but also very slight and a little sickly. I'm really back and forth over that one! Spectral Mellotron opens `Beside The Rio Grande', which tells a lyrically rich and dramatic story, with a heavy atmosphere aided by confident lead vocals. It's the most instrumental heavy track on the album, with funky bass, urgent percussion and hot wah-wah guitar weaving throughout the track. Very sudden ending though, which is a real shame. `So Close...' is an affectionate and romantic predominantly piano/vocal piece with restrained bass and ghostly Mellotron. With a warm and majestic guitar solo, it ends the album is a very grand and epic way - if only it had been a little longer!

I doubt this album will ever be considered among the better albums from this band, but I find it an undemanding and restrained collection of smart pop/folk with occasional progressive moments to keep the more forgiving of listeners happy. The heartfelt and longing human elements are really pleasing to me on this one too.

Perfectly intelligent and approachable background music, and a sweet album that might really touch your heart.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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