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4 stars How "Mr Manson" & "Silly boys" escaped the attention of the larger base of music lovers is a mystery to me...those two songs are classic rockers that are above anything I've heard from several "mainstream" bands, media attention getters. The rest of the cuts are euther good or very good too (with the exception of the 2 mellow, stringed love songs-but thats me). A must for those who what something other than the standard FM radio stuff, the songs we all want to be turned on to...the ones beneath the surface. So if your craving for some fresh, exicting worthy classic rock then GET THIS RECORD! You're in for a nice surprise.
Report this review (#4276)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars Klaatu's superb beginning probably made it impossible to top, (how could it with such an incredible second outing as Hope), but this third album can look like a collective admission of failure to better themselves. By avoiding to make a Son-Of -Hope, this was maybe a courageous move, but this stepping back was also admitting defeat and furthermore, the quality of their debut was not even approached either. From the start, things were not right, as they hated Hugh Syme's artwork (of Rush fame - I for one, do not think this artwork is bad at all: certainly not as superb as Hope, but certainly better than their future albums), as they finally decoded to drop the mask and are represented on the back cover and in the inside sleeve. There is still the famous Klaatu sun reference, but clearly the band is walking away from it and therefore away from most progheads and me.

Most of the tracks are still in the pop realm hovering between Beatles, ELO and 10 CC, but simply fails to reach the brilliant levels of previous albums. Apparently capitol made a strong investment in promoting the album, but to my remembrances, this album sank without a trace - to the image of their single A Routine Day: it was alright!! It must be said that by now, the Beatles influences were working against them and punk was also sweeping thiongs up across the pond. This is still finely chiselled and crafted pop tunes, but the inventivity was simply not there and no magic happening either. If Woloschuk gad taken the main share of the songwriting in Hope, here he will gladly let Dee Long that the better half of it, but Woloschuk's contribution do not raise the level of the album. Just the final track is above the mediocre level, silly Boys, but it is synthetically-derived from their very first track (dating from 73), Hanus of Uranus, even if it does hold some resemblances to the track from their debut album, their reworking of it is quite different, but hardly worth the investment in this poor album.

Please note that the 25 th anniversary edition of this album avoids to reprint the impressive inside sleeve photo montage showing their three faces emerging from a sea of fog. An average pop album, with very few to please the proghead, but much worse is to come.

Report this review (#4277)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sir Army Suit reaches a little farther than Klaatu's musical arms can reach. There are fine songs on here (Silly Boys, Everybody Took A Holiday), funny songs (Perpetual Motion Machine) and a couple not-so-good ones too (Tokeymore Field, Cherie).

Overall, a good listen and above the level of radio garbage of the time... or of now, for that matter. If you get a chance to buy it, go for it.

Report this review (#4278)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A routine album

Not being familiar with Klaatu's back catalogue (I only have this album and "Endangered species"), I have to approach reviewing "Sir army suit" in isolation. On that basis, it is difficult to find any reason for this album, or indeed the band, to be listed on a progressive rock site. The album consists of 10 tracks lasting a total of 35 minutes, virtually all of which can be summed up as pleasant pop rock.

All the songs are written by John Woloschuk and/or Dee Long. Those by Long, tend to be slightly harder and a bit more complex, but its all relative. "Mister Manson" for example has similarities to Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't' fear the reaper", with some fine guitar work, and good old phasing. The final track, "Silly boys" is reminiscent of 10cc, with backward processed vocals, and a bit more of a sense of adventure.

Elsewhere, there is generally a late 60's pop feel to the album, with plenty of hints of The Beatles, and ELO. The opening track "A routine day", has good harmonies, and decent guitar breaks, but it's little more than a pop song. Likewise "Everybody took a holiday" has a good strong melody, and fine instrumental work, but is dominated by the vocals.

"Dear Christine" sounds similar to the chart songs of America (the band), with Beach Boys type harmonies. "Tokymor field" is light bouncy pop, with hints of the Hollies, and dare I say even The Wombles! "Perpetual motion machine" is another Dee Long track, along the lines of Crosby Stills and Nash's "Marakesh express". "Cherie" is a pleasant, orchestrated soft pop ballad, with something of a mediaeval feel, in part due to the harpsichord backing.

In all, a pleasant pop album, with short tight tracks, commendable harmonies and good but brief instrumental work.

The CD I have combines this album and "Endangered species" on one disk. The packaging is poor, with very little in the way of sleeve notes or historical information.

Report this review (#4279)
Posted Saturday, April 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I got my first copy of this shortly after it was released, and still listen to it today. True, this is not Yes, or Genesis, or "real" progressive music, in that the tracks are short, etc, but this is just a fun album, period. If you want traditional progressive music, check out their album "Hope", which is a concept album from 1977 - ahead of "The Wall" by Pink Floyd (although not as hard edged, for sure). "Silly Boys" is my favorite track on the album, with the backward masking sounds, and funky guitar and lyrics. "Older" is a good rocker, which I believe got some radio airplay, and is just a great sounding song. "Everybody Took a Holiday" has some great lyrics, that compel you to sing along. "Dear Christine", "Tokeymor Fields" and "Cherie" are more pop oriented love songs, but the lyrics and music combine nicely. Not a traditional progressive album, but a very fun one. If I had to pick someone to compare Klaatu to, I would say Marillion in Misplaced Childhood - shorter songs, but creative and pleasant to listen to. You won't find 20 minute opus magnums here, but you will find a set of fun little songs. I'll give it a 3, since it has stood the test of time for nearly 30 years.
Report this review (#43597)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Klaatu's fascinating career would make an intriguing book! After a Beatles/Floyd-ish first album, their second was a full-blown prog opus about the end of the world, then they did another sharp turn and returned to Beatle-style pop on this, their third LP.

I actually go back a long time with this record, I think it's simply one of the best "Beatle pop" albums ever recorded by anyone after the breakup of the Beatles. So is it "prog"? Maybe not -- about as prog as The Moody Blues perhaps, which is to say there is a certain "art rock" vibe here, but no lengthy solos or multi-section high concept fol-de- rol.

Though really, it's only Woloschuk's songs that sound like the Beatles (something about his voice, he sounds like the bastard son of McCartney & Harrison somehow) -- Dee Long's tunes tend to be more in the vein of KISS -- his tunes like "Older" & "Mister Manson" are rawkin 70's style smokers (good stuff! I dig his lead guitar a lot.)

Highlights include the opener "A Routine Day" which I think is an absolute masterpiece -- very Lennon / Moody Blues, only better than most tunes by either of those artists (seriously, it is that good!!) There's also a cool animated "video" for this song as well.

The closer "Silly Boys" is a tour de force of editing & production -- the basic tracks are "Anus of Uranus" off of their first album, played backwards (including the vocals)!

Really there's only a pair of ballads that I think are anything less than superb on here, the other 8 songs are really good and superbly produced. Not for progheads perhaps, but if you like Beatles, Moody Blues, Styx, Kansas -- ie "art rock" -- then this seriously unsung Canadian band is well worth a listen.

Report this review (#50672)
Posted Saturday, October 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Compared to the band’s first two albums this one is more pop-flavored, which is saying something since all their albums were really just well-done pop anyway. The band sort of ‘revealed’ themselves for the first time via sketches on the back cover. Unlike their other albums, this one was painted by Hugh Syme who is better known for his many metal album covers and sporadic keyboard appearances with Rush. The copy I have is a 1979 Capitol/EMI re-issue on vinyl, so the record must have sold at least a few copies, although it wasn’t a hit by any means.

The band seemed to have abandoned its fantasy themes for more middle-fare pop love songs and Beatlesque ballads, especially on the front half of the album. “A Routine Day” and “Everybody Took a Holiday” are both in the finest tradition of mass-appeal Beatles tunes. “Juicy Lucy” sounds like a half-hearted attempt at a disco tune, but then this was the late seventies so I suppose that was to be expected.

“Older” reminds me of early Foreigner for some reason (probably the guitars), with Dee Long lyrics lamenting that the world has passed him by and regretting the things he’s missed. But this is Klaatu after all, so one can’t get too worked up.

The sailor ships out to sea on “Dear Christine”, and is writing a letter back to the lover he left behind. This one has a very early seventies folkish feel to it that I find quite appealing, and that ranks this as the most memorable track on the album. As with so many sentimental Klaatu works, the glass is half-full and the forlorn sailor is content in knowing his maiden will sit waiting for his return (not likely, but it’s a nice thought).

I guess “Mister Manson” is about Chucky Manson, the demented psycho who had several books and movies (and apparently songs) written about him back then. A weird choice of topics for this band, with a guitar/keyboard sequence that sounds remarkably like some old Siouxsie & the Banshees albums I have. Except for the vocals of course.

“Tokeymor Field” is a “Day in the Life” kind of lilting story-song, although most of the lyrics are gibberish so it’s a bit hard to follow.

On “Perpetual Motion Machine” the drum tracks border on disco once again, but the vocals have a really polished feel that is closer to Hall & Oates than to the Beatles, making for a rather quirky tune, even for these guys.

“Cherie” is another mellow love song with more light and shallow Dee Long lyrics. I actually don’t know why this one was put on the album, except that it would have probably been considered an EP otherwise.

Finally, “Silly Boys” has a handful of references to earlier Klaatu albums (madmen, the Sun, evil human nature), but is mostly known for its backwards-masked vocals. Turns out that the ‘Satanic’ message is actually the lyrics to “Anus of Uranus” from the band’s debut album. Sorry Tipper, no evil plot to possess your kids here.

So this is a pretty forgettable album but it’s from a fairly likeable bunch of guys, so I think I’ll err on the side of positive and bump it up to three stars. Mildly recommended for fans of Utopia, Super Furry Animals, and other pseudo-prog bands that don’t take themselves all that seriously. But probably not very appealing to anyone else.


Report this review (#105314)
Posted Tuesday, January 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just6 a quick review here for those who may want the short version of why they should give this album a listen. On this album, Klaatu went back to shorter simpler tunes. The Beatles' influence is apparent, but we also see more clearly how Klaatu could mention the Moody Blues as a major influence & compadre in the sound dept. Masterpiece, no. But then the Moodies put out some good albums that, while not scaling the same heights as their opus, still stood without shame amongst the body of work.
Report this review (#113413)
Posted Saturday, February 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars What's the bloody point......of playing the game? With so much to loose.....yet so little to gain, you sell yourself away.

After such an epical masterpiece that was 'Hope', it seemed Klaatu had little to do but retreat back to their comfortable Beatle's like 'poppish' songs that could be found on their first album. Whether it was just from the band being tapped out of the creative flow, or if they just wanted to sell albums, or if they just wanted something light, what ever the case is, this album doesn't feature any of the darker, fuller, deep ambience songs that made Klaatu a stand alone band.

Instead, what we find on this album is a bit of light music that can be found on almost any soft rock radio station. Now this isn't such a bad thing, since the first song on this album is quite a nice treat to the ears. 'A Routine Day' pays homage to the common citizen, the average Joe on the street that we pass every day on to our own way of live. And who does that common citizen see every day on their way to their lives? That's right, it's us. It's an ever going cycle of common folk seeing other common folk living out their lives.

What would happen if everyone just said enough of this, and went on a holiday? Well, the result of that question is found on the second best song on the album 'Everybody Took a Holiday'. This song, written in 1978, talks about the past of 1985, when everyone said they had enough of this and just stopped the daily routine. The concept of the song is unique, and heck if the song wasn't so bouncy you'd swear you were in a bubble.

'Perpetual Motion Machine' sounds like it came straight from a 1940's-1960's television game show were the main price is a dinning room lamp, and is also the third tolerable song. The song offers the same bounce that was found in 'Everybody Took a Holiday', so it's not such a bad song, and it has a good point to it. We buy things that we really don't need, but looks 'cool' and 'new'.

The last song on the album is 'Anus of Uranus' played backwards, and stretched out to five minuets with the title 'Silly Boys' stuck to it. This proves and debunks the myth that when playing music backwards we get subliminal messaging. The great thing about this song is trying to figure out what you hear for yourself. Each person I talk to about this song says they hear a different thing. Now that's something truly unique to music.

Unfortunately, the rest of this album has very little to offer. It just seems they ran out of things to say, so they did the usual copout situation and wrote love songs. I have nothing against songs ABOUT love, but love songs? I'm sorry, but when I hear it, I can't take it seriously. I don't care that you wrote a song for that special someone and then play it for them, just don't record it and waste space on a record. Love songs should only be played live or on a one on one basis. These songs weaken the album exponentially.

Had the album just featured the better parts of the album, it would receive a three star rating. The songs are good, but for progressive music, it really isn't essential. They're nice to listen to from time to time, and they have a nice happy feeling to them which is always to be appreciated. Unfortunately, the album also sports six songs that really are not that original. It saddens me even more to know these guys are capable of so much more. Nothing is more annoying then knowing artists such as these use such typical copouts that pop artists use to fill an album. This downgrades the album to a two star rating album.

This album is good for the masses. Most people will enjoy this album. Most people who do not like progressive music will enjoy this album because all songs follow the similar song structure of verse, choirs, verse, choirs. Most people who enjoy progressive music will probably not enjoy this album. Somewhere along the line Klaatu seemed to abandon their progressive roots to explore more of the mainstream of music. I almost feel betrayed as a fan. But at least they included 'A Routine Day' which picks up the album and makes the album listenable.

Two stars, for progressive album standards. But they do have a point, "Why can't you see you're just a cog, working like a dog? You trade your future for a dead end job, that's full of routine days."

Report this review (#181924)
Posted Saturday, September 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars If you would except that the creative arrangements are quite less creative, that the melodies are less charismatic, that prog ideas are replaced by more pop ones; you could say that not so much has changed in the "Klaatu" music. But this is course a shortcut.

When all of the above is combined, it only offers a decent album: vocal harmonies are still crafted, but there are no jewels available on this "Sir Army Suit" like previously. Average rock ("Juicy Lucy", "Older") to nice and sweet rock ballad like they used to write ("Everybody Took A Holiday")

As a kind of remembrance from the good old past and their beatles-esque attitude, the melodic and catchy "Dear Christine" might well be one of the best track from this offering. But again, while they were inventive in their arrangements on their first two albums, this song sounds very straight forward and (too) simple to compete with prior jewels of the band.

"Mister Manson" is a weird track showing a darker and heavier side of their music. Not too good unfortunately. As a balance, the light "Tokeymor Field" is welcome. Again, the "10CC" feel is very much present (as it was on their earlier works).

The fireworks of "Hope" are no longer of circumstances: we'll just get some popish ensemble, performing nice music but not a memorable one ("Cherie"). Some other attempts to a heavier rock with "Silly Boys" as a closing and forgettable track.

Like their first two albums, there was a release on one CD for their third (this one) and fourth one for a cheap price. Nice thought! But this album is just average. Two stars and a half.

Report this review (#234349)
Posted Sunday, August 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars 3(-) Yeah! Exactly this rating, because when you assume all elements, consider them, compare with other albums, from this artists, from this genre, on this site and add Marty's rating system, this is exactly the number you will get.

I remember "Hope" album, I listened it recently few times again. And well, let's make this album as main comparison point. There are few tracks similar, some are poisoned by 80's vices in music and overall it's far more pop, less grandiose and pompous, but these attributes were what I liked on previous album, so this one will be worse for sure.

There still is this symphonic element I so admired and enjoyed, but changed, corrupted. There's even this electronic voice (as on Hope's "Madman" or "Long Live...")

But this album tries to impress so hard, but has wrong ammunition that it almost makes me sad.

Report this review (#279337)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2010 | Review Permalink

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