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Audience Lunch album cover
2.83 | 52 ratings | 15 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stand by the Door (3:56)
2. Seven Sore Bruises (2:36)
3. Hula Girl (2:39)
4. Ain't the Man You Need (3:20)
5. In Accord (4:54)
6. Barracuda Dan (2:20)
7. Thunder and Lightning (3:37)
8. Party Games (3:19)
9. Trombone Gulch (2:42)
10. Buy Me an Island (5:10)

Total Time 34:33

Bonus tracks on 2015 remaster:
11. Grief and Disbelief
12. Hard Cruel World
13. Elixir of Youth

Line-up / Musicians

- Howard Werth / guitar, vocals
- Keith Gemmell / clarinet, flute, tenor saxophone
- Trevor Williams / bass, accordion, vocals
- Tony Connor / drums, vibraphone, marimba

- Nick Judd / piano
- Bobby Keys / tenor saxophone (2,4,6,9)
- Jim Price / trombone, trumpet & brass arrangements (2,4,6,9)
- Gus Dudgeon / percussion, producer

Releases information

Artwork: George Hardie @ Hipgnosis

LP Charisma ‎- CAS 1054 (1972, UK)

CD Virgin ‎- CASCD 1054 (1990, Europe)
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2493 (2015, Europe) Remastered with 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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AUDIENCE Lunch ratings distribution

(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

AUDIENCE Lunch reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Somehow something went terribly wrong on this album. After Friends and House , I think everyone expected this one to be their opus , their masterpiece , their apex ........ And then it hits you , the album is a conceptual one and therefore increases your expectations, only to be cruelly let down. I still have problems figuring what is wrong in here but I find Lunch hard to digest ( tooo easy!!!) but something is not working here and I will call it inspiration. This sounds as though , they were asked to do a concept album , by their label but the envy was not there. This is also their last album , so one can imagine that there was friction about this as they broke up. If you are a fan of their first three , you wil want to listen to this , but I have warned you.....
Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I was rather surprised to find the often-overlooked Audience listed on the Archives, because I have a hard time regarding the music that singer/songwriter Howard Werth and company make as progressive rock. Although the English band recorded on Charisma Records (in company with label-mates Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator), and despite the fact that '72's LUNCH was engineered by early Genesis engineer David Hentschel, I have always broadly classified Audience's distinctive music as folkish, rhythm and blues-based straight rock, with just a tinge of country.

Quibbling over categories aside, I am nonetheless glad for the opportunity to review an album that has long been a favourite of mine, in any genre. LUNCH is one of those perennially-treasured albums that I fondly revisit again and again.

The band's sound is driven by Werth's strong voice (somewhat reminiscent of CCR's John Fogerty) and acoustic guitar -- there are no electric guitars or synths -- and the tenor sax of Bobby Keys. Drums, bass, piano, vibes, marimba, trumpet, trombone, flute and accordion fill out the mix, and impart a joyful atmosphere to the proceedings.

Taste is a highly individual thing, but I can't understand why my fellow reviewer Hugues Chantraine has given this terrific disc such a poor rating. For the record, LUNCH is not a concept album, but simply a fun CD, and not one to take too seriously. This is perfect music for friends, good times and cold beer! I enjoy every song here, but some are particular standouts: The opener "Stand by the Door" is about as close as this album gets to "Progressive Rock," and gets under your skin (in a good way!) from the first listen, with its plaintive lyrics, infectious chorus, and superb harmony vocals. This magnificent song should have been a hit!

"Hula Girl" is a happy little ditty, replete with whistling, vibes and marimba, and sees Werth singing of his love for his "Polynesian queen." This number never fails to put a smile on my face!

"In Accord," with its double entendre title, is a masterful example of the songwriter's craft, and especially notable for its clever lyrics, which employ musical terminology to describe love: "I just have to tell you girl, that I'm in tune with you. You just tipped the scales my way -- saw your notes were true. Made my mind up now, you've got to come and sing with me. Something tells me by your tone, we won't sing out of key...." Werth's impassioned voice and powerfully strumming acoustic, accompanied by Keys' wailing and statacco sax, really shine here!

"Thunder and Lightning" is also a winner for me -- a passionate declaration of love that serves as another superb showcase for Keys' sax, and Werth's guitar and vocals. A fabulous song!

Next, the catchy music and lyrics of "Party Games" eminently suits its title, and the western-themed "Trombone Gulch" ably keeps the session moving at an up-tempo, joyous pace.

My overall favourite, though, brings this excellent musical repast to a regrettably early end: At over five minutes, "Buy Me an Island" is the longest selection on this all-too-brief recording, and finds Werth singing of his desire to escape the rat race: "I'm gonna buy me an island in the sun -- stay there till my days are all done. Life's gonna be coconut trees and swimming in the sea for me -- and no one's gonna take that from me." When Werth harmonizes "Da de-do-do, do-do do dooo" along with the sax for the superlative final minute, my heart soars along, and a masterpiece of classic English rock comes to a very memorable close.

Thus, I urge all to take another look at the LUNCH menu -- its offerings are actually quite tasty! Highly recommended indeed, for those fans of classic British rock who like to smile!

Review by hdfisch
3 stars This was certainly anything than their best work and knowing and adoring their two previous masterly done albums one could easily be disappointed by listening to it. But nonetheless if not drawing too many comparisons, especially not with classic Prog releases "Lunch" was still a fine enjoyable and moreover a funny album. In some way this strange mix of folk, country, pop, bluegrass and brass rock can be considered quite unique and actually it's hard to find any reminiscences. In fact the only ones coming to my mind are Van Morrison or maybe Kevin Coyne at times and it's true there's little to be picked up here that could be of any interest for a Prog fan. A bit outstanding track is for me "In Accord" with great brass sound but songs like "Stand By The Door", "Hula Girl", "Thunder And Lightnin", "Party Games" or "Buy Me An Island" have their charm too and are a nice listen every now and then. This one doesn't get a regular spin by my player and I could only recommend it for running in the back if having a few beers together with friends, but for me it's still good for 3 stars!
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Stand by the door for a hasty exit!

While it is generally recognised that Audience's previous release "The house on the hill" was an excellent jazz/prog rock album, the views on "Lunch" are far more divided. "Lunch" should have seen Audience delving deeper into the jazz/prog sound they had created so well on tracks like "Jackdaw" and "House on the hill". Unfortunately, they made a very average album of pretty basic songs.

It all starts off brightly enough with "Stand by the door", a fine commercial piece with a strong refrain and some excellent vocal harmonies. The song is reminiscent of "You're not smiling" from the previous album.

Unfortunately, it's downhill from there on. Howard Werth's highly distinctive vocals are still here of course. While for many they were an instant turn off, there is no denying they were a major factor in the sound of the band.

"Seven sore bruises" is little more than a standard pub rock song, with strong retro feel. "Hula girl" is a light pop number with a pleasant but unremarkable melody. It is the sort of song you hear as background music at holiday camps! "Barracuda Dan" is another throwaway piece, this time a sort variant of ELP's "The Sheriff". "Trombone gulch" is a undistinguished romp. All these tracks are well under three minutes in length, a good indicator of the superficial nature of the album as a whole.

"In accord" finally sees Audience moving back towards "A house on the hill", being an altogether more substantial piece which may have later inspired the WATERBOYS. The brass section is particularly notable here, the piece having a heavy, ROXY MUSIC feel. "Party games", "Buy me an island" and "Thunder and lightning" try to offer something slightly more interesting, but they remain uninspired.

This, Audience's fourth release, turned out to be their last original album, the band's lifespan having been tragically short. The brevity of the album and the eclectic mix of mediocre songs indicates however that the tank was empty. In 2005, the original line up reunited for some live performances. Sadly, they were not supported by Genesis, as they had been in the early 1970's. It remains to be seen if there will be any new material from the band.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Audience last album Lunch is not a favorite among the fans. Personally I like it almost as much as the two previous albums. Itīs a bit more diverse than those, but you can still hear that it is Audience playing. The style is a bit more soul influenced on this album though, just listen to a song like Ainīt the Man You Need.

Songs like Stand by the Door and In Accord are very good songs which reminds me of Audience great debut album. There are also some pretty horrible stuff here too Iīm afraid. A song like Hula Girl is really bad but generally the songs are really good. Itīs not the most progressive album youīll ever hear though.

The musicians are very competent and especially singer Howard Werth stands out with his in your face attitude. What a powerful singer. Keith Gemmelīs flute and especially sax is also very present on the album. This is usual business for Audience. They have hired a couple of more horn players on Lunch though which helps the more soulful feeling to emerge.

All in all itīs an ok album, but really not too recommendable. I will always listen to their great debut instead of this. 2 stars is all I can give.

Latest members reviews

4 stars As a new reviewer to a site that I have been reading for many years, I would just like to say that I disagree with the negativity towards this album. At the time I remember it being viewed as a disappointment mainly due to the fact that it wasn't a continuation of 'House on the Hill'. 'House' ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#2435900) | Posted by SixString | Saturday, August 8, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I don't always do what my records tell me to do. Let's get this straight, I might be crazy but I'm not THAT crazy. Yet, there was this one day when I was standing by the door whilst listening to this album, because, frankly the first track on it is more or less a command to do just that, so I d ... (read more)

Report this review (#1177989) | Posted by TerryDactyl | Thursday, May 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very surprised to see the negative reactions to this record, which contains at least 4 of the best songs the band ever wrote (In Accord, Thunder and Lightning, Ain't the Man You Need, Buy Me an Island) despite some clunkers (Hula Girl). It is their most cohesive and least "proggy" -- there a ... (read more)

Report this review (#231701) | Posted by willyj51 | Saturday, August 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars If you've read my reviews of the first 3 albums, you can see that I have a real fondness for this band. It's such a shame that they couldn't produce great albums from start to finish. In this case they finished rock bottom. When I got this album, I could not believe what I was hearing. I've ... (read more)

Report this review (#112325) | Posted by kingdhansak | Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars After some nice albums the group Audience made their most uninspired and average one. Lunch is a disappointment to every prog fan. However, as a whole, it is nice poprock easy listenable pack of songs and it's open to public, BUT... The first song is by far the best having at least some nice ... (read more)

Report this review (#104997) | Posted by Hejkal | Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After a long hesitating I've finally decided to buy this album. Since I've read a lot of critics and reviews about this album, my approach was not to expect something of material similar to precedeing two albums. In doing so, I found this to be an interesting album.I prefer original recording ... (read more)

Report this review (#73759) | Posted by bsurmano | Saturday, April 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars "Lunch" disappointed me. I expected something like "The House On the Hill" which is a brilliant blend of proto-prog and folk-rock and, well, "Lunch" has nothing to do with its predecesor. It was recorded only one year later but it seems that the whole inspiration of the previous album is gone ... (read more)

Report this review (#50807) | Posted by DACE | Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I don't know that Lunch should be classified as a progressive album or that Audience is a "progressive" group. Classifications of that sort restrictively set parameters that really shouldn't be considered legitimate and tend to invite undue and unfair criticism. This is especially so if a group i ... (read more)

Report this review (#30895) | Posted by | Friday, March 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Still one of my favourite albums. There are very few groups that retain their freshness and can still excite after 30 years but Audience does it for me. I've been a pro. muso since the 70s, and listened to a LOT of music. While quite different to House On The Hill, Lunch is just as musically i ... (read more)

Report this review (#30894) | Posted by | Sunday, July 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

1 stars It looks like Audience recorded their Love Bearch years before ELP. It may be a nice rock'n' roll album, but for those who was expecting a progressive magnus opus after so promising Friends and House on the Hill it is a big disappointment. Personally I found it more light hearted than Amazing ... (read more)

Report this review (#30893) | Posted by Foxy | Saturday, June 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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