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Family - It's Only a Movie CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

2.44 | 63 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars With the loss of both John Wetton and multi-instrumentalist Poli Palmer (and the arrival of bassist Jim Cregan and keyboardist Tony Ashton) the Family lose their progrock potential and the art-rock arrangements (already deficient on Bandstand), and still leave the arrangements of strings and horns to Del Newman.

The band that record It's Only a Movie is now worn down by the continuous changes of the group players and the creative effort made in 6 very different albums (published in 5 years). And yet Chapman and Whitney are not content to record a classic rock album, and still they try to explore new territories, ending up in the parody of country-western and soul genres, and in goliardic songs in style Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

"It's Only a Movie" is a goliardic song, with saloon piano, that pretend to be a soundtrack of a western movie. Nice but not serious. Vote 7+. "Leroy" Is another parody of country-western, with harmonica and saloon piano and strings; in this case the track is more melodic and romantic than the previous. Vote 7,5. "Buffet Tea for Two" recalls some instrumental passages of "Tommy": is an orchestral song based on rhythm, with an art rock approach; maybe the most proggy song of the album. Vote 7,5/8. "Boom Bang" is very pumped (vote 7,5) and sung with grit. In this side the quality and the seriousness of the songs are increased.

"Boots and Roots" opens side B with goliardic mood (again). The presence of Tony Ashton is noted: the piano is present in this album in greater doses than any other album of the Family. It is a lazy and ironic ballad (vote 7+), with a swing arrangement. In the end, "Movie" is more art rock arranged than Bandstand!

"Banger" (vote 6,5/7) is an instrumental song with mood soul and horn arrangement. "Sweet Desiree" is another song arranged in a funambulistic way (vote 7,5), combining latin rhythms, music soul and horn arrangement. In fact it is a Latin-jazz piece. "Suspicion" (vote 7+) mix soul music, with horns in the foreground, with blues rhythm and piano saloon: the effect is a funky song mixed with the bluegrass. The Family continue to amaze for their eclecticism. "Check Out" is the piece that ends the album, with a syncopated rockblues (similar to "Burlesque" but faster) too forced and pulled for long. Vote 7.

Even when the Family strive to give their worst, they are not able to produce a bad record, and they end up astonishing for their inventiveness in mixing different musical genres, with always original art rock arrangements. In this record, which does not present any memorable song, that is the less unitary, the most ramshackle in their career, the Family do not write any bad song and avoid any banality, churning out original songs, as often goliardic and parodistic, ie they have no ambition to become memorable pieces. The album suffer because the songs are not connected to each other with a sequence that has a studied sense, and because the songs are not "serious" but still remains a disc more than decent.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,31. Vote 7+. Three stars

jamesbaldwin | 3/5 |


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