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Curved Air - Air Cut CD (album) cover


Curved Air


Eclectic Prog

3.69 | 189 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Curved Air's "Air Cut" is another very solid album featuring the musicianship of Kirby Gregory's guitars and Eddie Jobson's violins, replacing Monkman and Way, though not as dextrous or ambitious as the former maestros. Of course there is no ignoring the cool, crystalline voice of Sonja Kristina who is hailed as one of the queens of prog.

The band make their presence known early with the wonderful 'The Purple Speed Queen'. Kristina is a dynamic vocalist who shines here on double tracked vocals with some potent lyrics about a girl who is warned to watch her speed taking habits or she will be in the grave; "Emlee Jane was the girl who never had time to explain, Lived her life in a whirlpool, cried if it happened to rain. She had run away from home, only thinking of herself, Mother's sick and so upset, they say she may never be well. Slow down Emlee Jane." The tragedy of the song's content is veiled within a blinding rock rhythm and some great lead guitars.

'Elfin Boy' is replete with quiet solitude with peace love hippy vibes. Beautiful dreamy vocals are mystical and peaceful. 'Metamorphosis' is a lengthy 10 minute mini epic, with gorgeous grand piano flourishes in the intro, the marching percussion and grinding organ change the feel and then augmented with Jim Russell's percussion and Mike Wedgwood's very loud bassline pumps along on a strong beat. The breaks of guitar are terrific, and time changes are excellent.

Sonja's vocals are multi layered with harmonies on 'Metamorphosis'. Lyrical images are poetic peaceful and almost feel like the feelings of Wiccan followers; "We are the children of the midnight, marching high in an icy mercury sky, We sing and our breath turns to frost, we watch and the frost melts, We hear the crazy winds that weep, we don't sleep where the minds meet, In icy mercury seas we dream and we picture the same, We dance and the worlds melt away." The piano features prominently and it is a beautiful atmosphere, very ethereal and dreamy. The Hammond that comes in strongly mid way through lifts the song up emotionally and the guitar solo is wonderful. It also takes off into a rollicking tempo towards the end and the piano ends things well.

'World' has a rockabilly feel with violin and lots of staccato piano pounding. It is fun but without the mystical dreamy feel not as good as the rest of the album.

Side 2 begins with 'Armin' with a low ominous drone that builds in intensity until an outbreak of Jobson's crazy fast violin to Gregory's great guitar riff. The music changes to an ascending and descending riff that is a fantastic sound, and the violin really takes off into a freak out solo that is absolutely wonderful to hear. The musicianship is excellent on this instrumental, one of the best uses of violin by the band showcasing Jobson's virtuosity.

'U.H.F.' is a fun quick paced song with lots of creative heavy guitar riffs. Sonja gives a sense of urgency in her vocals. It changes into a slower song with some intricate time sig changes and very well executed guitars. The song is about a broken relationship and broken communication. The lyrics are based on if he had called her up on time, he would have been on better terms, and she states that it is too late for him to make amends even by letter.

'Two-Three-Two' begins with a steady guitar, the vocals by Mike Wedgwood are okay but I missed Sonja immediately. It grows into a rocker with very heavy piano and guitar sections.

'Easy' closes the album with about 7 minutes of innovative prog. Sonja sings solemnly about letting go of our emotions in times of trial. "I'll stay with you through the night", she assures. Wedgwood sings, "I won't see you again," and in response a terrific lead break ensues. The harmonies toward the end are incredible and the overall feel is emotional focussing on the content about a break up.

This is a very good album, as were all Curved Air's earlier releases. There is enough here to show the dexterity of the band and innovation. Along with "Second Album" and "Phantasmagoria", "Air Cut" is one of the best Curved Air albums.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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