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Marty McFly
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars SIDENOTE: This won't be normal review (this time seriously)

First review of this beautiful album would also be the first of my Stackridge Voyage. Year 2009, band's so far latest, for me the best one. I've met many new friends here (wonderful people, thank you, you know who), get to know extremely great music (most of what I've been listening before can't be counted as good, except minority (49%) of good things).

After dark period of Anekdoten and then seeing certain post in a forum, I've decided that I want something more cheerful. Something to help me and hopefully also others to fight with fears, with grief and with demons that haunts us. Or does they not ? Depends on who's reading this review right now.

Beautiful melodic funny prog, done in very special British way. Even I mostly don't (can't) pay attention to lyrics, here I can easily understand them, as the language is clear and as I said, funny. Even you simply can't expect some of words in lyrics that appears, because often, this album (Monty Python someone?) depends partially on nonsense humor. Also partially on mockery of what seems to me like traditional things. In this case, it's less prog and more lyrical oriented, but it's not their fault.

And I'll not consider it as big fault, because there can be found good things to justify high rating. Will it be high ? Should it be high ? Hell yeah, because this album has energy. Energy through calmness to hit you from behind your brain. To kick you (also from behind), but relatively lower, little bit down from the center of your body (think two globes).

Its power to make you smile and be in happy mood can be handful at times. Sometimes, you need friends, or music to cheer you up

Some of you maybe know that I'm an atheist, but I know what manners when combined with heart & feelings can do. Take this review as part review, part public PM. Based mostly on my sparse knowing of Rob W. himself. My condolences Robert, in memory of your grandfather. Rest in peace. And remember, there are people, who will feel with you. Not just me. You have friends (no pathetic remarks please, if someone meant them)

Music itself: 4(+)

Report this review (#262748)
Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Part of the reunion

Having achieved a limited but creditable amount of local success in the 1970's, Stackridge called it a day in 1977. Almost exactly 20 years later, a quorum of the members agreed to give it another go, and to date three further albums of original material have been released. "A victory for common sense" is the latest of these (at time of writing in 2011) having appeared in 2009. The line up which recorded the album boast no fewer than four of the six people considered to form the band's classic line up, with just violinist Mike Evans and drummer Billy Bent being absent. Guest musicians, whose participation in the band varies from the transitory to full member in all but name, fill the absentees roles as well as providing further diversity of available instruments.

The album consists of just nine tracks, all but one of which is written or co-written by Andy Davis, with the rest of the band plus guest Glenn Tommey receiving credits on selected tracks. By and large it is fair to say that the prog nuances with which the band dabbled all those years ago are largely forgotten here, in favour of the lighter and more whimsical side of the band which has always co-existed with those nuances. There is therefore a reliance on catchy hooks and strong melodies, and as usual Stackridge deliver with aplomb on that score.

The opening "Boots And Shoes" bears the familiar Beatles influences and Korgis (a Stackridge offshoot) style pop rock, the song being an obvious candidate for single release. "The old country" takes an affectionately nostalgic look back towards the UK from the point of view of an ex-pat living on the other side of the world. The song has echoes of the Strawbs "Part of the union" in melody and style.

"(Waiting For You And) England To Return" is altogether softer, with acoustic guitar and high vocals painting a reflective picture of times gone. The violin solo within the song is similar to that which features on latter day Fairport Convention albums. "Red Squirrel" sounds like a medley of Beatles (and indeed Oasis!) songs, including the chiming lead guitar of "I want you (she's so heavy)". "North St. Grande" was released as a free download for Christmas 2010, the song being a letter from the front type old time Christmas song.

The slightly weightier material on the album begins with the 7 minute "Long dark river", a song with an American folk rock twinge; a sort of Beach Boys meets Crosby Stills and Nash. There is also once again a fair bit of Korgis in the song although interestingly this is the only song Davis was not involved in writing, Jim "Crun" Walter getting the sole credit. The track boast a good lead guitar break to finish things off.

"Lost And Found" once again mixes Beatles with Korgis and perhaps a bit of 10CC. The song has an infectious melody, with dreamy overtones and some good harmonies. "Cheese And Ham" contrasts pleasantly inoffensive lyrics with peaceful harmonies, the song taking a slightly harder turn as the child's father intervenes in his future. The album closes with an 11 minute piece entitled "The Day The World Stopped Turning". While there is something of a nod to prog here, especially in the superb flute and violin contributions, the track appears to be more of a medley of ideas than an extended composition as such. That is not intended to be said in criticism though, and as a whole the track is probably the high point of the album.

Overall, another fine album in the Stackridge discography. Being honest, there is little if any genuine prog here, but this is more than compensated for by the strong melodies and tight performances throughout.

Since the release of this album, vocalist Mutter Slater has once again left the band (amicably). It appears though that the other members remain committed to Stackridge as a going concern.

Report this review (#492336)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2011 | Review Permalink

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