Curved Air - Second Album (Music CD)

Release Date: 08 October 2012
Artist: Curved Air
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Time has not treated Curved Air's second album kindly. Of course it was always dominated by "Back Street Luv," which isn't simply one of the band's own finest moments, it's also one of the crucial singles of the early 1970s. But across this straightforward reissue of the accompanying album, the savage innovation which was the hallmark of their Air Conditioning debut, and the brilliant eclecticism which would characterize their next set, is nowhere in sight. Which is weird, because it always used to sound quite good. In its place, a crop of relatively straightforward but sonically flat rock songs are distinguished by Sonja Christina's most conventional, cool vocals yet -- only "Back Street Luv" truly draws any true emotion out of her, while the band's much vaunted classical/rock fusion only shakes its fist during the closing "Piece of Mind," although it must be admitted that when it shakes, it really shakes. A building, foreboding 13-minute epic, crowned by a genuinely spine-tingling recitation from TS Eliot's "The Wasteland," "Piece of Mind" is the kind of performance which you just know was played endlessly in college dorm rooms of the age. The segues from mounting rock to pondering piano seem hopelessly old-fashioned now, the building tension of violin and percussion seems obvious and hackneyed. In 1971, though, Curved Air were pioneers in every sense of the word and it is neither their fault, nor this album's, that we're not so easily impressed any longer. But maybe it isn't time which has treated this album so poorly, but the slipshod manner in which this album has been converted to CD. It sounds lifeless, sludgy, even (in places) a little slow. It has certainly not been remastered; it may not even have used the best quality tapes. Albums this ambitious need loving care and patient attention to cut the aural ice today. This one got neither. ~ Dave Thompson
Release Date: 08 October 2012
Artist: Curved Air
Catalogue No: REPUK1163