Having first heard their earlier albums, 'If I Could...' and 'In The Land Of Grey And Pink,' this one surprised me. While those two albums have an airy, late 1960s feel and a sharper production, 'For Girls...' is more abrasive and heavier. 'Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss' is the kind of driving rock that you don't get on the earlier material. At one point, 'Headloss' sounds more like a Wishbone Ash number. With the woodwind and brass, however, you get more than guitar rock. Geoffrey Richardson's viola also gives the band more options. He gets his first party piece on 'Hoedown' with a riff that mimics a lead guitar.
Although Caravan never really did great 'songs' as such, 'The Dog, The Dog...' is an exception, with a lovely ascending melody and a lyric designed to face off against prudery. 'Be Alright' returns to more abrasive rock territory and the album proper concludes with one of those multi-part compositions that they're so fond of. It's more of a mood piece with drastic shifts in style and an orchestra thrown in. It noodles around ineffectually at first but improves with repeated plays.
The playing is turbulent and quite intense across the album. Caravan were already well-rehearsed for this album, having played much of the material live. Of the extra tracks, only 'Derek's Long Thing' (another title from the school of 'Carry On' humour) is completely new. Its eleven minutes are pleasant enough, led off by one of their less-favoured instruments, the piano, but it isn't as good as anything on the original album. I'm not convinced that this is better than the earlier material but it's a great album nevertheless and the band seem more energised than ever.