With 1973's 'Foreigner,' Cat Stevens probed the opposite extreme of his most popular work, the short, sparsely-arranged, guitar-dominated songs of three years before. By now, he was using a standard band arrangement, preferring to use keyboards for his main texture, and the title track saw him exploring the 'suite' format beloved of many of his contemporaries. Far from being overloaded with bombast, however, 'Foreigner Suite' is light on its feet. Like all of the tracks here, it is unremarkable on the first listen, but grows on you with successive plays.
The subject matter is fairly limited, freedom, love and our environment being the main themes. Stevens's impassioned delivery makes up for some generally ordinary lyrics, while the dramatic feel of 'Later' makes it the most distinctive track. 'Foreigner' needs a little patience but is ultimately rewarding.