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Classic Rock magazine gave this album 4/10 and wrote it off as "a succession of rousing folksy singalongs with endlessly life-affirming but bland catchphrases". Well, I'd suggest that a magazine that champions some of the most turgid, has-been and clichéd dross on the planet (i.e. Journey, Motley Crue, Dream Theater, etc., etc.,.....infinitum) and has a bi-monthly Guns `n' Roses cover story (despite them only producing one half-decent album 20+ years ago) are probably not infallible. And, more poignantly, the writers at Classic Rock are likely to stressed-out, blinkered urbanites that can't slow down enough mentally to appreciate a vibe such as this. Hmmm, I could be generalising there. Take my word for it, "Yard" is a real gem that's worthy of much higher praise. I loved Reef (right from their very early days onwards), I wasn't so sure about the Them Is Me side-project (it just didn't do it for me), but this spin-off (Stringer-Bessant) simply works well. Or is that "works well simply"? I just love the hippy-tinged spirit of this duo. "Yard" is essentially a collection of laid back acoustic ballads, with the odd intrusion of keyboards and strings. The songs are all simple, catchy ditties that give the impression that they were written and recorded around a beach campfire in a matter of hours. However, this simplicity seeks no apology, it is what it is. No particular song is worth singling out from this album, the whole thing works best when listened to in its entirety. You get very few glimpses of the pair's past life, except maybe on "Make It" and "Song Worth Singing" where Gary Stringer's trademark yelp devolves an octave or two into pseudo-Reef territory. But, that aside, "Yard" is a much more restrained affair.Read more ›
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