String Driven Thing originally were just that: their first album is drumless. At the time it was the more critically acclaimed than this, their follow-up, but time works its magic, and this is now seen as their best album beyond doubt. There are still some reservations: the production job gives a muddy,edgy quality to the album, which maybe benefits the rockier numbers, but doesn't help the softer pieces. However, enough apologies: there is a consistent quality to the material here, both melodically and lyrically. 'Heartfeeder' begins the album with a bang, melodically and lyrically, driven along like an anguished quest, with Smith's wonderfully searching violin building the emotion. 'To see you' is one of Chris Adams sad tales of lost love, and the empty yearning which accompanies this, embellished by some sympathetic violin, works beautifully. 'Night club','Sold down the river' and 'Two timin Rama' all begin deceptively slowly, but crank up into insistent rock, and the 'Machine that cried' concluded the original album with the same glorious magic as the opening track: insightful lyrics, great driving rhythmn. 'People on the street' meanwhile, is an attractive memorable dark elegy for the passage of time, and the casualties swallowed up through the decades.
'The House' and 'Going Down' are soft ballads well suited to Pauline Adams' wistful tones; lyrically the latter has echoes of 'not waving, but drowning', the note of despair incredibly moving. Of the added material the best improvement is the inclusion of 'It's a game', their addictive single, which had it made it, might have prevented Chris and Pauline leaving the band in 1973.
Give yourself a treat, and explore this underated little wonder from the distant past.