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19
4.2 out of 5 stars
Second Album
Format: Audio CDChange
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A friend first played me this album in the mid-1970s and I was immediately hooked. I hadn't heard of Curved Air and, for some reason, I've always felt that there is no way they could have done anything else as good as this, so I've never sought any of their other work. The first side of the original LP was dominated by Darryl Way material, the second by Francis Monkman songs. Keyboards and electric violin seem to dominate behind Sonja Kristina's haunting vocals. Guitar is no more than an occasional rhythm instrument.
"Young Mother"'s circular opening draws you in from the beginning. This is followed by "Back Street Luv", a song which achieved a similar singles chart placing in 1971 to "Imagine" but which is now as obscure as Lennon's song is famous. "You Know", with its jarring rhythm, is one of the more robust performances. "Jumbo" bounces gently and beautifully along as if in slow motion and the disturbing "Puppets" generates a compelling atmosphere.
After two short but bright Monkman songs comes the album's most ambitious item, the epic "Piece Of Mind". Like the rest of the album it's an accomplished recording, but for me the shorter songs are better. Whatever your preference, this is an album of memorable melodies, ingenious textures and fine musicianship.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2009
Progressive rock has enjoyed a steady renaissance over the last few years that goes beyond mere nostalgia. There are a plethora of new progressive bands being enjoyed by younger audiences that have become bored with the ubiquitous nihlism of hip hop and endless regurgitations of interchangeable post rock and indie bands. Those of you looking for something with more depth, variety and creativity will find plenty of that in prog's back catalogue and this is one such example.
Curved Air's second album is consistently excellent with great songwriting and fine musicianship throughout. At the heart of the band is Sonja Kristina's haunting voice that that has a crysaline yet soulful quality that draws you into the storyline of the songs. Their sound is augmented by violin as well as the traditional bass drums keyboard and guitar with influences ranging from classical to blues and rock. These elements are inetegrated superbly well by the band to produce a distinctive yet accessible experience that gets better with repeated listens. Highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2008
Curved Air - a corner of my heart will always be reserved for this band - they headlined the first gig I went to in 1972 (Birmingham Town Hall) and of course gave me (and the rest of the world's pubescent males) Sonja Kristina!

In my opinion this 2nd album is far and away their most important offering, serving up an eclectic mix of finest prog to pop to classical (a propsicle?) - all of which bursts with the unique moods and atmosphere created by Kristina's unique voicing, Monkman's musical genius and Way's .... well way I suppose. In fact I will declare that this is prog Britain at its very best.

A couple of special mentions: Young Mother and Piece of Mind - possibly two of the finest prog tracks ever recorded. The first, an incredible dreamscape dominated by Monkman's superbly programmed synth (a track that sounds as fresh and exciting to me today as it did back in 1971) - the second a prog symphony that exercises every member of the band throughout its seamless movements. Again Monkman is nothing short of massive throughout and the band as a whole serve up an awesome achievement that, like classical music, is likely to remain listenable forever.

The CD doesn't reproduce like the old vinyl but at least it's clean and easy to fish out and put on!

Highly recommended to anyone of any age that takes their music seriously.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2005
An all time fave prog cd !!
I remember being introduced to this CD at the school disco when the DJ had the guts to play back street luv and then go head on at the end of the night and play " young mother " gees ! what a change from the run of the mill pop and soul that night.
Outstanding playing and inventivness with all the trade marks of early 70s rock,VCS3s,Mellotron,Hammond, etc.
A tru progressive classic i my mind
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2009
I love this album, every single track is brilliant. Curved Air were very unusual for a prog band in having a female singer and violin, which made their sound very different to virtually anything else. Francis Monkman (keyboards and guitars) wass probably the only person in the world that ever managed to play a melody on the VCS3 synthesizer, on which the pitch was controlled by a joystick rather than a keyboard.

My only issue is the all-pervasive feeling of melancholy that means that I can only listen to it if I'm in the right mood.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2010
Brilliant album. I remember the record - the first pressings had a sleeve like origame, all the coloured circle bits folded in on top of each other. It looked great til you wanted it all to go back together, though ....

Yes, Puppets is as good as prog rock ever got. Especially the wonderfully broken uo ending
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2007
Curved Air - a corner of my heart will always be reserved for this band - they headlined the first gig I went to in 1972 (Birmingham Town Hall) and of course gave me (and the rest of the world's pubescent males) Sonja Kristina!

In my opinion this 2nd album is far and away their most important offering, serving up an eclectic mix of finest prog to pop to classical (a propsicle?) - all of which bursts with the unique moods and atmosphere created by Kristina's unique voicing, Monkman's musical genius and Way's .... well way I suppose. In fact I will declare that this is prog Britain at its very best.

A couple of special mentions: Young Mother and Piece of Mind - possibly two of the finest prog tracks ever recorded. The first, an incredible dreamscape dominated by Monkman's superbly programmed synth (a track that sounds as fresh and exciting to me today as it did back in 1971) - the second a prog symphony that exercises every member of the band throughout its seamless movements. Again Monkman is nothing short of massive throughout and the band as a whole serve up an awesome achievement that, like classical music, is likely to remain listenable forever.

The CD doesn't reproduce like the old vinyl but at least it's clean and easy to fish out and put on!

Highly recommended to anyone of any age that takes their music seriously.
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on 13 June 2015
Remember this album well back in the seventies, we all went mad for it. Then we herd they're coming to the Uni; so on the night we all piled in, in great expectation of something fantastic. They were awful, sounded nothing like the recording. We stood there dumb struck, they bore no relation to what we'd come in expectation of. I've seen many groups, bands and artists great and small over the years and often you come away thinking they sound much better on record than they do live and sometime you come away thinking well they sound better live than on record but either way they all tend to bare some relationship to what you've hear before hand, Curved Air didn't, well not that night they didn't. The album is a product of the recording studio and the sound engineer turning what was basically amateur caterwauling and instrument abuse into something miraculous that the group could not reproduce live. The credit and applause should go to the producer and sound engineer.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2000
This second album by prog greats CURVED AIR builds on qualities evident in their first lp AIR CONDITIONING:Classical structures with rock rhythms,electric violin,mellotron,electronics.Girl vocalist Sonja Kristina has unique style and strong delivery. Violinist Darryl Way and keyboard/guitarist Francis Monkman deliver intricate prog/psychedelic brain candy.An utterly original band/lp that belongs in every progheads belfry.Their next album " PHANTASMAGORIA " is even better!
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This album contains one of my very favourite ever tracks 'Puppets', which I have been playing over and over again. I came across this album, when a friend played it to me in c 1971. A huge nostalgia trip being reunited with this song after thirty-eight years! As an album I prefer the first album (I have the famous picture disc LP) but 'Puppets' is so great that it is worth having the album for this - that is my view anyway!
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