A slightly lighter offering than their debut, but still good value with a mix of songs old and new (a lot of the material on the first album was not from their live set). By now Crun had returned to the fold which allowed James to return to his acoustic guitar duties, plus Andy was able to double up more on keyboards. Why lighter did I hear you say with the band back to it's full compliment, well that is maybe answered best by an overspend on the first album which led to the band producing this one themselves. To me this album sounds more serious than it's predecessor but as with all Stackridge albums the humour is there if you listen carefully.
Not many bands would open an album (or live set) with an instrumental, but true to their record (pun not intended) of being different 'Lummy days' opened both, a bouncy feel good tune that sets the mood nicely.
'Friendliness part 1' is the first of two versions of the title track, a gentle acoustic ballad featuring some nice harmonies.
'Anyone for tennis' is Stackridge's tribute to music from a by gone age, who else would do a 'Palm court orchestra' piece while others around them were rocking the rafters.
'There is no refuge' is another of James warren's ballads, again with slowly sung words, that at a pinch could come under the nursery rhyme catagory, it closes with some nice violin work.
'Syracuse the elephant' opens with Andy playing what sounds like a moog, a melancholy song about an elephant, born and raised in captivity whose only ambition in life is to be free. A true Stackridge classic which moves through various musical phases, proving that while they are often remembered for their humorous lyrics, these lads could play a bit as well.
'Amazingly Agnes' is apparently about a cow, and due to my intense dislike of reggae, my least liked song on the album, but for a band as eclectic as Stackridge, I suppose they were bound to cover some unwanted territory at some time or another.
'Father Frankenstein is behind your pillow' is another song with a bygone days feel to it, a jazzy ballad that would not have been out of place in the 1920/30s jazz clubs
'Keep on clucking' is the albums rocker, about life in a chicken factory, with a trip to the supermarket to look forward to (not to shop). Not to be taken too seriously.
'Story of my heart' A mutter instrumental which crawls along at a gentle pace using piano and bells.
'Friendliness part 2' is a slightly darker sounding version of part 1.
'Teatime' may have opened the first ever GLASTONBURY festival, but here it closes the original album. Starting as a gentle acoustic ballad with harmonised vocals supported by some fine violin playing before mutter's flute comes to the fore signaling a tremendous finale of flute/violin interplay interspersed with delicate guitarwork, truly a classic!!!!!!
The four bonus tracks on this album do not disappoint, 'Everyman' is simple yet awesome, it starts off as though its a guitar tuning exercise, moving to that nursery rhyme type of vocal, before finishing with a melodic vocal aah over a building up of the instruments. This is followed by 'Purple spaceships over Yatton' an instrumental which proves beyond any doubt, the writing and playing ability of the band. 'C'est la vie' is a gentle acoustic ballad, while 'Do the stanley' is Mutters answer to Roxy Music's dance song 'The strand'
Listen and enjoy, if it doesn't get you first time, play it again it will grow on you.