4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2000
Nothing takes me back to England in the late 80s like these two albums - the last release from the original line-up, coupled with the first without the Gould brothers. Running In The Family is a work of art in its own right - from the post-breakup sadness of It's Over and the moodiness of The Sleepwalkers to the cruising-along-with-the-roof-down vibe of Children Say and To Be With You Again - if at least half the tracks here don't evoke a memory, you must have been asleep! Staring At The Sun, while not the instant classic it followed, demonstrates a change in direction for Level 42 version 2. Each track is very different in style and content and Boon Gould contributes lyrics for 6 of the 10 tracks while Gary Husband grabs the drumsticks from Phil. My standouts include Heaven In My Hands, Man, Take A Look and Tracie, which reminds me of my high school days in Brighton. A strong pairing which will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates great songwriting combined with excellent musicianship.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2000
These two albums clearly show a musical transformation of Level 42. Running In The Family shows the end of the original and the group riding high on commercial success whilst providing some of their best material. Staring At The Sun shows that even though the lineup changed the group could still produce excellent songs. Both albums also stand alone as great music and very creative songwriting.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2001
Putting these two albums together is like putting a bottle of finest claret with a pot noodle. THE pairing would have been Running In The Family and World Machine - a veritable greatest hits album if that is what people wanted. To be honest, the more popular Level 42 got, the less I liked them - they lost their cutting edge sound by going mainstream around 1987, and Staring At The Sun, with a couple of exceptions, killed off a lot of these new found fans. Heaven In My Hands is a stomping opener, and both Tracie and Take A Look have class about them - the rest is representative of a band that has lost its focus - is it trying to move onwards or back to their original sound? It falls half-way between and doesn't really succeed. Compare these tracks with Lessons In Love, the epic, almost painful Leaving Me Now, To Be With You Again and melodic Children Say and you cannot imagine they are the same band. (which to a certain extent they weren't!). The title track (Running ...) is a duffer, but this album's craftsmanship is in a different league. Thankfully, for we fans, Guaranteed to a lesser extent, and particularly Forever Now saw a return to the classic Level 42 sound, before their untimely split. Mark King's Trash album - only available from his website is a must for those seeking the roots of the ground-breaking band's early days. A disappointing pairing of albums here, though.