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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Long time (old time) TYA fans beware, 19 Jun 2012
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This review is from: About Time (Audio CD)
This album is the result of a 1988/89 reunion of the original TYA's lineup (the group had splitted after "Positive vibrations", in 1974).
By 1988, Alvin Lee had already reached 8 albums as a soloist artist (plus the brilliant 1973 "On the road to freedom" with Mylon LeFevre). A prolific and varied (although uneven) career was behind him. So, what was the reason for this reunion ? Mystery to me, but for sure it was not to revive old times, at least musically. Among other considerations, this rather looks like an "updating" movement (or should I say a false move), that makes me recall the one of ZZ Top when their 1983 "Eliminator" album, but, in the case we're talking about, without any of its fun.
The last three soloist Alvin Lee's albums before this reunion (Firefall, RX5 and Detroit Diesel), while appealing enough, were showing a certain lack of focus (sort of a dissolution into a too generic kind of rock) and some of the eighties (bad) practices in matter of production (for example drums too loud in the mix, and played in a mechanical, unispired way, with a thin, metallic sound quality, all adorned with a lot of reverb).
Well, sadly many of those production issues are present in "About time" too. Where has the magic of the trademark TYA mesmerizing sound gone ? No swing, no groove, no dynamics, no tension, no jazzy nor bluesy feeling can be found in this album. The bass guitar is almost absent, and Churchill has changed the piano and organ for cheesy sounds from Rolands and Korgs. Any obscure session musician could have fulfilled the low profile requirements for drums, bass and keyboards on this album. Alvin Lee himself, TYA's alma mater, extensively uses many of the tricks that were so fashionable then during the eighties, such as pinch harmonics, tremolo bar, tapping ... which are not exactly the ones which defined his style as a guitarist. He plays fast, sometimes his phrasing is amazing, but too frequently it's also dull.
The songs are mostly between texas boogie and southern rock, generic and derivative (don't think that you're going to hear anything like the best ZZ Top or Lynyrd Skynyrd). There are also a rather badly sung blues written in the style of Gary Moore by the same time (Outside my window), and a song which seems to be intended for the band to swing, but it does not, despite the drummer playing with brushes (I get all shook up). "Bad blood" is a dated AOR song with keyboards and guitars in the style of Yes when in the stage of 90125 and Big Generator.
Whatever they were trying to do, after this album TYA splitted again, and Alvin Lee returned to his (maybe since then reinvigorated) soloist career.
Sadly, this reunion only added a spot to the (apart from this) stunning Ten Years After's discography.
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About Time
About Time by Ten Years After (Audio CD - 2012)
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