Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect High Land, Hard Rain part 2, 15 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Knife (Audio CD)
Knife is the second album from British band Aztec Camera. Produced by Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits fame) it is a cheery little pop album, filled with sweet tunes and catchy arrangements. The obviously 80s sound also gives it a nice, quaint feel. However don't expect High Land, Hard Rain part 2 here. It takes time to seep into your veins like a mature full bodied wined. Not always palatable but it becomes an acquired taste over time.

The debut was a little gem of a record for sure, "knife" on the other hand is the lesser record but hardly the disaster that many claimed . The record has mostly good songs, but perhaps knopflers tendency to add lots of keyboards to the groups sound makes Frames songs sound a little too chintzy rather than bringing atmosphere to proceedings.

Certainly the indie folk charm of the 1st album has been replaced by more electric guitars and funkier riffs. It is inevitably disappointing when an artist who has debuted with a precocious, distinctive, and fully-formed sound follows up with an album that is sub-par. Whereas High Land, Hard Rain, Aztec Camera's debut, was a breath of exceptionally fresh Scottish air, with Roddy Frame hitting on all cylinders, Knife is by comparison a lethargic, mediocre collection of songs. No where near a breezy and infectious as their previous offering. Perhaps its unfair to make so much comparison to their previous recorded but they set the benchmark high. As with most bands the sophomore record is an attempt to follow up on their debut and keep the momentum. But where as debuts are the result of years of unseen work follow ups are more of a contractual obligation. The only exception to this rule is Echo and the Bunnymen's Heaven Up Here

The first six tracks on Knife each sound like rejects from High Land, and Mark Knopfler's production only accentuates Frame's taste for rather saccharine arrangements and melodies. A year and a half passed and their delightful debut "High Land, Hard Rain". By now their valour had turned to thoughtful mood, the dashing jungle pop began to give his way to moderate folk ballad rock. Anyway their sound still reminds about the music of such romantic and sophisticated bands of that Prefab Sprout & Crowded House and not to dissimilar to Shack who were clearly influenced by Roddy and pals. But that is really not such a bad thing.

Knife is the kind of record you can keep on your shelf for many, many years, always confident that every time you get around to picking it up and putting it on it will always sound nice-rather than brilliant. That is a lot more than can be said for most music. Aztec Camera took big chances on Knife, embracing country and R&B while sugar coating the jangling guitars of High Land, Hard Rain with keyboards and horns adding to the group's formula.. All these songs are the work of lead singer Roddy Frame. Frame is one of those singer-songwriters who, for whatever reason, have an ear for melody. While some people will torture themselves to come up with a semblance of a melody, others just have a magical ability to produce them from nowhere. But like the Jam and Paul Weller it can also be their undoing. Bands need to be a cohesive unit, comrades where the sums of its parts are equal to the total value. All for one and one for all, but Frame like Weller have a tendency to be a bit a indulgent in places.

However we must remember this young prodigy was only 18 or so when High Land, Hard Rain was released and 20 or so when knife was released. Roddy Frame is Aztec Camera. A founding member of the band, he has been the one constant factor as quite a few musicians have come and gone since the debut record in 1983

Three Stars are awarded because its not imediatly acessable, But its one you won't condem to the boot sale
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in

Review Details


4.3 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)
5 star:
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
Add to basket Add to wishlist

Location: England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,841,348