Much Better Than Its Reputation!,
This review is from: Emotions (Audio CD)
Emotions was the third Pretty Things album, and it was radically different from the previous two, which were more or less typical British rhythm`n blues albums. On the second album "Get The Picture" they had already shown that they were very skilled songwriters, but with "Emotions" their musical ambitions led them into experiments with orchestral arrangements - or was it the record company that wanted to change their image? The album has often been criticized for being ruined by these Reg Tilsley strings and brass arrangements.
I agree that on some tracks these "outside" instruments do remove focus from the band and their music, but actually I think the album has aged very well. This is also due to some fine songwriting and great vocals from Phil May.
"Death of a Socialite" is a strong opener, great tune and vocals, and apart from the ending I think the arrangements works fine!
The single "Children" is a great catchy psychedelic-type song, practically Pretty Things with no "outside" interference. It was a minor hit in Denmark, and remember it being played regularly on Danish Radio.
"The Sun" is a quiet ballad. A version without strings is added as a bonus-track, so you can compare which you prefer. Personally I think I prefer the original strings-version, but both are great.
On "There Will Never be Another Day" the added instruments sound completely out of place; so it`s great that there is an undubbed version added. Probably one of the weakest tracks, though.
"House of Ten" is another fine quite number. The strings support the song discretely.
"Out in the Night" is not among the best songs, and the brass, makes it a track that I prefer jumping over. it would have been interesting to have this song with the Pretty Things alone.
"One Long Glance" is untouched by Tilsley; a good song that could have been from "S.F. Sorrow".
"Growing in My Mind" is another fine ballad.
"Photographer" is a Chuck Berry-type rocker; again the brass arrangement sound out of place, and again the "clean" version can be found among the bonus-tracks.
Unfortunately "Bright Lights of the City" cannot be found without orchestra. Could have been a much better track.
"Tripping" is "untouched" and a good song, sounds a lot like early Rolling Stones.
The original closing track "My Time" is more or less spoiled by brass-overdubs; thankfully a version without them had been added.
Besides the undubbed "Emotions" tracks, two more single-tracks have been included. Their great cover of the Kinks` "House in the Country" and their own minor hit-single "Progress" - also in an alternate version.