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And all before he was 20,
This review is from: High Land, Hard Rain (Audio CD)
High Land, Hard Rain, the debut album by Aztec Camera, released in 1983 is a well-crafted, multi-layered pop the kind of pop record you were afraid they didn't make anymore. Fear not automatic-pilot drum machines and humorlessly percolating synthesizers, lipstick and gloss. Young singer-songwriter-guitarist Roddy Frame's anxious boyish tenor and shy romantic melodies are instead stirred by the wind-chine strumming of acoustic guitars, gently draped over simple rhythm and keyboard touches., High Land, Hard Rain is radical not only in its musical restraint but in its arrogant rejection of fashion and attitude of the time. Nearly thirty years on it's a nice reminder of how innocent music can be made. But we must remember this boy was on 19 years old at the time of its release and were derived from his schoolboy scribbles on the back of his exercise books.
There is a proud refreshing and confessional glow the songs contained on this album that that amplifies Aztec Camera's folkie charm. Frame can be corny in his adolescent sexual earnestness, awkwardly naive in his poetic ambitions. But the combination of his acoustic daring and exposed lyrical nerves can set off emotional waves amid galloping acoustic guitars and subtle waterfall piano trickles. You can't help but smile when listening to this album the sound is not particularly adventurous, just wide-eyed songs of love and other important things that would plague a young mans mind. The songs are optimistic and offer hope a different steer from the glum rock that was to soon dominate the charts with acts like the smiths.