4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
See you through the window (if you haven't left after track 3...),
This review is from: Magic Time (Audio CD)
Herein lies the problem. If you can open an album with 2 of the finest tracks you have put out for a long time, tracks of such quality and class and then follow it up with "Keep Mediocrity At Bay" (which incidentally invites mediocrity in with an affirmative handshake), you have a quality control issue.
"Stranded" is a sublime peice of balladry where Van the Man delivers a vocal of such command and soul and the musical chops are there to back it up. It sounds like 1957 and being stranded has never sounded so sweet. It's follow up - "Celtic New Year" - is a career standout. It hangs around for a bit, but its quite welcome to and manages that tricky balance of romantic, soulful and classy at the same time. It beats the saccharine "Have I told you lately" hands down.
OK - lets keep with the positive. "The Lion This Time" is a decent folk-flavoured tune and the title track is wistful and works rather pleasantly. "They Sold Me Out" (Van doesn't have any sense of victimhood honestly) despite robbing the opening hook of "People Get Ready" also does ok. "Just Like Greta" is also a song of substance and class.
Now we run into some difficulty. Because with Van it's about the songs. "Keep Mediocrity At Bay" is poor and "Carry On Regardless" is a bit embarrassing.
A few standard covers and we're virtually there.
There's substantial class on this long player, but it's not across it's 13 tracks.