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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Friends and Lovers
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£4.50+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 29 March 2017
Excellent value
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on 5 June 2004
If you like guitar-driven pop/rock with great melodies, depth and a bit of quirkiness thrown in, this album is for you!
Bernard Butler proves from the of that he means business with the soaring title track, then moves swiftly onto show his heavier side with 'I'd Do it Again If I Could. Then the pace begins to slow down with 'Cocoon', which is an appropriate title for this song which wraps you in its wonderful melody, thought provoking lyrics and a key change to die for!
The songs in the middle section are less immediate and perhaps not as strong, but grow on you over time and become old friends. The beautiful ballad 'Precious' surely shows that Bernard knows how to build a song, and this song is perfectly placed to lead into the epic 'Has Your Mind Got Away' which will surely satisy those with progressive leanings.
Bernard has been accused of having weak vocals in the past, but he's really cracked it with this one. His vocals are quite charming.
This is a very accomplished record, it's diversity and charm will stay with you for a long time. Buy it now!
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on 10 October 2007
While the critics enjoyed the music of People Move On, they didn't enjoy the singing, and Butler himself was disparaging about the sales of his first work. He kept the momentum going, however and produced this, an album worked on the road in the year with his live band. If the first album had been big and epic, this was back to basics.

The opening tracks do their job superbly, grab the attention. Friends and Lovers is simply a stomping rocker of a track a superb rhyff over a well crafted verse chorous, and middle eight. Do It Again If I Could carries this on with another killer rhyff leading the whole thing through. Coccoon is another great track with an attention gripping chord pattern and a huge chorus showing that time on the road had truly improved Bernard as a vocalist. Smile is almost like something left over from People Move On, but done with a more subtle edge. One of the weaker tracks of the opening half is actually the single You Must Go On, while it bowls along nicely enough, it's just thin compared to what comes before, and what follows immediately after. No Easy Way Out is the pinncale of the record, it's a painful song lyrically, but the arrangement, and the music come together with some beautiful vocals to make this the most polished product on the record.

Everyone I Know Is Falling Apart is a bare bones piece of ambiance, brought to a head in the outro, a heavy piano over a dreamy guitar and synthesiser.

It's a shame that after this point, things aren't quite up to the standard of the rest of it. Precious is touching, but Let's Go Away is as light as You Must Go On. What Happened To Me is a filler, and while You'll Feel It When You're Mine is jaunty enough it is utterly throwaway.

This leaves us with the smouldering and epic, Has You Mind Gone Away. Highs and lows in one song. Yes, great vibe, great sound, fantastic guitar solo, but the length of the track doesn't support the strength of the idea behind it, and could have done with some editing.

Sadly, two things conspired to end Bernard's solo career, which could have gone into something really, really worthwhile. The first was the folding of Creation records which left him without a deal. The second was more poor sales. Bernard went back to working with David McAlmont, and then Brett Anderson.

This is a good solid record and a hint of what might have been had Butler's solo talent been allowed to flourish.
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on 15 December 1999
Bernard Butler is one of the popular music world's greatest secrets. They don't write songs of this quality much anymore and Bernard has finely honed his craft to produce the best record of his career. Can't wait for the next one...
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on 6 November 2001
I bought this album hoping it would be equally as good as 'People Move On' and I can gladly say I wasn't disappointed. From the start to the finish it was sheer class and an excellent addition to any record collection and at this price you cannot go wrong
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on 1 December 1999
Best kept secret of 1999. Wonderful riffs, sensitive songs, honesty. Butler and his band perform with real spirit and conviction, and this is a superb record, expertly written, performed and recorded. People, he has moved on...
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on 31 March 2011
I really really love this album. It has been in my collection for more than 10 years and I still love every second of it. Great melodies. great production and great guitar work. This album surely stands the test of time a lot more than Suede and The Tears. A very overlooked classic it is. It's beautiful from start to finish. It grabs you and makes you just float away. Buy this!!
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on 28 November 2011
I rarely get a CD where the singer's voice is so bad that I can't listen to it. This is one of them. If you are thinking about buying this CD, check out at least one track first to hear that voice ... OK, I can't sing either, but then I'm not charging you to listen to me ... at best Butler's voice is a high-pitched whine, most of the time it's a wheedling crooning throat-slitting-inducing whine.
Now this guy can play guitar, but you never really him play it. There is so much background filler sound that everything but this man's voice is lost in the mix. Mind you, bet this CD does wonders for the sale of alcohol and ear plugs.
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on 20 January 2014
Really enjoyed this album - it's a shame that Mr Butler has not released more than the 2 solo albums
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