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on 19 August 2009
Well this a terrific CD. Robin Trower playing here is superb. The feel of the album is pretty laid back, but I feel this brings out the best in him. There are lots of great songs here as well as guitar. The openening instrumental track even has lush strings on it and it works. So many highlights here and one is definitely 'Once the spell is broken'such amazing guitar tone as throughout. There is also the added bonus of hammond organ on a couple of tracks and 'Time and Emotion' is another stand out track with emotive guitar playing.
The Detailed sleeve notes tell of the recording sessions and how he got the sound he wanted.
On this album Robin sings himself. I love Davey Pattisons voice on previous albums as its similar to the late great James Dewar. RT chose to sing here himself as the register was not quite right for DP. while RT's vocals are not great they sound fine in the context of the songs. But of course we mainly listen to to RT for the guitar playing and he is on top form here.
I have all of his albums and this one is certainly one the best in ages.
So if you love quality guitar with loads of feel buy it, you won't be disappointed. Five stars as the guitar playing seals it and great songs too.
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on 7 April 2010
I like instrumental tracks more than sung ones and this album does it for me on this account. But I have to say what a fine recording Livingstone Brown has made, the beautiful tones of the stratocaster are so easy on the ear and Robins vibrato and string bending is superb and very well supported by the strings and organ on several tracks. This is Robin reaching out and trying new ideas and subtly blending them with his old style so you hardly know that you are listening to something fresh. My favourite tracks are "Wish you were mine" "As you watch each city fall part 2 " "sleeping on the moon" "Time and emotion" and "Find a Place" As to Robin singing on this cd I like it, and it does sound like he has been having singing lessons, his vibrato is much improved.
A great album a great improvement from that awful one he did with Jack Bruce.
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on 10 April 2013
Its quite boring for Trower. Twice removed from his earley stuff which was fantastic. He is still good live though and can still rock hard at his tender age.
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on 15 September 2009
For Robin Trower's fine guitar playing and vocals provided by the late James Dewer,
no Robin Trower album will ever achieve the brilliance of Bridge Of Sighs.
Nevertheless, if you recognise great guitar work when you hear it, then this album will not disappoint you.
Each track has been well worked and yet again, this is another fine example of Robin Trower's brilliance.
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on 2 June 2010
Invariably the newer Robin Trower cds always get compared to his classic output on such albums as 'Twice removed from yesterday' 'bridge of sighs' and 'for earth below.' Some fans would include'long misty days' and possibly the 2 earlier offerings with jack Bruce.

To be absolutely honest there is no way that the newer material can be as good as the classic line up of Trower, Dewar, Isoadore. Dewar was an amazing vocalist very much underated in his time, his characteristic voice having lots of understated soul and a graininess which fitted the harder rock material as well. The nearest similarity would be Paul Rodgers of Free. He was also a very proficient bass player, his playing also had a degree of funkiness to it which helped underpin his vocals and propel the songs along energetically and nicely.

What lets down the newer Trower sound apart from the weaker songwriting is the less than adequate vocals. The rythmn section sounds stiffer than the more adventurous members of the 70's. Watch the session trower did including 'Alathea' from the old grey whistle test and you'll know what i'm talking about.

It's quite some time now since the heady heights of 'Bridge of Sighs' the classic cut itself sounding extraordinarily different, new and daring - the track has certainly not diminished since it was recorded over 30 years ago (now that is a real achievement) The best sounding cut on 'What Lies beneath' is 'wish you were mine' not surprisingly this is a redux of an earlier Trower song 'caravan to midnight.' 'Buffalo blues' too is a highlight.

The Trower band without Jim Dewar will always sound somewhat diminished to me, on this album Robin himself takes on the awesome task and the result is mixed at best. I prefer his vocals to the waring Jack Bruce.

The guitar on the album is mature and strong, while the melodies are not all that memorable. It's been a long time since trower filled stadia but he can still play a smoking solo, and the solos are the best things on the album.

Ok not classic Trower but that was 30 years ago, the guys got to make a living- and a living out of what he knows best. credit where credit is due. new fans to trower without hearing the older material may enjoy this sans the past baggage older fans compare this to. Loyal fans will listen but mostly feel he has done his best already.
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on 17 March 2012
As noted the guitar playing is beautifully considred and expressive. It's curious that guitarists in particular labour under the impression they can sing however, and Trower's vocals drag the songs back, bringing them flatly earthwards. It's a curiously dispiriting experience. One reviewer says "you don't buy a Robin Trower album for the singing but for the guitar playing" or words to that effect. I disagree - music is about ensemble playing and the experience is of listening to a whole musical expreience working together, not just elements of it. Why hobble yourself by employing less-than-par singing? Would he have employed a less than par drummer, or less than par bass player? Hubris! Ego! He's got nothing to say vocally but tons to say with his playing.
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on 26 March 2010
I read a review about this being Trower's best album since "Bridge Of Sighs". This created a false impression on me because I thought it was to be as rocky. It isn't. It's nearer to "In City Dreams", possibly on a par with "Caravan To Midnight". I was hooked in with interest, following the opening three tracks and their differant styles, listening to the band back Trower exceptionally well. Trower's guitar work, as ever, is brilliant, but the album as a whole and on a second listening is a tad too laid back for me.
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on 18 December 2010
I have been a fan of Robin's for more than 30 years... still am, a huge one in all but his singing. To be frank Robin's sublime playing and compositions need no singing, his instrumentals are wonderful and very vocal in themselves. But if you have had one of my all time favourites as your singer... James Dewar, followed by a great singer in Davey Pattison, well anything less is going to be a big disappointment. God knows Dave Bronze and Livingston Brown were very poor substitutes.

So for the music and the composition this CD is worth buying, but when you have the likes of Davey to hand, it seems silly not to take advantage of it; it really makes a big difference to the overall record. Living out of Time was great but I can only listen to the three instrumentals on this CD.

If Mr. Trower -unlikely I know - was ever to read this, please don't be offended, you have brought me more musical pleasure in 30 odd years, then I could ever properly thank you for but your singing is not an added bonus. Your right to, of course, if it brings you pleasure and I will still support each new release -your talent deserves no less, but sorry, not with quite the enthusiasm I once had...

... and that is too big a shame!

Your fan.
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on 18 April 2012
Today Robin Trower must be one of the most underrated guitarist in the world. In the 70`s he made 3 great albums and excellent live recordings. For me, he was right next to Jimi so I`ve been a huge fan ever since.
"What Lies Beneath" is a good album but ofcourse it`s not "Bridge of Sighs" or "20th Century Blues". My favorite is "As You Watch Each City Fall", a great song that has Jimi all over it. Great guitar playing. Robin Trower is not a good singer but his kind of a spooky way of singing/speaking the songs is ok . I`ve always been for the guitar.
It`s definately not his greatest album but worth buying.
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on 5 November 2009
As noted by other reviewers Davey Pattisons vocals are replaced by Robin's on this CD. It's a slightly more laid back feel on this album and his singing complements that, but the bottom line is Davey's voice is missed. The guitar work and fine recording are well worth the money though so I'll still give it 4 stars. BTW there is another recent album which recalls the halycon days of Bridge Of Sighs - check out Living Out of Time.
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