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Fact or Fiction? Good either way!,
This review is from: Knocker Jungle (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The official write-up on this intriguing album sounds like a April Fools joke - a CD of a lost classic from an obscure band that was unearthed in a long forgotten archive? All rather contrived, I thought, just a hook to get you to check it out. And curiosity got the better of me! I'm still unsure whether this is some elaborate gag or not, but I'm quite certain that this is a very good album.
The style is typical of the late sixties and early seventies, but doesn't fall comfortably into any genre. For example, the opening track I DON'T KNOW WHY kicks off somewhere between folk and southern rock (in fact, folk/rock fusion is as good a pigeonhole as any if you need one), but quickly settles into something that somehow reminded me of early Pink Floyd. The ridiculously enunciated vocal doesn't do the catchy tune justice, and I found myself very wary of the remainder of the album on first listen. But this proved to be a needless worry.
OH TO BE FREE continues in a similar vein, while CAUGHT A COLD LAST NIGHT reminded me of the Rolling Stones with hints of early Rush, and I'VE GOT TIME felt a bit like Bob Dylan. So, contemporary influences are all over the place, and it all works beautifully.
Standout tracks seem to lurk in the midsection of the album:
- ECCESIATES, which (somewhat bizarely) would fit wonderfully on a Spinners album (the Liverpudlians, not the Motown outfit!). Unashamedly folky, but arranged more accessibly that that, and it's very hummable after the fact.
- YOU'VE GOT YOUR LOVE FOR ME, which smacks of MUNGO JERRY or DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS but could easily be a JAMES BLUNT tune.
- SUNBURNT VIRGIN TROUSERS is unashamedly rocky, with Echoes of Cream or even Hendrix. It doesn't run away with itself, but has one of a handful of the acoustic solos on the album in it, and builds to a great finish.
- IMPOSSIBLE YOU is the highlight of the album for me, a tune so light, fresh and contemporary it gave me fresh suspicion that the whole album was actually recorded quite recently. I can think of half a dozen modern singers who would do a wonderful rendition of this summery song, and I'll be amazed it it doesn't show up on another album sometime soon. And this is another one you'll find yourself singing along to long after the disc stops spinning.
A poor rehash of GERSHWIN'S popular IT AIN'T NECESSARILY SO blights the album for a couple of minutes, but the remainder of the album continues nicely past the salad-days-y OH MY and the moody SHADOW ON YOUR SHOULDER to its destination with the light and airy ROSEMARIE.
None of the eighteen tracks run for very long, with just half a dozen over three minutes. But this doesn't affect the whole adversely, nor does the slightly uneven production.
I was going to give this album a very solid three stars after the first couple of listens, but I find I keep gong back to it and humming the tunes when I'm out and about, so I think it deserves four!