Monday, June 29, 2015

Curved Air - 1971 - Second Album

Curved Air 
Second Album

01. Young Mother (5:55)
02. Back Street Luv (3:38)
03. Jumbo (4:11)
04. You Know (4:11)
05. Puppets (5:26)
06. Everdance (3:08)
07. Bright Summer’s Day 68 (2:54)
08. Piece of Mind (12:52)

 - Sonja Christina / vocals
- Darryl Way / vocal, piano, vocals
- Francis Monkman / guitar, keyboards
- Ian Eyre / bass
- Florian Pilkington Miksa / drums

Curved Air’s “Second Album” (what an imaginative title!) was even better than the debut but it also demonstrated the tensions between the two songwriters in the band, Darryl Way and keyboard-player Francis Monkman. All of Way’s compositions were on side one of the album, while Monkman’s was on the second side.
As a whole, the album is lighter than their debut with the exception of the 13 minute “Piece of Mind”. This is a rather elongated piece, based around what might otherwise have been a good 5-6 minute song. Kristina certainly gives a fine vocal performance, the tumbling fast singing sections being particularly striking. The track moves through rather jazzy piano and some distinctive brass. There is some goods synth too, but the overall impression is of a track being stretched beyond its natural length.
Of the other tracks, “Jumbo” is a lovely violin dominated ballad which might have made for a successful single. The title is perhaps a bit unfortunate, conjuring images of elephants rather than the intended aeroplanes and their romantic “flying me home” connotation. “Puppets” is another ballad, with a sparse backing to high delicate vocals.
“Young mother” has an almost early Genesis like sound at times, but the sharing of the main melody by vocals and violin gives the track an intriguingly different feel. On the down side, “You know” is an average pop track on the lines of “Stretch” from their first album. “Bright summer’s day ‘68” is a short throwaway song with strange, shouted and distorted vocals.
This is a decent “second” album by the band, which relies less on the violin and more on the keyboards.