torsdag 7 juli 2016

Curved Air - Second Album (Progressiv Rock UK 1972)


250:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Original gimmick konvolut. Utgången utgåva och svår att hitta nu.)

CURVED AIR are one of those bands from classic period of prog development that I missed checking while being a crazy fan of record buying in my teens. I had only heard of their fame and occasionally read a few articles in magazines but never had I stumbled upon any of their albums. Especially in time when THE POLICE were popular during New Wave, I occasionally found their name connected with drummer S. Copeland and I was like "hmmmm, what's this?"


Thanks to PA (:-)) I got a sample listening to "Back Street Luv" and it immediately caught my attention. But when I listened to the whole "Second Album" I could not help but wondering - how is possible this music never got much popularity like other bands from the era? To be sure, this is 1971, the year when classic prog acts like YES or GENESIS just released their first fully developed albums. "Second Album" is surely not worse than "Nursery" or "Yes Album", and in some respect it is even equally interesting. Female vocal and electric violin gives unique listening experience that was not often found at that time. 

Sonja Kristina is perhaps not so elaborated or skilled vocalist like Sandy Denny or Annie Haslam but she is firm, energetic, emotional and delivers excellent songs. "Young Mother", "Backstreet Luv", "Puppets" and "Pieace of Mind" are prog masterpieces with very good of combination between violin, organ, synths and guitars, all arranged in largely vivid, rhythmic songs. "You Know" with its combination of male/female vocals, hints at JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, with excellent guitar solo. Mellotron-filled "Puppets" is one of the best prog ballads I heard.

I don't know whether I would the same opinon, had I heard this long time back but now I can only say - wow! This is an unjustly forgotten gem of British progressive rock of early 1970s and should be given a second chance. Now or never!

CURVED AIR were formed in 1970 by Sonja Kristina (vocals), Darryl Way (violin), Francis Monkman (keyboards), Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums). The group decided the name using a shortened version of Terry Riley's composition "A rainbow in curved air". In their first album "Air Conditioning", a prominent role was given to vocals and violin; the album reached number 8 in the British charts. Then, in 1971, they released "Second Album", highly recommended example of CURVED AIR sound (a mix of acoustic folk and progressive rock).

1972 was the year of "Phantasmagoria", with Mike Wedgwood as bass guitarist. After a long tourney the band fell apart and Way formed the WOLF, while CURVED AIR showed a new line-up with Eddy Jobson as violinist, but they will never reach the performance level of the early two albums. In 1973, after "Air Cut" (with a sound hard oriented), Wedgwood joined with CARAVAN and Jobson with ROXY MUSIC. The four members of the original project made the first reunion in 1975 for a tourney (album "Curved Air Live"). Afterwards Kristina and Way carried on with drummer Stewart Copeland, bassist Tony Reeves, guitarist Mick Jacques and released "Midnight Wire". Their last album was "Airborne", published in 1976. The second reunion of the four former members was in 1990 for a concert in London (album "Alive 1990"). In the same year was released an album of previously unissued tracks recorded in 1973 ("Lovechild"). Finally, in 1995, an album of BBC sessions, called "Live at BBC". [progarchives.com]

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)