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Second Album

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 13 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Collector's Choice Music
  • ASIN: B0000584UR
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #312,988 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Young Mother
2. Back Street Luv
3. Jumbo
4. You Know
5. Puppets
6. Everydance
7. Bright Summer's Day '68
8. Piece Of Mind

Product Description

Time has not treated Curved Air's second album kindly. Of course it was always dominated by "Back Street Luv," which isn't simply one of the band's own finest moments, it's also one of the crucial singles of the early 1970s. But across this straightforward reissue of the accompanying album, the savage innovation which was the hallmark of their Air Conditioning debut, and the brilliant eclecticism which would characterize their next set, is nowhere in sight. Which is weird, because it always used to sound quite good. In its place, a crop of relatively straightforward but sonically flat rock songs are distinguished by Sonja Christina's most conventional, cool vocals yet -- only "Back Street Luv" truly draws any true emotion out of her, while the band's much vaunted classical/rock fusion only shakes its fist during the closing "Piece of Mind," although it must be admitted that when it shakes, it really shakes. A building, foreboding 13-minute epic, crowned by a genuinely spine-tingling recitation from TS Eliot's "The Wasteland," "Piece of Mind" is the kind of performance which you just know was played endlessly in college dorm rooms of the age. The segues from mounting rock to pondering piano seem hopelessly old-fashioned now, the building tension of violin and percussion seems obvious and hackneyed. In 1971, though, Curved Air were pioneers in every sense of the word and it is neither their fault, nor this album's, that we're not so easily impressed any longer. But maybe it isn't time which has treated this album so poorly, but the slipshod manner in which this album has been converted to CD. It sounds lifeless, sludgy, even (in places) a little slow. It has certainly not been remastered; it may not even have used the best quality tapes. Albums this ambitious need loving care and patient attention to cut the aural ice today. This one got neither. ~ Dave Thompson, All Music Guide

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
A lot of people dismissed Curved Air because of the picture disc gimmick of their first album; they couldn't get beyond the gimmick to the music. This is the album that proved Curved Air's substance.
It opens with "Young Mother", which begins and ends with an every-note-in-its-place vocal section with a wonderfully free-flowing violin and synthesiser jam in the centre. "Back Street Luv" was the hit single - a distinctive sound unlike anyone else. "Jumbo" and "You Know" are the most lightweight tracks here, the former featuring Sonja's multitracked vocals playing against the violin, the latter old-fashioned rock'n'roll.
Puppets is a minimalist song (about manipulation?) extending for five and a half hypnotic minutes. It's very quiet, almost remote, with simple percussion and piano underscoring a quiet voice and dreamlike synthesiser. Energy returns with "Everdance" and "Bright Summer's Day" before the final track "Piece of Mind", the album's tour de force. Almost thirteen minutes of music in the best progressive tradition, the mood ranges from manic to desperate to quietly contemplative, with the band exploring their sounds to the fullest with a precision similar to that of King Crimson.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While this is from one of my favorite early Prog bands this is not what I would call truly indicative of their work, it is slightly tired, lacking in the violin which I loved so much in this band and while the vocal work is still up to snuff here it is also being used on tunes that seem to be below par in some fashion.. Curved Air were always known for their high tempo and non stop action while this disc simply is the antithesis of that with bass lines that almost come across country in fashion at points. PHANTASMAGORIA still reigns in terms of Curved Air music ( in my opinion ), the entire disc almost smokes from start to finish while this the SECOND ALBUM well it seems to take breaks from the high life to pause in the retirement home for musicians every track or two. I must admit to some disappointment in regards to this disc...If I had not heard other music by them I would be very disappointed, however I DO KNOW that there is far better material in the works for these people...Spigomars
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Format: Audio CD
Curved Air, that delightful British band that had their heydey in the early 70's, are often called "progressive folk-rock". Actually, if one were to take into account all their major influences, the correct label might be: "Progressive folk-rock, classical-jazz, theatrical-phantasmagorical musical band, sometimes including strings and horns, as well!" In short, there is no type of musical genre that the band did not incorporate into their rich sound-stew. Second Album boasts such fabulous songs as "Young Mother" (a nice keyboard-laden piece reportedly about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), the hit single "Back Street Luv" (in which a great guitar hook heralds a situation many girls are all too familiar with), "Jumbo" (a lovely symphonic ballad about touring featuring Sonja Kristina's beautiful voice), "Everdance" (featuring a fabulous, throbbing band into highlighted by Darryl Way's gypsy violin), and best of all, "Piece of Mind" (a stunning twelve-minute tour-de-force featuring incredible lyrics by Francis Monkman, delicious vocals by Sonja, and mind-blowing playing by all!). Curved Air could have, and should have, been one of the great early progressive bands, and Sonja Kristina should be recognized as one of the pioneer women of rock (Gee, I wonder if Stevie Nicks ever listened to any Curved Air; it sure sounds like it, only Curved Air did it better!) Get this CD at once!
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Format: Audio CD
This album marks a further step beyond, in comparison to their debut album: this issue in fact shows the maturity of the band, even though you can note a certain "high tension" between Francis Monkman and Darryl Way, a couple of remarkable songwriters...on side one you find all the compositions written by the keyboardplayer Way, while within the second side you can appreciate such Monkman's songwriting!! My favourite song is "Young mother", a superb track, where the moog effect is used flawlessly ...while "Piece of mind" is an evergreen within the 70's progressive world and a true must-have classic as well!!
The only weak episode is represented by the track "Bright Summer's Day '68" and moreover the biggest hit "Back street Luv" to me can not stand in the same place as for instance the suoperb "Piece of mind", but definitively this album is well worth checking out!!
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Format: Audio CD
This is probably Curved Air's best-known album. It features the band's one and only hit single "Backstreet luv" (peaking at #4 in the UK charts in 1971) and its b-side "Everdance". "Backstreet luv" indeed is the best song of an album that has nothing particularly interesting to offer. "Young mother" and "Piece of mind" (10 mins.) are o.k., but as the reviewer below said, the rest is lightweight. Curved Air's concept of connecting classical music with atmospheric rock seems to be interesting, but unfortunately their music often doesn't keep what their futuristic cover artworks promise. Sonja Kristina's girlish voice and the flat-sounding music let Curved Air's sound rarely get more than ankle deep. Great wasted talent! Their best album is their more rock-oriented debut "Air Conditioning", along with the live cut "Live at the BBC".
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