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STACKRIDGE Friendliness Angel Air SJPCD231 (2007)


Now, this does what it says on the tin: the second album from this quirky West Country pop rock act depicts a kindly yokel communing with little birds (the feathered variety). Entertainments entitled 'Lummy Days', 'Anyone For Tennis', 'Syracuse The Elephant' and 'Teatime' reside within. "Friendliness", in short, is of another time: a delightful dip into a world of whimsical middle England pastorality in which key writers and eccentrics Andy Davis and James Warren gently lampoon blazered-Britishness with a knowing giggle.

The prolific pair had most of these melodies already worked into a proficient vaudevillian live act which ensured a ready and enthusiastic audience for this release which the band delivers with the air of sweet-natured ruritanial Bonzos. With flourishes of flute and violin melting into keyboards sweeping over a rock bed, the warm and rich melodies of "Friendliness"spare much introspection and pack instead some epic moments spanning progressive, folk rock and Palm Court orchestra to individual effect.

Bonus tracks of equally high quality in unused sessions material and a single round off a work of charm, warmth and engaging period naivety. Topping stuff, indeed.


Review by Peter Muir

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Anyone For Tennis
© 2007 Angel Air Records. All rights reserved.

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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