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THE MOVE Shazam Fly Salvo CD012 (2007)

The Move

While the original release of 'Shazam' gave The Move some valuable critical acclaim in the US, the album never really caught the public's imagination to deliver requisite commercial success. And in retrospect you can hear why. For while The Move produced some classic singles and enjoyed several musical moments, without the inclusion of the excellent bonus tracks this album would receive a guarded recommendation.

Leading into this album, The Move had trodden a thin line between brilliant pop singles, occasional lengthier psychedelic outings and subtle dalliances with Beatles style arrangements and harmonies. On 'Shazam' those subtleties are subsumed by a heavier catch all style that hints at a stylistic transitory feel.

Roy Wood sets the tone of things to come with a crunching reading of his own 'Hello Suzie' which jettisons the pop sensibilities of the Amen Corners pop craft for a heavier approach. The rough edged arrangement is almost a parody of the Move's cut glass production style for which they were known and makes the juxtaposition with the quite beautiful string inflected 'Beautiful Daughter' all the more puzzling. Coupled with a retread of the previously recorded 'Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited', fans may have been forgiven for asking just what was going on.

Normal service is hardly restored on the cover of the meandering 'Fields of People' on which the harmonies sound like The Pretty Things circa 'SF Sorrow' Some muscular Bev Bevan drum patterns and a psychedelic production wash can't disguise a rather lumbering effort that seems to waste the band's talent. Carl Wayne is quoted in the liner notes as saying that the band were essentially producing themselves, and it has to be said that the results are possibly less than focussed as a result. The lengthy end portion of 'Fields of People' sounds like an after hours Indic studio jam which bears little discernible relation to the rest of the track. The post song chatter is just as annoying as the Stanley Unwin and Stan Webb efforts that punctuated both Small Faces and Chicken Shack albums of the time.

Things heavy up on the loose arrangement of 'Don't Make My Baby Blue', which incorporates a crunching riff which was later to be distilled on the single 'Brontosaurus'. Carl Wayne swaps his usual pop harmony vocals for an all together tougher approach, which doesn't quite come off. The whole caboodle is rounded off by another cover, this time Tom Paxton's 'The Last Thing On My Mind' which is more suited to Wayne's vocal range and is given lashings of Roy Wood's beautifully mangled guitar lines a welcome return to a style hinted at on the band's previous 'Move' album. In sum the re-issued album deserves the extra star if only because of the essential bonus tracks which include two versions of the wistful 'This Time Tomorrow', the classic 'Omnibus', the essential 'Curly', a pithy 'This Time Tomorrow' and of course the best selling 'Blackberry Way.'

****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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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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