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STACKRIDGE The Forbidden City (2-CD) Angel Air SJPCD251 (2008)


Bands of nigh on 40 year's vintage (give or take a few pursuing other projects) still sustaining careers of any real tangibility tend to get there by instilling in fans a sense of belonging, of community.

Stackridge achieve this by espousing a form of pastoral Palm Court progressive folk; a niche they fill more than adequately and with lashings of intelligence, charm and self-deprecating wit.

This gathering of the clan at a packed-out Bath Theatre last year is already out on DVD and its 2-CD audio partner now awaits those who didn't go and would rather imagine the evening.

As such it works well: the absence of images brings audience, stage announcements and performances into a sharper relief, and they reward all the more for it. The faves are pacily turned out by the well-drilled band and accompanying string section, together with the still boyish-voiced James Warren and Andrew Davis' '80s hits as The Korgis, serving to remind us that another reason why they can still muster this attention is that they were fine song-writers.

Warm as toast, the audience roars its approval, mums, dads, boys and girls, fired by nostalgia and the self-knowing absurdity of it all. Fans will love this. Metal fiends should stay well away, though ...


Review by Peter Muir

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© 2008 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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