Top critical review
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I want to like it more but...
on August 27, 2013
1. the flow just isn't there. Whoever ordered the songs should've put more thought into it. One example of this is starting off the whole cd with the remix of I'm a Cuckoo. It simply isn't a strong starting song for it lacks energy.
2. Stevie Jackson's contributions are just bland. "I took a long hard look," "Long Black Scarf," "I believe in Traveling Light," and "Mr. Richard" are either too slow, not very interesting musically or, in the case of Mr. Richard, just plain silly in the conga line sense. Traveling Light is the best of the lot for Stevie, though in my opinion his absolute best song is Jonathan David (not on this collection).
3. I Didn't See it Coming is not a very inspired remix. The album version is far superior as its feel is more consistent.
4. The Eighth Station of the Cross Kebab House seems to be looking for its way towards a final version- it has the feel of a demo song that might have sounded more believable had it been a crappy recording in a hotel room. It simply sounds incomplete musically.
5. Passion Fruit is an instrumental and, though it is sort of a fun surf rock type tune, I feel that rock and roll bands should stay clear of instrumentals. Either they end up being masturbatory 11 minute excursions a la Rush or Yes or they end up being repetitive and unnecessary a la The Cure or this song by B and S.
So, what is good about this album? The songs that really stand out as energetic and/or melodic in a recent B and S sense are Suicide Girl (a tip of the hat to bands like Aha or Berlin) , Love on the March (a bossa nova feel with a catchy melody), Your Secrets (a poppy, bouncy "don't get me wrong" by the Pretenders or "close to me" by The Cure type song), Your Cover's Blown (a dance, euro pop, disco tune)and Desperation Made a Fool of Me (which Stuart says is the second oldest song he's recorded- it feels like a nice bridge between older B and S and newer- the reason for that is, while it is an old song, it was recorded recently). The good songs on this album are really good and deserve to have been ordered better and surrounded with similarly strong songs. The liner notes are fun as they hold not just the lyrics for each song but notes from Stuart and Stevie about the songs.
Overall, I'd say get the album (especially if you're a big fan) but don't expect the cohesiveness and strong quality that made Write About Love, The Life Pursuit and Dear Catastrophe Waitress. With this, you're looking at more of a mixed bag like Fold Your Hands Child. If I were to compare this album of oddities/ rarities to its predecessor Push Barman, I would say that, due to the fact that there are fewer songs and fewer strong songs, this one is inferior. If Push Barman was a well planned three course meal, Third Eye Centre is more of a hit or miss buffet. Where Push Barman had songs that made me wonder how they never made it to an official album, Third Eye Centre has songs that made me say, "Yeah, I can see how that never made it to an album."