01 November 1987
I know I’m biased because it was my first exposure to this act, but Love remains my favorite Aztec Camera album 32 years later. Everything about this album is spot on and it’s hard for me to figure why Roddy Frame & Co. never hit it big in the US. Apart from 1983’s “Oblivious” they barely made a blip on the charts over on this side of the pond.
The lyrics can get a bit downtrodden at times but the music is never less than uplifting. Fully embracing the Philadelphia sound, Roddy even works in synthesized horn stabs and backing vocals from no less than Robin Clark and Tawatha Agee.
Oddly, the band members vary from song to song with other performers appearing on two or three songs at most. You might expect this to raise consistency issues throughout, but it is a testament to Roddy Frame’s vision for these songs that I never knew that there were different players on every track until I was looking at the liner notes today to pick out the bass player on “Working In A Goldmine.” (It was Will Lee if you’re interested, best known for his work on the David Letterman late shows.)
If there’s one detractor from this album, it’s the occasional use of drum programming which dates the songs and cheapens the classic soul sounds otherwise evident on the record. A minor quibble and one that doesn’t inhibit my enjoyment, but I’m much more aware of it now than I would have been 30 years ago.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out album closer “Killermont Street.” On a disc full of excellent songs, this one is truly special, an anthem of redemption and the prettiest melody Aztec Camera ever recorded.
Happy anniversary, Love.