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Curved Air: North Star
Curved Air North Star CD Album Review

Curved Air: North Star

Melodic/Progressive Rock

Anbody, especially from England, who knows his prog rock history knows of the seminal band Curved Air who rose to fame in the early Seventies. Their rise was quick, significant, and not without some controversy. Folding in 1976, the band had remained silent for nearly three decades, only to revive in 2008, thanks to vocalist Sonja Kristina. Now they release their first in 30 years, North Star.

Curved Air North Star Band Photo

Curved Air: with curved hair.

For the sake of clarity, North Star is not made up of entirely new material, only seven of the 14 songs are new. All sound like Curved Air, past or present, with that touch of violin, sleek guitar work, and Kristina lilting and mesmerizing vocals. The music isn't all that technical or complex, just melodic, light, and low key. It's like easy listening progressive rock or elevator prog rock.

There are three re-recordings of songs from the first two Curved Air albums: Puppets, Situations, Young Mother. I haven't listened to the band in more than 30 years, so I can't tell you if there are any significant arrangement changes to any of them. But they sound just fine. There's also a re-recording of Colder Than a Rose in Snow from Kristina's 1980 solo album. Again, I don't know much about her solo career either. It's another light number, mostly vocals and piano.

Finally, there are three cover songs, which the band generally make (or sometimes mangle) into their light progressive rock: Snow Patrol's monster hit Chasing Cars, which you probably won't recognize; The Police's Spirits in the Material World, which the band basically sucks the life out of; and, The Beatles' Across the Universe, a song I never liked to begin with where, again, Curved Air bleeds of any life. Ultimately, I would rather have had more new material than these interpretations or re-recordings. Yet I suspect Curved Air fans will be pleased to see the band return to activity and creativity. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

In Short

The first recording of new material in 30 years, North Star offers more of Curved Air's not so technical, light, and low key easy listening progressive rock.

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