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Brian Auger - A Better Land (as Oblivion Express) CD (album) cover

A BETTER LAND (AS OBLIVION EXPRESS)

Brian Auger

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.45 | 26 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars I am not familiar with anything else by Mr Auger...his name has always been a bit below the radar for me. In fact, I think I picked up this LP because I associated him with Mike Oldfield at some level, although I think I got his name confused with Kevin Ayers! They both begin with an A after all. Anyways, I dug it out a while back and was generally buoyed by its ultra hip laid-backedness. While that approach doesn't suit every mood, there is enough here to return to on occasion.

The style is somewhat similar to Steely Dan but more focused on the groove than on the playing. It also has that perennially tasteful way of the British about it, and greater variety than the average Dan album, while not having suffered any degree of overexposure. The highlights are the smooth "Dawn of Another Day", the clever adaptation of the trad Irish song "Marie's Wedding", the hippy credo "Trouble", and especially the soft jazzy "On thinking it Over" where every instrumentalist shines and the pace varies pleasantly. The album's only real misstep is the raucous "Fill Your Head with Laughter" which is OK if taken out of context but does not fit with the rest of the material. Even if some of the songs are somewhat dullish, like "All the Time There is", at least they don't disrupt the induced meditative state so much.

For the most part, "A Better Land" is a good if not particularly grounded effort that sets a mood to counteract the hustle bustle world, which from at least that perspective makes it more relevant today than ever.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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