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Strawbs - Déjà Fou CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.15 | 33 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Where is the NRG?

Deja Fou opens with a very subtle and mellow instrumental that perfectly sets the mode for the album, or at least the first half or so of the album. This instrumental leads directly into the first proper song, Under A Cloudless Sky. This is an excellent (semi-) ballad, of the type of which this album has many, but a strange choice to open the album, I think. Face Down In The Well continues in the same style, it is an acoustic ballad based on guitar, cello and with some female backing vocals. Yet again this is an excellent song.

On A Night Like This is the first up tempo song of the album and unfortunately it falls completely flat. This is easily the worst track on Deja Fou and possibly the worst in the whole Strawbs discography! This is pretty much the same type of music to which very old people in my country likes to dance! It is very light-weight and completely lacks punch.

The song If returns once again to the mellow mood of the first two songs. Cousins sounds very much like Cat Stevens on this song. And this is yet another excellent mellow ballad song with a subtle string section, acoustic guitar and vocals. Cat Stevens would envy Cousins for this beautiful song! Banjo features heavily in Cold Steel, which is otherwise a very conventional and ordinary rock song. Nothing special here.

Sunday Morning is yet another song in the slow, mellow mood. Once again, this is primarily based on acoustic guitar and vocals. At this point it almost doesn't matter how good the song is, because it feels like more of the same anyway. There are simply too many songs of this type on Deja Fou. But judged on its own merits this too is a very nice tune.

The greatness of The Barren Land cannot be ignored, however, even if it too starts out as a song in the acoustic ballad mood all too familiar by now. But it develops into a full on Strawbs attack with some electric guitar soloing and marching drums. Finally! I hesitate to call this Prog, but it is the closest thing on this album so far.

When The Lights Came On is pure pop song that would have fitted perfectly on Deep Cuts. I kind of like it! And it is at least a different type of song from the majority of this album and that alone deserves some credit.

Russian Front and NRG are the only two tracks on the whole of Deja Fou that really rocks. Strangely (and unwisely, I would say) these two songs are put towards the very end of the album. These songs are also the only two that could be said to be a bit progressive. However, these songs - at least - have a more full on band sound, with more keyboards, drums and electric guitars. Just the type of thing this album would need more of, really. NRG is very different from the rest of the album and feels a bit as if it was just tagged on at the end, while really belonging somewhere else. It is a great song though with a Far Eastern sound. Strange way to close the album. In between Russian Front and NRG we find a very good piano ballad called Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.

There are indeed several great songs on this album and only a couple of not so good ones. But there is very little in terms of Prog and there are too many ballads of the same type and sound to keep it interesting for the listener throughout. The instrumentation is often too minimal for my taste with only occasional electric guitars, drums and keyboards. The keyboards are also not varied at all, staying mainly with a brass-like sound. Another minor problem is that the vocals of Cousins are often slightly too loud in the mix.

For Strawbs fans this album is very welcome and, indeed, very pleasant. But for the average Prog fan this is just a good, but non-essential release.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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