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Audience: Lunch (remastered)

Lunch is the fourth and final studio album from British art rock ensemble Audience, originally released in 1972 on Elektra Records in the US and Charisma in the UK, now reissued and remastered by Cherry Red Records. If you poll most fans, it's a step down in quality from the excellent The House on the Hill from the previous year, and truth be told, stylistically it's a bit all over the map, with too many guest musicians muddying the water perhaps, but overall it's not a bad listen by any means. Appearing with mainstays Howard Werth (vocals, guitar), Keith Gemmell (sax, clarinet, flute), Trevor Williams (bass, accordian), and Tony Connor (drums), are pianist Nick Judd and the potent duo from The Rolling Stones, sax player Bobby Keys & Jim Price on trumpet and trombone. This is not surprising actually as some of the material from the previous albums had a vibe not unlike some of the more folk based songs from the Stones' Exile on Main St. album, so it almost makes sense to have Keys and Price appear here.

As such, much of Lunch is much more straightforward rock & pop flavored material with the occasional folk & country rock flavors, with most of the prog and jazz elements from prior albums pretty much absent. The focus is on shorter, crisper, and catchier tunes with less experimentation on the musical passages, which especially gave Gemmell little to do, resulting in his leaving the band shortly after. Pleasant songs abound however, especially "Hula Girl", the engaging "Stand by the Door", the blues/R&B flavored "Ain't the Man You Need", the two jazz/prog tracks "In Accord" and "Buy Me an Island", and the bass driven rocker "Barracuda Dan". Werth sounds as strong as ever vocally, but there's also less of his lush electric classical guitar tones here, which is somewhat of a disappointment. Keys & Price however make quite a statement throughout, giving the band a fuller sound, but at the same time taking them away from their art rock style. Cherry Red's reissue includes three bonus tracks, the hook laden pop number "Grief and Disbelief", the slightly jazzy "Hard Cruel World", and the intriguing progressive folk piece "Elixir of Youth". All are decent enough tunes, especially the latter, which has a slight Jethro Tull feel with the dense arrangement featuring wispy flute and lush guitar.

As with the other Audience remasters by Cherry Red, this one sounds great, and comes complete with a booklet containing an informative essay and lots of photos. While it's perhaps the weakest of all the four studio albums, there's still enough good here to recommend, though I'd start with the first three releases to fully experience what the band were all about.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!


Track Listing
1. STAND BY THE DOOR
2. SEVEN SORE BRUISES
3. HULA GIRL
4. AIN'T THE MAN YOU NEED
5. IN ACCORD
6. BARRACUDA DAN
7. THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
8. PARTY GAMES
9. TROMBONE GULCH
10. BUY ME AN ISLAND


BONUS TRACKS
11. GRIEF AND DISBELIEF
RECORDED AT TRIDENT STUDIOS, LONDON ON 11TH OCTOBER 1971
12. HARD CRUEL WORLD
B-SIDE OF SINGLE
13. ELIXIR OF YOUTH

Added: September 9th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band @ Cherry Red Records
Hits: 1408
Language: english

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