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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Cock Robin

After Here through Midland: Expanded Edition

Review by Gary Hill

I vaguely remember liking this outfit back in the day. I hadn’t heard them in years. This new expanded edition is quite good. It’s definitely got an 80s vibe, but not to the point of feeling overly dated. The variety and power of having both a male and female lead singer really add a lot to this. Even the weaker stuff is still pretty strong.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Just Around the Corner

The vocals on this bring a bit of a soulful vibe. The guitar at times lends that to the piece, too. It’s an 80s sounding pop rock tune that’s very effective overall, though.

The Biggest Fool of All
With a more prominent keyboard arrangement, this is an energized pop rock tune. It’s got a lot going for it, really.
El Norte
As good as the first two were, this blows those away. It’s not a paradigm shift, but just a more effective showing of the kind of pop rock this outfit does.
I'll Send Them Your Way
There seem to be hints of Roy Orbison on this number. It’s a good one with a particularly inspired vocal arrangement. .
Another Story
Still very 80s in texture, this is a rather jazzy ballad. It’s quite electronic at the same time. It’s also one of the strongest cuts here.
Coward's Courage
While this is okay, it’s just a little too similar to everything else and not special enough to stand out.
Every Moment
I like the energy and emotion to this one. It’s got a particularly effective vocal arrangement, too.
Precious Dreams
While some of the keyboard parts on this are dated as being very 80s, this is one of the best songs here. It rocks out more than most of the rest. It’s extremely effective and infectious.
After Here through Midland
The title track, this is another that’s among the best here. It rocks a bit more and has some compelling vocal and musical elements. It has a real triumphant feeling to it.
Bonus Tracks – Non Album B-Sides

 

Open Book
Less rocking, this is more of a pop (and even leans toward dance music) song. It’s good, but not up the level of the last couple numbers. This is the first of three non-album B-sides as bonus tracks.
Blood of a Saint

I love this song. It’s one of the highlights. It’s a powerful rocker with a great vocal line. It has some 80s trappings, but still holds up really well. It’s astonishing to me, as potent as this is, that it was just a B-side.

For Dear Life
A mellower cut, the 80s elements are almost overpowering here. This is the final of the B-sides and it’s not as strong as a lot of the stuff on the album proper, really. The song also seems to go on forever, but the keyboard sounds later in the piece are almost worth it.
Bonus Tracks – Remixes and Alternate Versions

 

Just Around the Corner (Extended Remix)
As one would guess, this is a remix of the earlier tune. Somehow, I think I like this one better.
The Biggest Fool of All (Dance Mix)
Again, it’s pretty easy to figure what this is. It’s a pretty solid tune in this version, as well. This doesn’t really feel like a dance mix to me.
El Norte (Reinforced Dance Mix)
With a bit of a Latin beat, this is definitely a dance mix.
El Norte (El Club Mix)
Another dance mix of the previous piece, this is a little more electronic. It’s not all that different, though.
El Norte (Los Bonus Beats)
This is a strictly rhythmic version as an extension of the previous one. It leaves me bored.
 
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