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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Cock Robin

Cock Robin: Expanded Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This new edition of the self-titled Cock Robin disc features the full album and a lot of bonus tracks. This definitely lives within the 80s period in terms of musical style. It’s quite entertaining, though. I’d say that the inclusion of the extra songs makes this well worth getting if you don’t already have it on disc. For those who do own it already, unless you are a hardcore collector of the band, I’m not sure the extra material is worth the trade-in. It’s worth thinking about, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Thought You Were on My Side

With an energized, but distinctly 80s based sound, this is pretty catchy. It has some hints of metallic texture in the mix. It’s a solid rocker.

When Your Heart Is Weak
This is a synthesizer dominated, soulful 80s ballad-like tune. It’s pretty typical of that era. It’s also pretty strong.
Just When You’re Having Fun
There’s more energy to this. It reminds me of something Cyndi Lauper might have done. There is definitely a dance element in the rhythm section.
The Promise You Made
Electronic music with a prominent rhythm section serves as the basis for this. I like the interaction between the male and female vocals. Additionally, there are some strong vocal melodies. The musical arrangement is strengthened as more layers of sound are added.
Because It Keeps on Working
There are no big changes here, but this does have a great driving energy. It’s also got some of the best vocal interactions of the set. It’s one of my favorites here.
Born with Teeth
Although this has a lot of energy, it just doesn’t seem all that strong to me. Don’t get me wrong, it adds some variety, but it seems a little slow to grab the listener. It seems to lack a lot of the emotion on power of the rest of the set. The guitar solo is quite tasty, though.
One We Might Have Known

 Now, this is one of the best cuts here. Musically, at times, it shares some territory with 80s or 90s Rush. The bass sound is noteworthy. The multi-layered vocal arrangement is the real shining star here, though. I like this song a lot.

More than Willing
1980s pop rock is the order of business here. This is one of the more effective pieces of the set. It’s not Earth-shattering or completely original, but it’s done very well. It’s a strong tune with a great vocal arrangement.
A Little Innocence
A mellower groove, this is another highlight of the set. It gains that title from the evocative vocal arrangement and performance.
Bonus Tracks (Single Versions and Non-Album B-Sides)
  
When Your Heart Is Weak (Single Mix)
This is the first time this alternate version has been available on CD. I have to say that I like this mix quite a bit. In fact, I think it prefer it to the album version. Still, that’s not a surprise, since it’s meant to be a “hit.”
Have You Any Sympathy
A bouncy little number, somehow this reminds me of a more electronic Prince. Perhaps if you add some Art of Noise into the mix, you’ll be really close. This is also the first time this has been released on CD.
Peace on Earth
Another that’s seeing its first CD release here, this is a mellower tune with both electronic pop and fusion elements at play.
Once We Might Have Known (Remix)
This is also the first time this has been on a CD. In this case, I think I like the album version better, but it’s nearly a toss-up.
Bonus Tracks (Remixes and Alternate Versions)
  
When Your Heart Is Weak (Dance Mix)
This isn’t really what you’d consider a traditional dance mix. Sure, the rhythm section is out front, but it’s not the electronic remix kind of thing that’s often heard on dance mixes. It’s not actually all that different from the main version of the song.
The Promise You Made (Extended Version)
Now, this has some percussion that feels like a dance mix. This number just doesn’t work all that well for me. It’s okay, but not as strong as a lot of the rest.
Thought You Were on My Side (Extended Remix)
Here is another cut that is seeing its first CD release here. This is a solid pop rocker. I like this version quite a bit, really.
When Your Heart is Weak (Instrumental)
There are some voices here, so it’s not purely an instrumental, but it’s close. This isn’t a big surprise, but it’s a good tune. This is another that’s never been released on CD before.

 

 
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