Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Buffer between cult fave & commercial darling

On my just-completed, 50-song AZTEC CAMERA playlist, a live version of "Mattress of Wire" sits between "Knife" and "Deep & Wide & Tall."
The song provides a buffer spanning the schism that divided the musical catalog of singer/songwriter RODDY FRAME and his fans.
"Knife" is the title song of the 1984 album that became a darling of Frame's original set of fans. "Deep & Wide & Tall" is the opening song on "Love," the best-selling followup of 1987.
The former is spartan and heartfelt. The latter has a pop sheen more befitting its era.
"The dubious recruitment of producer Mark Knopfler turned out to be a godsend as Frame's earlier fragility starts turning towards darker, earthen energies," critic Dave Thompson wrote about "Knife."
Thompson also wrote about the dichotomy of "Love."
"Love was a backward step into pop cliche, an attempt to make a record which would work on American radio. Love fared very disappointingly. However, in March 1988, 'How Men Are,' 'Somewhere in My Heart' and 'Working in a Goldmine' saw interest in Aztec Camera soar to new peaks,"
The transition from cult fave to commercial darling can seem jarring. I like both sides of Aztec Camera, but I also like having the buffer of "Mattress of Wire" to soften the abruptness of the change.


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