Kevin Ayers
The Unfairground

Reviewed by: Mike Atkinson
Reviewed on: 2007-10-26

Posted 10/26/2007 - 05:30:40 AM by florenz6:
 To use this old cliche - like a postcard from an old friend! A- seems to me a bit too much for an album with two, three very fine tracks! Inviting some friends and admirers of his older works (Euros Childs a.o.) to the studio, brings the nostalgic flair even more into focus.
Posted 10/26/2007 - 07:41:09 AM by peter30:
 I really don't agree with the idea that The Unfairground should in any way be faulted for being 34 minutes. I think of so many classic albums (Byrds, Beatles, Clash, Rolling Stones. Soft Machine's first album even etc. etc.) which run at the same sort of length. The Unfairground is complete -- it has nothing to do with size. Also for an artist to revisit older work is quite common in other creative disciplines. Why not music composition? Further in response to Florenz6: indeed if you only like 2 or 3 tracks from the album than of course you wouldn't give the album a high rating. What's your point? I personally agree with Mike that every track on this album is just brilliant and the collection works as a beautiful complete whole. The vast majority of critics, reviewers and bloggers etc. agree.
Posted 10/26/2007 - 08:48:16 AM by MikeAtkinson:
 peter30: Yes, fair points, but difficult also not to feel a certain shudder of initial disappointment at the short length, which is really the point I was trying to convey. I quite agree, though - the album is complete and satisfying as it stands, particularly because of that tight compression of musical ideas. Re. the re-visiting of old tracks: Ayers himself has done this in the past. The Soft Machine's "Why Are We Sleeping" turns up 6 years later on Dr. Dream, the Whole World's "Hat Song" (part of their live set)appears 8 years later on Rainbow Takeaway, and "When Your Parents Go To Sleep" from Bananamour re-emerges 19 years later on Still Life With Guitar. florenz6: If I'd been reviewing the album after the first week, it would have earned a B. After 3 or 4 weeks, it would have been a B+. I just find that it accrues its power over time. This is a luxury which many album reviewers don't get to enjoy, of course...
Posted 10/26/2007 - 09:03:09 AM by florenz6:
 re:peter30 & Make Atkinson - The vast majority is no good argument, by the way. Never has been. Think of the many critics who like this awful first Strokes album, for example (running gag!) - Oh, my goodness, Peter 30, stay cool and read carefully: I wrote "two, three very fine tracks". So there are, in my opinion, some more "only" fine tracks, and some average pieces, okay? That adds up up B- (in the Stylus rating) - that´s still quite good. That´s my point, okeydokey? And Mike: I had this record with me at least as long as you have (because I am a music journalist, too.). Indeed, "The Unfairground" was among 5 cds I listened to quite intensely on a Barcelona trip. And the result of it all: Kevin Ayers: B-; and his old pal Robert Wyatt gets an A+ for "The Comic Opera". It´s the difference between a masterpiece and a quite good album.
Posted 10/26/2007 - 09:27:16 AM by florenz6:
 P.S. People get over-sensitive quite often, when it comes to favourite artists or beloved musical works. They take it very personal when you have a different opinion (even when there exists, in this case,Peter30, some common ground). I liked listening to the album drinking red wine and watching the Spanish skies, MIke. It´s all fine with me. At the end of the day (the weeks) it wasn´t yet a grower.I´ve read reviews in Germany and England that gave it three or two stars. It would be great if diversity would simply be accepted. It´s a good exercise against fundamentalism of all sorts. And one more word about the review: it was interesting to read it - and my full appreiciation for the last paragraph! (this is decicated to Little Matters who called Devendra Banhart "Devendra Fuckin´ Banhart" and is a great example for journalistic asshole behaviour)
Posted 10/26/2007 - 10:51:35 AM by meatbreak:
 I was totally fucking disappointed to find out Kevin Ayers drank whiskey all through the 60s and 70s, not red wine. It ruined everything. Banananomore.
Posted 10/26/2007 - 03:36:11 PM by peter30:
 Florenzo -- it is perfectly fine that you think The Unfairground quite good and comicopera a masterpiece and I am perfectly cool with that and not the least bit sensitive. Top of the Critics list two months running in Rolling Stone germany (over comicopera) disagrees with you though. As for UK 3 and 2 stars reviews? Seen them all and there are no two stars reviews, but one 3 stars (by a journalist who in another review (uncut) gave it 4 stars) and so on and so forth. At the end of the day you have your opinion, albeit rather contrary and emphatic. Fair enough. This could go back and forth so lets not bother. Agree to disagree? And Whiskey drinking Meatbreak? Where's that from?
Posted 10/26/2007 - 05:36:08 PM by florenz6:
 Karl bruckmaier (Süddutsche Zeitung) gave it **(*) stars on his website and wrote: "leider eine Katastrophe". Variety, buddy! Cheers, meatbreak. P.S. Oh no, Peter, the German Rolling Stone rated it higher - what does that mean? Nothing, at the end of the day. Never beleive in a Rolling Stone:)
Posted 10/27/2007 - 06:58:25 AM by peter30:
 florenz6, it means variety. Reading through your various posts one quickly finds that your level of argument is to call others who don't agree with you "arse holes" and "idiots". You simply can't say that high ratings for this album mean "nothing at the end of the day" when they don't agree with your view. At the end of the day I am simply (yes I admit it) a fan of Kevin Ayers who is extremely happy with his new album and delighted to see that it is receiving so many great reviews from well repected critics and publications. Your finding and holding up a negative comment from a blog seems a bit chirlish. (A search for Karl Bruckmaier Suddutsche Zeitung does not match any documents btw) I am also a big fan of Robert Wyatt. I would love to read your interview with him. Where is it published?
Posted 10/27/2007 - 07:30:55 AM by florenz6:
 ... a small error from your side, peter30: i do not at all call guys having other opinions such bad names. This may only have happened as a recation after personally offensive behaviour from , well, usual suspects:). So a "quick read" is not a good basis for your suggestions. One more for you now: the only thing you can trust, is your own ears! That´s why you don´t have to run with the traffic when many people declare their love for a record. So, f.e, I´m not a big fan of other records that have been praised this year, "M.I.A." or "Neon Bible", or "Magic". So, at the end of the morning a lot of approval means a lot of approval mean s a lot of approval... not much more. So, Peter (from Germany?): please have a slow read of my "collected responses" (I´ll see you returning here then in 30 days:)) - and don´t be so quick promoting prejudices about me calling anyone anything without having heared some arrogant offensive shit before!
Posted 10/27/2007 - 07:36:36 AM by florenz6:
 now returning to Kevin Ayers...a funny episode. When, months ago, I listened to "The Unfairground" with friends of mine in that little village near Barcelona, someone said: this reminds me of The Nits (one of my fave bands from the Netherlands). I found this comparison interesting. Actually, I would say, there are some parallels in treating melodic material.
Posted 10/27/2007 - 09:04:36 AM by florenz6:
 The dirty dozen is full: I just read Stylus Magazine will no longer be publishing after Oct. 31. Seems to be final farewell, thanks then for many good discussions and talkings, brilliant reviews (that were brilliant sometimes even if not at all concurring with my perception:)), thanks also for some really weird guys, nice guys & other music afficionados! W.C. Perry, let´s find a way to stay in contact,I would like to send you something before Christmas - best, Florenz6! Or are you just faking, Stylusmen?
Posted 10/29/2007 - 08:34:42 AM by florenz6:
 ..and, funnily enough, peter30 is PETER FRAMPTON: I knew Stylus readers would now come out of the bushes!
Posted 12/21/2007 - 01:48:24 AM by florenz6:
 hey, peter30, look at the new dition of the German Rolling Stone. The critics choice.last page Where is Robert Wyatt? Yeeess! And where´s Kevin? so: here we are, at the end of the day...