Curved Air's fourth album featured a very different lineup and is considered by many a weaker effort. Of course, it does not have the bombast of Phantasmagoria (Francis Monkman's classical touch is cruelly missed), but it still has its share of strong moments. By 1973, only singer Sonja Kristina remained of the original members, but her voice suffices to keep the flame burning. She and bassist Mike Wedgewood, introduced with the previous LP, are joined by drummer Jim Russell, guitarist Gregory Kirby, and an 18-year-old violinist/keyboardist by the name of Eddie Jobson. "The Purple Speed Queen," a decent light psychedelic rock song, became one of the group's best-known tracks, and the ten-minute "Metamorphosis" still ranks high among the classic tracks of British progressive rock (here Jobson comes very close to Monkman's virtuosity at the piano). Side two of the original LP comprised a string of more straightforward rock numbers in the vein of Babe Ruth. Less striking, it pictured a group trying to widen its audience without sounding convinced it was the right thing to do. The album closer, "Easy," a lusher ballad, was nonetheless a good song. The only LP released by this lineup and the only Curved Air album with Jobson on it (he would join Roxy Music right after its completion), Air Cut is mostly remembered for introducing the future member of UK, Jethro Tull, and many other prog rock-related bands. ~ Franois Couture
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