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Unavailable / Love on the Wire
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  • BGO's 2013 double-disc set pairs Clover's two slick pub rock records of 1977: Love on the Wire and Unavailable. If ever a band's discography cleaves neatly into two halves, it's Clover's. The first two records -- combined on a Real Gone two-fer from 2012 -- were thoroughly steeped in San Franciscan hippie rock, patchouli-scented jams spiked with a bit of boogie. The two albums here, recorded after Clover skipped across the Atlantic in hopes of cashing in on the burgeoning pub rock revolution, are considerably tighter and slicker, the emphasis on songs and soul, not extended jams. Although there are hints of laid-back grooves and the barest suggestions of roots rock, both of these are straight-ahead mainstream rock LPs; the closest cousins they have in the pub rock world are Ace's expertly smooth Five-A-Side, the final poptastic Brinsley Schwarz LP, and naturally, Elvis Costello's debut, which featured Clover as the backing band. Unavailable is the weaker of the two LPs featured here, its production just a bit too hazy, the songs a bit sillier (although "Oh Se¤orita" on Love on the Wire is the silliest of them all), but Love on the Wire is a punchy, tuneful artifact that is the best LP Clover made. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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