The first four tracks of Family's Anyway were recorded at Croydon's Fairfield Hall, and while their sound throughout these songs is messy, overly loud, and remarkably bottom-heavy, their is an emitted energy that would change Family's persona from this point on. Aside from the piano, violin, and drum barrages, Roger Chapman's vocals are simply electrifying, even with a voice that sounds slightly stretched and flattened. It was these four cuts that transformed Family's sound into something that audiences other than their cult following could adhere to. The eight minutes of "Good News -- Bad News" and the sharply written "Holding the Compass" are testimony to what the band was transforming into. And, while the studio tracks weren't as boisterous, they were indeed rough, especially the title track and the modernized feel of "Part of the Load," sounding slightly ahead of its time. Poli Palmer's percussion work is both resounding and highly inventive, as is his flute playing, taking drumming duties away from Jim King. While many critics dismiss this album, it was the first real release that merged Chapman comfortably with the band's bizarre instrumental outcrops that actually stuck. Sure, the music is off-center and follows no precise direction at times, but this is what Chapman needed in order to find a home for his quavering voice. While albums like Bandstand, It's Only a Movie, and the earlier Family Entertainment have received greater praise, Anyway's abrasiveness is just as relevant.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne