These two albums by Roddy Frame's Aztec Camera are mirror images of one another, and it's a beautiful thing that they are compiled here together by Wounded Bird, though neither has been remastered. The former, Love, was produced by none other than Tommy LiPuma and Russ Titleman! The players were not the young Scotts and Brits on his earlier recordings but Yankee session musicians. The album was greeted with indifference and scorn in American quarters where it was aimed to score, but was received beautifully on the other side of the pond. Listening to it now, it fares a bit better because of Frame's unassuming baritone that delivers gently and unhurriedly no matter what he's singing. So, when he takes a direction towards solid dance-pop it's still slightly skewed: check out the white-boy soul in "How Men Are" and "Working in a Goldmine." The latter album, Stray, issued in 1990, three full years later, was a return to form for Frame. He dug deep for his own brand of pop song and came up with a very diverse recording, not focused on any one theme, but with some truly stunning cuts, particularly on the last half of the album in "Notting Hill Blues," "The Gentle Kind," and "Song for a Friend." This baby is spotty but well worth it.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek