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The Oyster Band's second album suffers somewhat from weird, slightly claustrophobic production and a curious bloodlessness due less to a lack of energy than to a scarcity of solid melodies. These aren't completely missing: the traditional "New York Girls" and the rollicking end-of-empire anthem "Too Late Now" are both irresistible singalongs, and "Tincans" draws charmingly on English country dance music in a manner both tuneful and rhythmically propulsive. But too many other tunes, notably the meandering "Gamblers (We Do Not Do That Anymore)," the reggae-inflected but tedious "My Dog (Knows Where the Bones Are Hid)," and an inexplicable cover version of New Order's "Love Vigilantes," give the impression of a band distracted by other concerns. The best material on this program would appear later in better versions on the live album From Little Rock to Leipzig, which is a must-own for fans of British folk-rock.

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