Too Many Crooks

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Incredibly, Unicorn were on the road with Hawkwind when their third album hit the streets -- incredibly, because it is difficult to think of two bands that existed at more extreme ends of the period rock spectrum. But the blending worked, as Unicorn's subtly countrified, folky-edged mantras fed the heads of the Hawkwind faithful with many of the same acoustic energies that fired the headliner's most evocative dreams. And, besides, who wouldn't admire a band like Unicorn, a quintessentially English folk-rock act that just happened to have collided with a love for American country rock, and wound up creating a hybrid that still sounds remarkable today? Widely regarded as Unicorn's finest album (a horrible disservice to Blue Pine Trees, but no matter), Too Many Crooks opens with the near-frenetic energy of "Weekend," and continues on through a greater number of rockers than either of its predecessors. It's a double-edged sword; the power of the band's earlier albums was their ability to turn up the heat without increasing the volume. But moments like the semi-protracted fade of "Ferry Boat," and the almost-funky flirting of "Disco Dancer" are certainly audience-pleasers in waiting, while "No Way Out of Here" impressed producer David Gilmour so much that he covered it for inclusion on his first solo album. Remastered in 2009, with a bonus B-side added to the fun, Too Many Crooks is a great album. But really, you could say that for everything Unicorn ever did.

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