The Strawbs

Deadlines

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Complete with a new drummer, a new producer, and an image overhaul courtesy of Hipgnosis, Deadlines upped the Strawbs' investment in overproduced electric rock. Too bad their real strength all along was in the idiosyncratic merging of restrained rock and acoustic English folk. Though their sound is marginally improved over their previous album, by this release they both failed to gain new fans and had long lost their old ones, and their subsequent dissolution was unsurprising. The vultures are already circling over the opening track: despite a reasonably catchy tune, "No Return" is badly marred by Cousins' shockingly hoarse vocals. "The Last Resort" does achieve the propulsive guitar progressions that were now bringing acclaim to Dire Straits, and "Joey and Me" and "Deadly Nightshade" are both fairly compelling, but Dave Lambert's reliance on arena-friendly electric guitar riffs strips these songs of the acoustic subtlety that might have made them worthy of the Strawbs' older work.

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