The Strawbs

Deep Cuts

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After credibly reinventing themselves with the previous year's "Nomadness," and this album sent the band into a downward spiral. Starting with the embarrassing soft pop of "I Only Want My Love to Grow in You" and the limp arena posturing of "Turn Me Round," and ending with the unforgivably sappy "So Close and Yet So Far Away," Deep Cuts finds the Strawbs stumbling into banal lyrics and ill-judged attempts at mainstreaming their sound. Not every song is a dud: "Beside the Rio Grande" revives the epic sound and moral outrage of "Grave New World" in its tale of a frontier minister's grisly religious martyrdom, and the pleasant strumming of "Thinking of You" soft-shoes its way through a music-hall love song. If anything, though, these few successes heighten the sense of wasted talent in the rest of the album.

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