Slapp Happy / Henry Cow

Desperate Straights

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

A surprising team-up at the time of its release (1975), Desperate Straights is a surprisingly melodic album, light on the art-school angst and heavy on the playfulness, which one would hardly expect from such determined socialists as these. But here it is: "Some Questions About Hats" sounds like a Kurt Weill outtake, "A Worm Is at Work" gallops along with a sweet tune. Dagmar Krause remains restrained and not given to flights of horrible fancy. "Strayed" is reminiscient of Kevin Ayers' brand of art rock, and most of the songs clock in under two minutes. But never fear: the album ends on the eight-minute "Caucasian Lullaby," a minimal woodwind piece that suddenly bursts into one last jab of Krause-ian despair.

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