Andy Pratt

Fun In The First World

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Andy Pratt hit on Columbia with "Avenging Annie," a majestic and musically complex tune that Roger Daltrey failed to comprehend with his deficient cover. Pratt was one of Boston rock & roll's shining lights, but his eccentricities made for albums and musical sounds that were all over the map. If "Avenging Annie" is his signature tune, this five-song, black and white album is his finest and most compact work, and that is saying a lot. Pratt has always shared a vocal style with ex-Velvet Underground keyboard player Willie Alexander, and here the original guitarist from Willie Alexander & the Boom Boom Band, Billy Loosigian, adds his distinctive edge. "Israel" and "Paper Money" make side two much too short -- they are so inviting and philosophical that the ending is much too abrupt. Pratt's religious overtones hampered some of his earlier work on his Nemperor releases, but here he uses his beliefs and his vision to deliver an exceptional science-fiction epic in the title track. The snappy techno/dance is more direct than Falco, and more palatable than Kraftwerk. It rocks. Leroy Radcliffe's production is commendable -- Radcliffe being the former guitarist in the Modern Lovers and Robin Lane & the Chartbusters. "Burn Up in the Fire" has the mood that Pratt used to inject into his recordings with jazz; here it is rock & roll being stretched and torn apart to really fine effect. A photograph of what looks like a crucifix cut into a desert with clouds mysteriously hanging over it is a stark contrast to the Metropolis cover photo, which features a robot hand next to Pratt's stern face. "Who Will Be My Friend" is Pratt pop, stuff that made his Columbia hit album such a masterpiece, and it gives this album a much-needed break from the intensity of the other four titles. A really magnificent and forgotten work that deserves a better fate.

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