Latin Quarter

Mick and Caroline

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    8
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When Latin Quarter released their debut album, Modern Times, in 1986, it was so musically diverse, it seemed to be a compilation of several different bands. When Mick and Caroline was released the following year, the band was essentially the same, but their different approaches began to melt together, making this album more cohesive, if not as interesting. Late-'80s pop once again mixed with world rhythms and socially charged lyrics (courtesy of lyricist Mike Jones), creating a sound that could have made a commercial impact had it not been for the inability to pigeonhole the band into a clear musical genre. "I (Together)," "Freight Elevator," "Burn Again," and "Nomzamo (One People, One Cause)" are obvious standouts, but the most touching track is the closer, "The Men Below," an eye-opening look at a miner's life. As on their debut, vocalist/guitarist Steve Skaith crafted nice melodic beds for Jones' lyrics to lie upon, sometimes resting but usually tossing and turning their way into the listener's head. Even when Skaith hands the vocals over to Carol Douet and Yona Dunsford, the lyrics are never less than poignant and thought-provoking. Not as enjoyable as their debut, this still stands head and shoulders above most releases from 1987.

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