CD Rock Review

Audience’s Lunch/The House On The Hill

Title: Lunch/The House On The Hill

Label: Esoteric

An art-rock outfit from Britain, resident on the Charisma label, who enjoyed using acoustic guitar and sax as part of their arrangements, Audience were formed in London in 1969 by singer/guitarist Howard Werth, saxophonist Keith Gemmell, bassist Trevor Williams, and percussionist Tony Connor.

Esoteric has released two separate albums that have been lumped together here on this CD.

Arguably their best album, House on the Hill was released in 1971 and benefits from its direct nature and jazz/folk/blues vibe. There is plenty of energy on offer which hits you squarely in the face with the first track, Jackdaw, helped by Howard Werth’s distinctive vocals. The introduction of flute, woodwind hypnotics and vibraphone adds an eclectic twist to the presentation.

Other tracks such as You’re Not Smiling is a great sing-along piece while the gospel-infused I Had A Dream is also notable.

This edition includes three bonus tracks, the single mix of You’re Not Smiling, Indian Summer and the promotional radio version of Your Not Smiling.

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The next album released by the band, Lunch (1972) immediately tips a wink to the previous album with Stand By The Door which has the harmonic flavour of You’re Not Smiling. The album is a rather patchy affair from there on in. Hula Girl is ‘Audience by numbers’ while Ain’t The Man You Need is rather blues-rock like in tone. No, scratch that, think a blues tinged, pop-era Supertramp and you might be nearer the truth. Not a bad album but, if you go into the LP expecting a honest-to-goodness prog outing then you may be a little bit disappointed. Supertramp and (with that distinct vocal) Family fans might find it of more interest.

The album also includes three tracks on this expanded edition including Grief And Disbelief, Hard Cruel World and Elixir of Youth

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