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Review: 'LOWERY, IAN'
'The Eye Of The Beholder'   

-  Label: 'Spectacle Music'
-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: '8th March 2019'

Our Rating:
This mini album is the final instalment in a sequence of albums cataloguing the works of former Ski Patrol/Folk Devils frontman Ian Lowery in the last decade of his life.

The first five tracks were not previously included on the albums and the last five are 'bonus' tracks of rough demos. "Bent And Rusted Crown" (alternative slow version) is the original recording of the track from 1990. It is a classic number with a real Lloyd Cole feel to it and some nice slinky guitar work.

"Son of Negative" is from the same year and is culled from marathon sessions for "Ironic". "You're just a working stiff. You're son of negative". It's kind of a country song with a fuzzy guitar lead and Ian really damns someone to hell and back on this one. Know your place!

"Victory Parade" is prime time Ian. It is warts and all, lo-fi documentary of the seedy (real) side of life but his poetic use of language lifts it to a higher echelon. "Gravity" (Kick Studios, 1993) sounds like a live recording and captures the energy of the band and their unsurpressed pleasure when nailing this track. "Juicer" tells the tale of a man who deliberately electrocutes himself by sticking his fingers in a socket. As always, this could be interpreted in many ways. Part allegory, part fable, part moral tale, or maybe just a sick story?

"Somewhere To Crash" is a very rough recording which gives it an Ultra Vivid Scene vibe mixed with Jesus and Mary Chain. "Spook" is kind of reggae meets Ian Dury recorded by a music collective known as F for Fake that recorded four tracks then split up. "Uncondition Myself" is again from a short lived band called Phantom White Limb which is mentioned in the song. It has a punk energy and a terrace chant chorus. "Empty Hours" was made while Ian was living in Edinburgh in 1993 and is simply Ian and a Portastudio, singing about the condition of being alone. It is worth buying the album just for this track which is an absolute gem and if this is a rough demo I wouldn't ever want to hear it any other way.

"Baby Monster, Baby Star" is acoustic and a lovely way to fade out on this series of albums that have been lovingly curated by Ian's brother. If you own one you should really own them all and that would be the ultimate way to remember this huge talent, sadly now gone.
  author: Leo Newbiggin

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LOWERY, IAN - The Eye Of The Beholder