AZTEC CAMERA — High Land, Hard Rain

Album: High Land, Hard Rain

Artist: Aztec Camera

Label: Domino

Release Date: March 25, 2014

Aztec Camera 3-25

www.dominorecordco.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

It would have been easy to simply dismiss Aztec as a footnote to Brit pop history, seemingly innocuous such as they were. Led by the budding guitar wunderkind Roddy Frame, they set a high mark in the early to mid ‘80s with a series of impervious albums that were effortlessly entertaining but ultimately deemed somewhat slight, lacking the gravitas that made them worthy of heavy weight consideration. Thirty years on, that assessment may or may not change, but retrospect does bring a renewed appreciation for their craft that may not have fully resonated the first time around.

Appropriately then, this expanded reissue of Hard Land, Hard Rain, arguably the band’s reigning masterpiece, deserves reconsideration, thanks to the bounty of songs that became cornerstones of Frame’s musical legacy. The impossibly infectious “Oblivious ,” “Walk Out to Winter,” “Pillar to Post,” and “Back on Board” — each represented here in multiple versions courtesy of a second disc boasting bonus tracks — are so breezily elegant they could form a lingering lesson on how exquisite pop rock might be modelled when just the right combination of care and craft is applied. And if some of the songs seem to show more constraint, the exercise in subtlety is still well worth the experience.

With this supremely supple and joyous display of early innocence and promise, Aztec Camera showed they already come into their own.

DOWNLOAD: “Oblivious,” “Walk Out to Winter,” “Pillar to Post”

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