Aztec Camera – High Land, Hard Rain
In the early Eighties there was a tiny new wave of intelligent new bands singing often beautiful and soulful pop songs; Prefab Sprout, Deacon Blue and my favourite Aztec Camera. Led by singer and guitarist Roddy Frame and drummer David Mulholland they released High land, Hard Rain in 1983 – the title I think refers to their native Scotland. The album was only a minor hit, but established them as a new force – part pop and part indie (though that label was hardly known back then). The album opens on the high note of ‘Oblivious’ and contains such gems as ‘Pillar to post’ and ‘Walk Out To Winter’, and my favourite, the melancholy ‘The Bugle Sounds Again’. They released six albums over 12 years before Roddy went solo, where his records were more infrequent and sold less well. They seemed to be unaffected by fame or the demands of the ‘Pop’ business and always retained their gentle blend of well-crafted songs and an immaculate sound. I still play them.