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A Street Called Straight
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  • As Jeff Eubank happily made clear in the reissue liner notes to his sole album from 1983, the music on A Street Called Straight comes from all over the place, a meld of popular music of all stripes in the '60s that fed into his own smoothly sung folk-rock. It's perhaps appropriate that the album sounds like a mix of two similarly minded contemporaries who also had cult releases-level: Mick Stevens' polished compositions over in England and Bobb Trimble's stately strangeness in New England. A song like "For Your Return" shows both sides of Eubank in full, as a queasy-sounding treatment on his guitar floats strangely behind his upfront, mournful singing, itself suddenly interrupted and then matched by his own overdubbed backing. The dark undertow and Pink Floyd-tinged space rock pace of "Kamikaze Pilot" adds an unnerving atmosphere that is all the more effective for coming out of nowhere; the space rock vibe carries over into "Summersong" as a ghostly sample of sorts, mixed with the found-sound street-level opening of the latter track, it provides a simple but sharp touch. Eubank's singing is definitely of a certain time and place -- performers like Dan Fogelberg and Dan Hill are just two similar contemporaries -- and there's a sense of just how out of place he would have sounded in the music scene of 1983. Meantime, more than a few songs, like "Inside," are notable only their clean sound and focus: the antithesis of the freak folk stereotype. Then again, Eubank will switch gears and offer up the demented Chipmunk alien opening of "Earthian Children" or the lovely falsettos and sweet, strange synths of "Seventeen on the Planet" so perhaps it's just a matter of letting his hair down. ~ Ned Raggett
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