Paradise Razed

Having made such a six-cylinder cock-up of Pastor Skull, you might have thought that the band would have settled down and worked together over the next release. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. You would be wrong. The production's great. It sounds fantastic, because the band went into Trinity Heights in Newcastle, and it was engineered and mixed by Fred Purser, with no interference from the band. Nice work Fred. Where things fall down again are in the selection and arrangement of the material. There is a predominance of acoustic/piano orientated songs. Tracks like Winter's Tale and Burning Joan merely bleat where they should roar, and the overall effect is of a band trying to sound like something it thinks it ought to be. The only song which really sounds like Blyth Power is Cold War Comforts. Let's face it - what's the point of having a guitarist like John Rutherford in the band if you're not going to let him do what he does best? The bottom line is, you can't make art by committee. Don't even get us started on the bizarre history of the title and artwork. Originally it was going to be called Make Do and Mend..
Still, with Fred's production, Steve Maden's artwork, Yvette Staelens' cameo vocals, Rachel Swindlehurst's Stonehaven, and the whole band pulling together on one song at least, it was a step forward. November 1994 was when it was recorded. Teacher gives it a C+ and says we can do better. Having said that, it's still way out in front of a lot of the gubbins that you read about in the folky rags.