Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nazareth - Sound Elixir

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Sound Elixir, the fourteenth studio album from the Scottish rock band Nazareth. It charted at number 52 in Germany and number 8 in Norway.

The band’s line up for this 1983 release was Pete Agnew (bass and vocals), Manny Charlton (guitar), Dan McCafferty (lead vocals), Billy Rankin (guitar, vocals, keyboards), and Darrell Sweet (drums and percussion).

Side one opens with “All Nite Radio”. This ode to after-hours airwave listening has a variety of musical elements (a pounding beat, intriguing guitar riffs, and more) that represent the freedom late night dee-jays had with their play lists.

“Milk and Honey”, a song about America‘s history with the natives, embraces more of an 80’s sound with the use of synthesizers.

“Whippin’ Boy” is a song about a teen that has had enough of his parents’ blame and decides to hop the next freight out of town.

“Rain on the Window” tricks you in that it sounds like it will start as a slow ballad, but it shifts quickly into a steadier up-tempo groove. It brings to mind windshield wipers that start out intermittent during a slower mist but then have to be kicked up as the rain grows heavier. The lyrics are a man at a cross-road, trying to make a decision how to move forward.

“Backroom Boys” is a bouncy tune about guys gambling in secret. Of the five on the first side, this one is definitely my favorite; I just find it to have a fun energy to it.

Side two begins with “Why Don’t You Read a Book”, a song that suggests that a naïve person think before they act. I found this one to have a catchy rhythm.

“I Ran” winds along on a simmering, mellow groove.

“Rags to Riches” is kind of interesting in that, lyrically, it talks about a downfall even though the title implies a reverse order. It could be one of those “be careful what you wish for” scenarios.

I like how “Local Still” as a bit of a Southern American blues vibe to it, but it has a Scottish folk thread woven through it as well. The mix really works for me.

The album closes with the question “Where Are You Now”. It is the musings of a depressed guy who wonders what has become of his former love.

Nazareth maintains a solid rock stance on Sound Elixir. Prior to this review, I do not believe I had heard any of the tracks. However, I certainly liked what I heard. If you are looking for this one on CD, it was re-mastered in 2011 on a double-disk release with the band’s 1982 album 2XS (it is available on as an import).

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