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St Vitus Dance: Bystanders

Reviewed By: Anthony Strutt
Label: Probe Plus
Format: CD

'Bystanders' is the third album from the Liverpool-based Irish band St Vitus Dance, which is fronted by Noel Burke, who stepped into Ian McCulloch's shoes for six years in 1987 when he didn't want to be a Bunnyman any more.

'Gospel Oak' is a catchy pop number, with a 'Revolver'-style edge and a little bit of a Byrds- like country vibe. 'St John's Garden's is softer and again has a country vibe. It is like Johnny Cash on a sad trip, but is as catchy as Aztec Camera, or the softer moments of Neil Young.

'Circumstances' is funky in a 1970's way, a gentle toe tapper. 'Landslide' is as gentle as sparkling water,but has a fizz about it, like a decent walk on a summer sunshine-filled day. 'A Lot to Learn' again has that summer sunshine vibe to it, but it also has a cool swagger to the tune in itss engine.

'Great Divide' has more of a mood to it. Sad strings give it more pain, which add joy to the final journey. Soft psychedelic organ edges the tune on, giving it a somewhat Tindersticks like-landscape.

'Trojan Security' has a strong lead vocal and acoustic guitar work, aginst which the band harmonise perfectly. 'Prester John' is much like the Byrds but in a more psychedelic, mystical way.

'Devil May Care' is almost a Saturday night sing-a-long, but much more country and soul flavoured. It ends with 'Leaning', which has a strong story and is much more eerie than the other tracks. Neil's vocal that holds its audience, and it has great instrumentation including Bunnymen-like guitar which holds its notes well.

A good, solid album all around

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