Friends and Lovers
(Creation / Columbia)

BERNARD BUTLER: Friends and Lovers (Creation / Columbia)Ok, the year is still young, but I've gotta say--this is one of the best rock/pop CDs I've heard so far this year. Ex-Suede frontman, Bernard Butler combines pop sensibility with killer hooks, great guitar work, and sweet harmonies to produce his best effort to date. The title track gets things off to a great start. This is one of those rare songs that sound familiar the first time you hear it, and it doesn't get old after you've heard it a dozen times. "I'd Do it Again If I Could" is another track in the pop/rock vein, and "Cocoon" just gets better every time you hear it. There aren't many ballads on the disc, but of those, two of the better ones are "No Easy Way Out" and the haunting "Precious." The best track on Friends and Lovers is the epic "Has Your Mind Got Away?" With its heavy Pink Floyd guitar influence, this is another track that makes a lasting impression. As the disc winds to a close, you hear the sweet sound of vinyl leading into the last track, the beautiful "You Feel It When Your Mine"--a perfect ending to a great disc. If you're into guitar driven modern rock, it doesn't get much better than this.

© 2000 Steve Marshall

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