Aztec Camera’s 1987 album Love is perhaps the band’s least loved by critics. But while certainly not the band’s strongest effort, Love gets played frequently on my iPod. Fronted by Scottish singer-songwriter Roddy Frame, Aztec Camera offers a unique sound; I haven’t really come across anything similar to the band’s blend of light guitar sound, alt-rock sensibility and smart lyrics. And like I wrote before, it is an amazing album for a breezy summer afternoon!
The songs on Love are probably less quirky or striking than the ones on their debut album High Land, Hard Rain – but the music is sweet, light and pleasant. Roddy Frame’s understated but tasteful guitar solos are highlighted in many of the better songs. Production sounds a bit sterile as 1980s pop tends to, but is not over-produced like their 2nd album Knife (which was produced by Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler). Somewhere In My Heart – the rocking hit single that made me a fan of Aztec Camera and Roddy Frame – is still one of my favourite tracks by the band. Other outstanding titles include medium paced ballads Deep Wide and Tall, How Men Are, More Than A Law, and Killermont Street.
Love failed to transform Aztec Camera into a major pop rock act as it was undoubtedly supposed to. But it nonetheless delivers an excellent collection of tender and smart love songs. Highly recommended.