Panoramic views and side-street scenes;
Fancy clubs and slick black limousines;
Not knowing what he does
The mailman brings "postcard love."
"Hi, how the hell have you been?
It's such a long, long time."
Thought its signed with love,
You know it's just a friendly touch;
I bet she hopes you're feeling fine.
Postcard love is all you'll ever get from her...
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Album Review: If you like song-oriented progressive-rock albums with glossy production, great playing, intriguing lyrics, and a mild jazzy tinge, Listen Now is the CD for you. The title track, "Listen Now," features a beautiful blend of guitar, sax, drums, and laid-back, layered vocals. It manages to be warm musically but slightly chilling lyrically. That sets the tone for the story of this concept album, a sojourn through a somewhat bleak future-world that
begins with promise but ultimately leads to disappointment. The music on Listen Now, however, is anything but disappointing. The two mainstays of the band 801, Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno, both play on this album, and it's the finest work of either of their illustrious careers. The players also include Kevin Godley and Lol Creme (who would later form the super-slick modern-rock band Godley & Creme). Most of the songs
feature lyrics and singing by the very able Simon Ainley, but the album also includes several excellent instrumental pieces, including "Island," which starts out with soft Manzanera guitar work but bursts out into a very memorable musical hook. About half-way into the album, "City of Light" begins the concept's slide into its darker regions; but the song is also the kick-off of some of the album's most remarkable songs. While
different musically, "City of Light" shares some thematic kinship with Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine." "Postcard Love," which is perhaps the best track on the album, is a wistful, aching look at unrequited romantic feelings. The album concludes with "Falling Feeling," which, true to its title, takes our psyches down, down, down, while the superb music still allows a satisfying "wow" at the end. There is something
very sci-fi-feeling about Listen Now—sort of like "Bladerunner" set to progressive rock. That's not quite an apt description, but you get the idea. Regardless of imperfect analogies, this album is a nearly perfect prog-rock masterpiece.