Throw Down the Reins

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Yeah, I know. The cover sucks. Absolute worst cover I’ve seen on a record in ages. Just appallingly abhorrent. But, hey, when’s the last time you looked at the cover of the Velvet Underground’s Loaded? Which is exactly the point because Panurge’s Throw Down The Reins is every bit as good
as Loaded is, in its own unassuming way.

Now if you’re still with me after reading that bombshell assessment, you’ll be glad to know that things only get better because, more to the point, this is also the greatest album that Kevin Ayers never recorded. If you’ve ever wondered what a new Kevin Ayers album would sound like in 2004, expertly arranged by John Cale at his most inspired and artfully produced by Eno at his synth-swirling best, then you’re going to enjoy this record immensely.

Best of all, I like this record’s heartfelt sincerity because I’m willing to bet that these Panurgers wouldn’t know a Kevin Ayers song if it were standing in a bucket next to them. But the pervasive spirit present is unmistakably his.

So if you ever liked what Ayers, Cale, and Eno were capable of producing at the height of their powers, then do yourself a favor and go out and buy this modern pop masterpiece now. Not only will it transport you to another time and another place, it’ll put a big smile on your face — and that’s something we could all use a lot more of these days.

So what are you waiting for? The 30th anniversary of the Ayers-Cale-Eno work on June 1, 1974?

E-mail Jeffrey Morgan at letters@metrotimes.com.

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