In 2014, a fine reissue was released of the debut album (see review) made by the British band Quantum Jump. Their eponymous album was originally released in 1976. Lead singer and keyboard player Rupert Hine, guitarist Mark Warner, bass player John G. Perry and drummer Trevor Morais created on this release a sound which was a hybrid of fusion, progressive rock, funk and jazz rock. One year later they came up with their second album, titled Barracuda. This got a reissue one year after their debut was rereleased. This time even an 2CD remastered and expanded edition could be welcomed. This expanded edition also includes a booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and features a new essay and interview with Rupert Hine.
Compared to their debut, the line up wasn't exactly the same anymore. Mark Warner was replaced on guitar by guest Paul Keogh (Dana Gillespie, Alan Price, Kiki Dee). Other guest musicians included Geoffrey Richardson on guitar and viola (Caravan), vocalist Elkie Brooks (Vinegar Joe) and members of the Penguin Café Orchestra. Also music wise the album moves more towards to funk than to fusion, progressive rock and jazz rock-meaning the album sounded to me more commercial than its predecessor. However, the musical quality of the talented musicians is still present throughout the entire album. Hine's Mini Moog parts and Richardson's viola parts lift the music several times to a higher level giving the compositions a progressive rock touch. As for the extra tracks that are included on the first disc, it is interesting to hear the band's version of Lovin 'Spoonful's Summer In The City. It has certainly more rhythm than the original version. It is followed by Take Me To The Void Again. A non-album track that can be heard in the 'Work-in-progress Mix'. It contains the same kind of music as is included on the original album. The last two tracks Don t' Look Now and Barracuda are 1979 remixes of the original album versions-tracks which appeared for the first time on the band's album Mixing. This album was released in 1979 with remixed tracks of earlier released compositions.
The second disc is more interesting for the progressive rock lover I guess. The band's full live show from BBC Radio One "In Concert" features several tracks from the band's debut and therefore music-wise more interesting. In these live sessions Roye Albrighton (Nektar) played the guitar parts. They open with the somewhat funky like No American Starship (Looking For The Next World, while Over Rio, in a somewhat similar pace, follow the previous song. The single The Lone Ranger from their debut is introduced in a playful manner. Besides the concert for the BBC there are four extra tracks included on the second disc. The album opener (Oh My Lord) Don't Look Now on the first disc can be heard in the single version which was previously unreleased. Also included is the single B-side namely Love Crossed (Like Vines In Our Eyes). The last two tracks Blue Mountain (Aloha Green Sea) and Neighbours (Limbo Cottage) have again the 1979 remixed versions of the original songs which of course for the first time appeared on the already mentioned Mixing album.
In every way was Barracuda for me personally music-wise a lesser album to the band's debut. Maybe the band's sound was more original compared to the songs written for their first release. No longer is there the sense of a band building songs around borrowed styles. And perhaps most striking of all is Rupert Hine's newly discovered sense of how the recording studio could be used as an instrument in itself, thus launching himself on what would prove to be a highly lucrative career as a producer. He went on to become the producer of more than 100 albums for artists as varied as Tina Turner, Chris de Burgh, The Thompson Twins, Stevie Nicks, Rush, The Waterboys, Suzanne Vega, Saga, The Fixx and Howard Jones.
The addition of the second disc certainly gave me more listening pleasure and this resulted in an overall score to the positive side. All in all it was great to hear the two original albums released by this nowadays relatively obscure band. Maybe Quantum Jump was in those days ahead of its time and could have gained a lot more success if it came out today for the first time.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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