Al Stewart's third album wasn't much different from the territory he had claimed, with reasonable success, on his prior effort, Love Chronicles. Narrative tales of romance and experience, sometimes third-person and sometimes autobiographical, set the mood, complemented by mild folk-rock arrangements and Stewart's warm yet bemused voice. A few placid folk guitar instrumentals break up the involved, lengthy vocal tracks. The best cut is "Electric Los Angeles Sunset," which puts Stewart's eye for locale-based storytelling to more forceful use than it had ever been previously heard, detailing the grim side of the city rather than its glamorous one. "Manuscript" was also an important work in its focus upon past history and its effects on various characters, an approach that would within a few years become prevalent in Stewart's work. Trevor Lucas and Gerry Conway of Fotheringay were among the backup players. ~ Richie Unterberger
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