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Sugar Candy Taxi

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Album Review

"I see this record as a return to roots, as a heartfelt blast from the soul," writes Coyne in the liner notes. That's an overdone sentiment when it comes to artists promoting their latest album, but in this case it is correct. With the exception, oddly, of the title cut, which has a mainstream flavor to the arrangement that seems to have been designed with picking up some airplay or something, the production is usually spare. And that is the context in which Coyne best shines, when his scratchy voice (made scratchier by age) and jagged guitar are at the forefront. (Auteurish artists such as Coyne are never made better by more production.) By the time he repeats "maybe I'm paranoid" throughout the second track, "Porcupine People," you know the eccentric, quasi-disturbed Coyne is back in town. Coyne's extemporized-sounding lyrics are usually witty and occasionally gripping, sometimes getting into territory — fooling around with "My Wife's Best Friend," the deranged despair of "Normal Man" — that will unsettle those who want music to soothe rather than provoke. Although much of this is the minimal folky art rock that typified his early '70s work, some care is taken for stylistic variety, as in the wheezy flutes that dance in the background of "Porcupine People, the free jazzy piano and sax of "Rusting Away," or the almost avant-garde gospel of the a cappella voices on "Little White Arms."


Born: 27 January 1944 in Derby, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Many singer/songwriters have been more heralded, but few produced more good work or did so for longer than Kevin Coyne. While virtually unknown in America, Coyne released dozens of records, most of them very good, that dealt primarily with outsiders: men, women, and children arbitrarily shunted to the fringes of society, or worse, locked away and left alone. His songs could be extraordinarily compassionate and, in the blink of an eye, angry, anguished, and accusatory. Perhaps the most durable and...
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Sugar Candy Taxi, Kevin Coyne
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