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High Land, Hard Rain

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iTunes Review

Scotland's Aztec Camera made their vinyl debut when their leader—singer/songwriter Roddy Frame—was only 16 years old. By the time of AC’s debut album, Frame was a veteran all of 18 years old. Yet there’s nothing immature or unrealized on this near-perfect album of guitar pop. Frame’s youth only ensured an energy and optimism that can’t be faked. That High Land, Hard Rain is such a bona fide classic just forced endless comparisons to it throughout the band’s later career. Orange Juice, Scritti Politti, The Smiths, and Prefab Sprout were Aztec Camera's only contemporaries working at this level; each had their own idiosyncratic approach, making all of them the stronger for it. Here, from the opening excitement of “Oblivious,” it’s apparent that great things await. All fans have their preferences. “The Boy Wonders,” “Walk Out to Winter,” “Pillar to Post," and “Lost Outside the Tunnel” all feature a lyrically and texturally rich aesthetic sense. Guitars jangle in layers, rhythms shift into unexpected angles, and joyous and somber moods speak of romanticism grand and sad.

Customer Reviews

Pure joy!

Ahhh, those halcyon days at University - beautiful, passionate energy, fueled by Orange Juice, Everything But The Girl, Scrittii Politti, Fairground Attraction, the Housemartins, the Smiths, and Aztec Camera - pure, unadulterated joy!

Thank you, iTunes!


Nearly had to bust out the turntable & vinyl to hear this album. I've been watching iTunes for a while to see if this excellent album had finally been added and lo and behold it had!

Not a bad song on this quintessential 80's alt-pop album! Brings back such great memories. Thanks for adding!

Has it been that long ago...

Yes, I guess it has. Yet, it's the type of album that takes you back to the time of its release and all the things that were going on (or not) in your life. Simply a very good album.


Formed: 1980 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Aztec Camera was the brainchild of Roddy Frame, a Scottish songwriter and vocalist whose precocious talent -- he was still in his teens when the band cut their acclaimed debut album, High Land, Hard Rain -- earned the band a loyal cult following. With Frame's knack for catchy, upbeat melodies and wordplay that often invited comparisons to Elvis Costello, Aztec Camera became a major critical favorite in the U.K. and the U.S., even as the band went through frequent personnel changes. Aztec Camera...
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