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About Us (Remastered)

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Album Review

Compared to the band's intricate, insular debut, About Us is a completely different story altogether. No work is required of the listener on this second album by Stories, as Eddie Kramer's cinematic production gives the band definition and drama, pulling them into the leagues of such power poppers as Badfinger, the Raspberries, and Todd Rundgren. Not that Stories rocked as hard as any of those three — there's not much kinetic thrust to their rhythms or reckless abandon to their playing, not even on the boogie "Don't Ever Let Me Down" or the jokey blues of "Down Time Blooze" — but there's muscle and color to their sound on About Us; the songs leap out of the speakers and command attention, unlike the tunes on the debut which whispered and required close listening. Not that Michael Brown has abandoned his long-standing infatuation with delicate melodies, or even his fondness for McCartney-esque whimsy, but when put through the filter of Kramer's production, everything becomes bigger and bolder, to the extent that a jaunty piano instrumental, "Circles," recalls nothing so much as one of Billy Joel's ragtime tunes of the early '70s. Such moves toward the mainstream are undoubtedly why Brown bolted some time during the recording, leaving the band as the sole province of singer Ian Lloyd, but the music left behind is almost all unmistakably Brown's, as its all driven by melody and even occasionally built upon baroque keyboards. The major difference and inarguable improvement is the production, which fleshes out the songs, not only making them easier to appreciate but harder to resist, turning About Us into a minor power pop classic. Of course, the exception to the rule is the album's lone hit, a lush cover of Hot Chocolate's "Brother Louie" which suggested Stories were a blue-eyed soul AM pop band, a suggestion that the rest of the album proved unfounded, but fewer people heard the other 12 songs on this album, not just in 1973, but throughout the years, so About Us turned into a lost pop classic that even pop aficionados had to be persuaded to find. But once they were persuaded, they were often seduced by this sumptuous yet powerful pop album.

Customer Reviews

Early 70s Power Pop

If you want to know where power pop went after the Beatles shattered, some of the shards wound up in this band: Stories. There are some truly melodic and infectious gems on this album and there are a few filler pieces, but overall this album is sweet and it rocks hard. I've been enjoying their Traveling Underground record for over 20 years and I finally got around to getting this one. There's a tinge of Prog in their sound too. This is constantly active, shifting, and changing pop rock that you just can't get bored of. You'll keep coming back to it. Highly recommended.

Early AOR Gem

Good to see the REAL version of Stories' #1 smash hit "Brother Louie" here at iTunes. But this album has far more than that song. "Darling" is fantastic as is "Top Of The City", "Changes Have Begun" and "Love In Motion". But really, the entire album is superb and a must have for power pop afficionados. This album is ideal for classic rock fanatics, also. There'd be no Cheap Trick, Babys,Tubes, Starz or Romantics if there weren't early power pop acts such as Stories, Raspberries, Big Star, Artful Dodger or The Nazz. "About Us" is highly recommended. Thank you Sony-BMG and iTunes for finally getting this album here.

Serious Longevity - a classic

There are a bunch of albums which, for me, always stand the test of time, and which I purchased numerous times - vinyl, CD, iTunes, remastered, anthologies, complications, etc. and “About Us,” is one of them. I have 2 vinyl versions, 1 with, and 1 without Brother Louie. I have the songs in an anthology with the first record, etc. It just passes the test of time. The opener, “Darling,” is brilliant - the combo of the acoustic with the electric guitar, and Brown’s piano is great. Here’s how I rank it - I bought it today (again - at least the 5th time for various reasons), and bought Jethro Tull, Aqualung again, for probably the 6th time to get the latest release, remastered. This album is right up there with Tull, Zep, etc as a solid album for me.

Biography

Formed: 1972 in New York, NY

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s

Though originally helmed by onetime Left Banke mastermind Michael Brown, Stories ironically scored their lone hit, the 1973 chart-topper "Brother Louie," following Brown's exit from the lineup. After leaving Left Banke in 1967, Brown — the keyboardist who composed the group's classic "Walk Away, Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina" — cut a 1969 LP with the band Montage which closely recalled the pioneering baroque pop approach of his previous work; he then formed Stories with vocalist Ian Lloyd,...
Full Bio
About Us (Remastered), Stories
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