Strange Kind of Love

Strange Kind of Love
U.S. Mercury/Polygram press release.

On their second Mercury/Polygram LP, Strange Kind of Love, Scotland's Love and Money fulfill the promise of their 1986 debut, All You Need Is..., delivering an impressive set that combines the band's melodic sophistication with the lyrical ingenuity of singer/songwriter James Grant. Strange Kind of Love is already a major critical success in the U.K., where Sounds praised it as "a beguiling mixture of sleek approach and warm emotion" and New Musical Express commented that Grant "as well as being the world's best pop guitarist, is also no slouch when it comes to a pop tune." A cursory listen to such seductively soulful tracks as "Halleluiah Man" (which is accompanied by a filmed-in-Japan video), "Joycelyn Square," "Shape of Things to Come" and "Axis of Love" makes it easy to understand why the critics are raving.

Grant himself views Strange Kind of Love as an quantum leap for Love and Money. He and the band, with renowned American producer Gary Katz (best known for his classy work with Steely Dan), recorded the LP at a studio in the heart of New York's Times Square. "On the first record, I tended to blurt things out or skirt around them instead of cutting to the heart of the matter," the band leader admits. "With this record, I was able to choose a subject and completely dissect it, really get across what I was trying to say. We tried to make everything come outwards from the lyrics, and I think there's a lot more atmosphere because of that.

"Gary was very good at getting the best performances out of everyone. He kept asking us if we were happy with it, instead of forcing us to do what he thought was right."

Katz was similarly enthused about the project. "It was a great experience for me," the producer says, "and I really enjoyed working with the band. James has matured a great deal as an artist, and the band's musicality was inspiring to be around.

"When James first sat down and played me the songs on his acoustic guitar," Katz continues, "I saw that he was a much better guitar player than I had realized, so I let him know that I wanted to make this a much more guitar-oriented record than the first one, and to use more harmonies and dynamics."

Love and Money arose from the breakup of Grant's acoustically-flavored group Friends Again, which included keyboardist Paul McGeechan. With bassist Bobby Paterson and now-departed drummer Stuart Kerr, Love and Money emerged as Glasgow's hottest new combo. That group made their first substantial splash in Britain and the U.S. with the Tom Dowd-produced LP All You Need Is..., which featured the hit "Candybar Express."

Now, despite the group's initial success and their refreshing new musical direction, James Grant's matter-of-fact attitude towards his work remains striking. "The only plans I have are to keep writing more songs and making more records. Those are the only ambitions I have, I don't worry about becoming a millionaire. Strange Kind of Love is not the be-all and end-all of Love and Money. There are many more good records to come."

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