Animal Logic is the kind of band that could've existed only in the late '80s – a cross between fusion, art rock, and album rock, all blended with a slight eye on the charts. Since Stewart Copeland and Stanley Clarke provided the musical backbone of the project, there's little question that the outfit had the potential to be a dynamic exploration of the middle ground between adventurous rock and jazz.
Faded old-world flowers adorn both sides of the cover with a big strip of black grease disturbing the lovely imagery on the back. Beginning with Arthur Crudup's "My Baby Left Me," like that other band of famous backup players, the Section, how can this be anything but very musical? Guitarist/vocalist Henry McCullough's "Mistake No Doubt" has eerie backing vocals and is suitably well done, as is his "Let It Be Gone," and though this is far from commercial, it is important to have this document of the guys who made magic behind Joe Cocker in 1969 and Marianne Faithfull in the mid-'70s. This came right in the middle, and the Grease Band's collaborative effort, "Jesse James," could be mistaken for Doug Yule singing Lou Reed's "Train Comin' Round the Bend." It's got that chug-a-lug subdued rock sound. With Henry McCullough's Wings connection, The Grease Band gets a touch of the Beatles' guilt-by-association mystique. As intriguing and wonderful as this album is, had Joe Cocker guested on bassist Alan Spenner's "Down Home Mama" or had Marianne Faithfull taken on the traditional "To the Lord," there would have been that something extra, that intangible that makes records so very special.
Britain-to-Scotland transplant Sally Beamish wasn't just self-taught as an orchestral composer: you might say she learned by doing. According to her notes on this BIS release, one of a group covering her orchestral output, she had never written an orchestral piece or even studied orchestration when the city of Reykjavik, Iceland, commissioned her Symphony No. 1 in 1994. The result was a work full of unusual sonorities, rather loosely woven but constantly surprising, that drew on various features (formal and textural, not tonal) of the music of Scotland.