Cimeron: 46 Years (Frenzy/Stebbing)

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Cimeron: 46 Years (Frenzy/Stebbing)

We've heard about famous “lost” or unreleased albums – you know, those things Neil Young keeps finding in his archive – but more rare is the release of an album that never was.

Like Cimeron's 46 Years which is the debut album from an Auckland band which never completed an album in its lifespan but now – yes, 46 years on – has one under its own name.

And we pause to note the perfect cover which looks exactly like what would have been on an album like this in 1977: the band posing slightly self-consciously around a borrowed Rolls Royce.

It's just a pity the musicians – other than mainstays and songwriters Rod and Pauline McAuley – aren't named.

The backstory (told at AudioCulture here) is a good and typical one: how Hot Ash – who recorded a single for Stebbing's Zodiac imprint – morphed into Cimeron around the McAuleys and went into Stebbing Studio in Auckland with the dream team of producer Rob Aitken and engineer Ian Morris.

Unfortunately they only released one single (It's So Easy/Take the Time) before the band and their label parted company.

And that could have been that, but more than four decades on Stebbing engineer Steve McGough was going through tapes and found an unnamed track and then a tape and . . .

Now we have 46 Years, the album that never was (plus on the vinyl two tracks from Hot Ash, one of them Feel It being an excellent slice of bouncy pop).

Like their labelmates Golden Harvest on Stebbing's Key label, Cimeron delivered catchy and enjoyable radio-friendly pop, mostly about love and relationships.

The opener If I Could I Would hits an irrepressibly upbeat point between the smart pop of Chicory Tip and Abba – with a funky wee break – and The Waiting Game with a guitar riff to the fore is a sound Doobie Brothers-like slice of MOR pop-rock. (We often forget how influential the Doobies were at the time.)

The ballads You and Me and the slightly leaden If Only pull the energy back, but the McAuleys had some interesting things to say even within the constraints of aching love songs (I Don't Need You), the simple message of It's So Easy (“to be kind, it costs you nothing”) and the more inspirational Day By Day.

As a band they could play and sing – Rob not afraid to belt out the big sound – and although this is 46 years too late, you'd have to say most of these songs would have found a place on mainstream radio.

Cimeron might be MOR but their songs are exceptional well executed on an album which even looks like it is a collector's item from '77.

Good one, a retro-pleasure and kinda shameless fun too.

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This album is available on vinyl at selected record shops, and on Spotify here



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