Quantum Jump - Barracuda

Quantum Jump – Barracuda

This review may seem well overdue, given that my review of Quantum Jump’s self-titled debut was published in January. Esoteric did not have Barracuda in stock at the time. Fortunately though, there has been a re-pressing (is it called a pressing when it’s a CD?) and TPA is lucky enough to reap the rewards. Or I am, at least.

I was primarily interested in hearing this album simply because I found myself loving the first, but there were other reasons; I’d read a review somewhere indicating that this was a less commercially-friendly, more progressive album than Quantum Jump. This advertisement had me itching to hear Barracuda. Unfortunately, I was about to find out that not only was Barracuda arguably not even as ‘progressive’ as the first album, but that the band’s commercial sensibilities had actually been one of my favourite things about the group.

Barracuda is an unusual departure from the debut, although there are tell-tale signs of Quantum Jump’s fun-loving Americanised style to be found on this album. The most recognisable (and indeed enjoyable) tunes are the opener Don’t Look Now, with layered vocals adding to the cool lounge-pop feel, and the more rock-oriented affair Starbright Park, replete with brass and violin parts. Departures from the band’s original style include the atmospheric title track, played at a pace so slow one might feel it has been playing for an hour, but not mind.

Once again, side two is devoted to the ‘odder’ tunes. Love Crossed (Like Vines in Our Eyes) feels as if it should have been a four minute throwaway track (rather like the single B-side version of this song to be found on Disc 2), but instead outstays its welcome as the longest track on the album at nearly seven minutes. Blue Mountain (Aloha Green Sea) shows a quieter, meeker side of the band that still has all of the melody of their other output. Neighbours (Limbo Cottage) on the other hand is closer to the laid back spacey feel of Barracuda, this time with a nightmarish story unfolding in the lyrics.

So why the huge shift in tone? Marco Rossi explains in the liner notes that this was down to the departure of guitar virtuoso Mark Warner, causing the band to shift their writing style to a time before he had arrived. Curiously, Hine’s own thoughts on the album seem to coincide with mine in a crucial way, so much so that I feel like including an excerpt of his quote from the notes:-

“The first album felt like one homogeneous record, and it felt like all four players absolutely equally contributed, so I love it because I hear that kind of democracy. With Barracuda, I hear the lust for change, but not successfully completed. I hear it changing. Love Crossed (Like Vines in Our Eyes) is so close to being something good… and it is something good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so close to being something, perhaps I should say great. I suppose it was on its way to a different kind of music that formed my career and all came together in Immunity, the next record.”

I have to disagree that Love Crossed (Like Vines in Our Eyes) is something good, but I can absolutely agree that the whole album has a very transitional feel. Even the first album had that sort of feel, and it’s as if we never really heard Quantum Jump for what they truly were at any point. It’s a good advertisement for 1981’s Immunity though!

This reissue comes packed with goodies! At nearly two hours it’s a double CD affair, with a full 37 minute Radio One recorded concert on disc two featuring special guest Roye Albrighton who sadly passed away at the end of July. Also to be found are the 1979 remixes that arose from the Mixing album as well as a couple of non-album tracks. Informative sleeve notes and full artwork restoration (including the band photos from the inner sleeve) make this a glorious package to behold, although disappointingly the only lyrics that are printed are from Starbright Park. If you haven’t heard Quantum Jump before, it’s definitely worth starting with the first album. After that, if you’re still craving more, pick up this completist reissue and put your cravings to rest. Me? I’m going to check out this Immunity album…

Disc 1

01. Don’t Look Now (4:13)
02. The Séance (Too Spooky) (3:46)
03. Barracuda (6:07)
04. Starbright Park (5:48)
05. Love Crossed (Like Vines in Our Eyes) (6:43)
06. Blue Mountain (Aloha Green Sea) (3:46)
07. Europe on a Dollar a Day (3:43)
08. Neighbours (Limbo Cottage) (6:41)
~ Bonus Tracks:
09. Summer in the City (4:03)
10. Take Me to the Void Again (3:41)
11. Don’t Look Now [1979 Remix] (3:34)
12. Barracuda [1979 Remix] (5:57)

Running Time – 57:59

Disc 2 – BBC Radio One “In Concert” 16th July 1977
01. No American Starship (Looking for the Next World) (4:32)
02. Over Rio (4:30)
03. Don’t Look Now (4:15)
04. Barracuda (8:28)
05. The Séance (Too Spooky) (4:58)
06. The Lone Ranger (4:10)
07. Starbright Park (6:49)
08. (Oh My Lord) Don’t Look Now [Single Version] (3:35)
09. Love Crossed (Like Vines in Our Eyes) [Single B-Side] (4:05)
10. Blue Mountain (Aloha Green Sea) [1979 Remix] (3:35)
11. Neighbours (Limbo Cottage) [1979 Remix] (6:19)

Running Time – 55:09

Total Time – 1:53:08

MUSICIANS (Core only)
Rupert Hine – Vocals, Keyboards
John G. Perry – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Trevor Morais – Drums, Percussion

Record Label: Esoteric Recordings
Catalogue#: ECLEC22477
Date of Release: 26th January 2015

Quantum Jump – Esoteric Product Page