candyapplegrey | Exeter, Devon United Kingdom | 05/29/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Sefronia is a tough album to understand in 2003. It is marred by an over intrusive, LA 70's production which seems to pop up and attempt to suck the meaning and poignancy out of the songs. I'm a huge Tim Buckley fan and although the tail end of Tim's career isn't my favourite this album is still worth purchasing if your a casual Tim fan. The reason this album might be appreciated by non- Tim afficenados (I'm not being patronising!) is that Tim's voice whatever it's condition is a captivating instrument and this album presents it in an easily digestible way. In an ideal world everybody would love 'Lorca' and 'Starsailor' but for most people appreciating these albums would have to come after a blossoming love for the soul of Tim Buckley; hence this record is not a bad sampler/introduction although it is hardly a representative overview of his work (it should be noted that at present even 'Morning Glory. Anthology' is not wholly representative of the dramatic evolution of his muse.) There are some good songs here: Dolphins, Martha, Because Of You, Quicksand and the two parts of the title track, Sefronia. The song Sefronia is in my opinion the greatest of his work POST - Starsailor. It is beautifully arranged, with subtle hints of African instrumentation backing Tim's GORGEOUS vocal; all this is encapsulated by a string-arrangement that rather than detract from the core song, interwines with it; Superb! In short Sefronia could well be a way to fall in love with Tim Buckley especially if the listener appreciates that Tim was battling against a record company who wished him to bring his music into the MOR and drape it in, what is now, a dated 70s production.
For the seasoned Tim fan I won't lie to you, many of the songs on Sefronia receive a better outing on other T Buckley albums. There are a few excellent versions of Dolphins performed by Tim Buckley availible: the one on 'Dream Letter '68' is the one I fell in love with first and is stripped to it's core melody and wonderful rhythmic drive. The version that appears on 'Honeyman (live in New York)' is similar to the version on Sefronia yet without the production flourishes, backing vocals or overdubs; it retains a stark electrified beauty, simultaneously funk and folky! Dolphins on 'Once I Was' was recorded by the BBC when Tim came to England to promote 'Sefronia' and shares a similar feel to it's studio version although Tim drops his voice into a luxuriously deep, yearning lower register which really does capture the essence of Fred Neil's original. It might seem as though I have gone off on a tangent somewhat but I belive my above comments cast a light on a few of the problems that stop 'Sefronia' being a great album rather than just a good one.
More stripped down (and FOR ME more beautiful) versions of Because Of You and Sefronia do exist on 'The Dream Belongs To Me'. It should be noted however that the best way to appreciate Tim is to listen to his studio albums in sequence (if you use your initiative you will be able to listen to 'Blue Afternoon' and 'Starsailor' which are two INCREDIBLE albums.) Then listen to the live albums in sequence (all are EXCEPTIONAL and availible on amazon!) and finally get his albums 'Once I Was' and 'The Dream Belongs To Me' to see the greatest popular music male vocalist/artist of them all."
Pass This To Me!
J. Bevan | NC | 08/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great album from Tim Buckleys later career. I don't know how else to say it. The best tracks are, Dolphins, Honey Man, Peanut Man, Martha, Quicksand, I Know I'd Recognize Your Face, Stone In Love, and Sally Go Round the Roses. Another note about Peanut Man. It's probably the best song on this great record. It's beat is very infectious. Martha is beautiful. If you're used to Tims earlier stuff I recommend that you try this album but beware you may be shocked at first. Bottom line, buy this album, and have fun enjoying it."