Steve Harley followed up the ambitious fusion of pop and artsy glam rock he perfected on The Best Years of Our Lives with this even more ambitious and artsy outing. Unfortunately, Timeless Flight neglects the strong pop hooks that made The Best Years of Our Lives so appealing. Much of Timeless Flight finds Harley getting bogged down in deliberately impenetrable wordplay ("Black or White (And Step on It)") and songs that, despite slick arrangements, are rather hookless vehicles for the verbose lyrics ("Don't Go, Don't Cry"). As a result, the album has a self-consciously obscure feel that is rather off-putting. However, a few highlights shine through for the patient listener: "Red Is a Mean, Mean Colour" benefits from a hypnotic melody that combines fluid electric piano lines and woozy vocal harmonies to create a compelling ebb-and-flow effect, and "Understand" is a lovely ballad that weaves a lush soundscape from a judicious combination of delicate piano lines, Spanish guitar, and lilting background vocals. That said, the appeal of these occasional gems isn't enough to make the album consistently engaging, and Timeless Flight can only be recommended to Steve Harley completists as a result. ~ Donald A. Guarisco
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