This band was never on my radar until I started to dig into the Vertigo Swirl catalog. They recorded two albums on Vertigo, both of which were produced by Muff Winwood. The first, self-titled album is a strong rocker with a front and center vocalist, Mike Patto, and stunning guitar work by Ollie Halsall, who brought a vibraphonist’s touch and sensibility to his stringed instrument playing. The tracks don’t necessarily light up listening to them over a digital stream but the vinyl can be marvelous. And, there is a relative bargain to be had here. Unlike many of the Vertigo Swirls which really sound best as original UK pressings, the old U.S. Vertigo Swirl of this record is not only available (one of the few records released in the States at the time on Vertigo itself, rather than through Mercury, or another label) but is a fraction of the cost of the original UK first pressing. What makes this “bargain” even better in my estimation is that the US pressing doesn’t suffer by comparison to the UK; it is a little more brash, not as mellow or warm, but it suits the music perfectly. So, thank me, not only for introducing you to this band, but for helping you find a “cheap way in” that in my view, is not a sonic compromise. (Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Patto’s second Vertigo album, “Hold Your Fire,” which is even better musically than the self-titled record; however, the comparison I did with the U.S. Vertigo of that album strongly favored the original UK pressing). More about “Hold Your Fire” in a separate review.
For what it’s worth, many of the U.S. Swirls of the self-titled album have a “promo” style white band on the front with ‘featured’ tracks. I’m not sure whether these are, in fact, the earliest pressings- but they don’t seem to fetch more than the U.S. Swirl copies without this promotional label on the front. I listen to this record and the follow up, “Hold Your Fire,” often. The U.S. Vertigo Swirl of the self-titled Patto album with the “promo” style “timing” band