Return Of The Strange Animal

BY Michael EdwardsPublished May 25, 2010

I've lived in Canada long enough to be aware of the existence of Gowan, but not long enough to actually remember the release of his best known album, Strange Animal. Those who do might realise it's been 25 years since that record first appeared. And to celebrate the occasion, Gowan has remastered said "classic" and packaged it with a DVD to create Return Of The Strange Animal. The album sounds just like it always did. There could be absolutely no doubting this was an '80s record, because it still has that overproduced sheen that was almost compulsory back then. The surprising bit is that there are no extra tracks at all, just the nine original songs. That becomes even more astonishing when on the accompanying DVD, Gowan talks about all the demos that were recorded for the album, even playing a few snippets. Yet they are going to stay in the vaults until, I assume, the 50th anniversary. The DVD is the selling point of the set and fans will appreciate the stories about how the album was made. Plus, seeing the videos they inevitably watched on MuchMusic on a daily basis will them give a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. But a very earnest, new animated cartoon and a clip of Styx (whom Gowan sings for now) performing "A Criminal Mind" just aren't enough, making this feel like a missed opportunity.

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