Two old bearded blokes making
jazz music containing complex guitar chord changes isn't very
rock 'n' roll but naming yourself after a large steam-powered
dildo from a William Burrough's novel certainly is. 'Aja' was
originally released in 1977 just as punk music was making an
impact but the reality is that this music is as far removed from
punk music as it can possibly get; band members Donald Fagen and
Walter Becker were a rather unlikely looking bunch who turned
jazz-rock into something palatable and addictive and knew their
way around a good hook influencing a variety of other 'unfashionable'
bands such as Prefab Sprout, China Crisis (in fact Becker
produced their 'Flaunt The Imperfection' album) and of course
Deacon Blue who took their name from the similarly-titled song on
Aja. There are just seven songs on 'Aja' of which the first four
are superb whilst the remaining three are merely pretty good.
Both 'Deacon Blues' and 'Aja' clock in at over 7 minutes but
still manage to maintain a great warmth and sense of melody
throughout even though they sound too laid-back and unassuming on
first listen and the comparatively economical near-four minutes
of Peg had such an irresistible hook that it was reprised by De
La Soul on their ground-breaking 'Three Feet High And Rising' hip-hop
opus. This is quality American music which is likely to be
appreciated more by adults than youngsters.