added: 19 Jun 2014
// release date: 22 Sep 2014 // label: McTrax
reviewer: David Spencer
Andy Fraser has been involved in the music industry for more than 50 years but in the last ten years has become re-engaged in making his own music, rather than writing for others. A founding member of 70s' rock band Free (he co-wrote the huge hit All Right Now), the bassist released a comeback solo album in 2005, and this is the follow up.
The album is heavily influenced by Fraser's concern about the planet and global warming. The track This Is The Big One has even been chosen recently as the anthem of World Environment Day - with Fraser singing about "time running out" and warning us to "prepare to feel the heat". The song has a sultry groove with well produced slide guitar splashes from Kat Dyson (Prince and The New Power Generation and Cyndi Lauper). It is typical of the overall sound of On Assignment, which has an underlying intensity mixed with varying rhythms.
There seem to be influences from around the world, like the obvious calypso groove of Reggae Boy or the African feel of the excellent Totally Yours. Surviving both cancer and AIDS has obviously made Fraser have a broader perspective - with God referenced throughout (most obviously on I Found God) - but everyday issues like relationships are also covered - like on the slightly funky Witness.
There is great spiritual feel to the lyrics and feel of the album - which some listeners may find hard to invest in but unlike many modern albums there is some room to breathe, with the production not overwhelming you and that has to be welcomed.
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