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2 Years On (1970)
Audio CD
Track Listing

1. 2 Years On
2. Portrait of Louise
3. Man For All Seasons
4. Sincere Relation
5. Back Home
6. The 1st Mistake I Made
7. Lonely Days
8. Alone Again
9. Tell Me Why
10. Lay It On Me
11. Every Second, Every Minute
12. I'm Weeping

by Nicholas James

This is the first album the Bee Gees made together following their acrimonious split in 1969. Eighteen months had passed and they decided that the time had come to try again as the Bee Gees. Now, the Bee Gees have had several roller coaster years where they have suffered tragedy, marriage break-ups, internal arguments and problems with management or record companies. And in almost every case the music they produced was either unaffected or actually benefited from the experience. This is not the case with 2 Years On.

It is clear from listening to this album that the guys hadn't quite got their act together yet. Many of the songs are written by just one brother, and the album lacks the cohesion of most of their other albums. In fact, it is almost like four different albums. I have therefore reviewed it as if that were the case.

There are four songs on the album written by Barry, three of them sounding like the other brothers had little or no connection with them. Admittedly these songs are, for the most part, melodiously strong, but they are definitely not classic Barry Gibb. 'Portrait of Louise' is a lively but ultimately slight song, and 'Every Second, Every Minute' has a good, if very tinny, rock sound. The other two Barry tracks - 'The 1st Mistake I Made' and 'Tell Me Why' - just don't work at all.

Maurice, as usual, supplies his 'token' track. 'Lay It On Me' is classic Mo, lots of guitar and earthy lyrics, but doesn't compare to some of his excellent previous tracks such as 'My Thing' and 'Suddenly', and he would do much better only a year or two later in the all-time classic 'On Time'.

Robin supplies two songs and fares much better than the other two. One of his tracks, 'Alone Again', sounds like it was recorded with Maurice on backing vocals and is actually a very good, if somewhat unimaginative, track. His second solo track, 'I'm Weeping', is a very personal tale of his return to his home town to find things much changed. This is a very depressing song all round (lyrics, production, even title!), but it benefits from fantastic distraught vocals from the man who does distraught vocals better than anybody else. And, for that reason, Robin carries it off marvellously. Robin also collaborates with Maurice on another bleak number, 'Sincere Relation', about a family man who died unexpectedly, and on the breezy title track, which suffers from rather flat production.

When the three brothers come together, on 'Man For All Seasons', 'Back Home' and 'Lonely Days', they fare little better, although 'Lonely Days' became their biggest US hit to date and spearheaded a short period of success in the States, just as their European star began to fade.

Why Buy 2 Years On?

This is their weakest album to date, but even a weak Bee Gees album can be fun. Lay It On Me!