4 out of 5 Stars!
Although Caravan’s Cunning Stunts, the group’s sixth studio effort, is actually more straightforward and commercial when it came to its melodies and song arrangements, its sound more Symphonic Prog in nature, much less “Canterbury Jazz-oriented,” with diminished humor compared to previous albums, the album is still a rather enjoyable release, once you get past the band’s shift in style/approach.
Indeed, once I did, I found myself playing this album more and more through the years, savoring much of the laid-back and somewhat catchy material, and finally coming to appreciate Caravan’s altered direction.
Certainly, Cunning Stunts (love the naughty play on words) is nowhere close to being my preferred Caravan album (nothing can beat 1971’s brilliant In the Land of Grey and Pink), but with the fun and creative eighteen-minute, multi-part epic “The Dabsong Conshirtoe” included, along with more Pop-oriented, gentler Symphonic fare such as “No Backstage Pass,” “Show of Our Lives,” “Welcome the Day,” and “Stuck in a Hole,” this album is certainly far better than the majority of the group’s more lackluster (ie. sell-out) mainstream material that dominated the band’s albums during the late-’70s and onward.