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Reviewed by KENNETH WONG

In a spacious and well-defined sound, and with the accompaniments registering in fresh and vivid colours under a strong and extrovert voice, this recording presents us with an ambience of well-controlled mood and temper.

The performance is robust despite its subdued mood, though the playing seems less sensitive to the music's character than the lyrics themselves. The performance displayed the fluent shaping of the vocal lines especially in the chorus. There is also a considerable degree of rhythmic buoyancy as a whole. Although the music gives one the feeling of anticipation with the use of its chord progressions, the voice gains in richness and control, adding some most attractive shading to temper flashier bravura passages.

As for the recording quality, the background hiss seems insistent at first, but I soon got used to it. The bass is much too prominent in certain parts, breaking the flow of the vocal line. I think of his singing as genuinely creative yet so unmarked by mannerisms, which is exactly how it comes across here.

Jeff Payne has done commendably well to reach the top 120 at with Fire & Ice. (January 2001).