This is an odd one; rather, it’s a Todd one for the Rundgren completist. Jean Yves Labat was the green-haired, self-styled M Frog, who found himself swapping a life in monastic seclusion in France for a stint with Rundgren’s band. Frog’s 1973 solo album, which originally arrived with a book attached to the sleeve, is the jauntier of the two propositions. Recorded for Bearsville, Labat’s desire to “pop out” and make “funny music for the living” was realised on the self-consciously quirky We Are Crazy and Suckling-Pigs Game. He could, however, lend his keyboards to less tenuous pieces, while the presence of Paul Butterfield, various Band members and June Millington on Hey Little Lady lend focus to an otherwise indulgent affair.
Powell’s Air Pocket, recorded seven years later, is a quiet barrage of Moog modulation accompanied by fusion arrangements and the occasional whiff of latterday Steely Dan or even prototype Duran Duran. Is this a good thing? Probably not anymore. But, of course, these are period pieces. The Todd Rundgren connection is the glue that holds them together; even so, two halves here don’t make much of a whole.