band reforms... great new album? or impossible?

I am friends with a musician in a well known band that reformed a few years ago and has done some tours since. They’re under pressure to record a new album, but the band members don’t want to come out with something they’re not proud of, a situation I greatly respect.

He said to me that he can’t think of any instance where a band got back together years after breaking up and came out with an amazing album, most of those albums are actually pretty mediocre at best. I can’t think of any success stories, either.

So asking for help here… can anyone think of a band that reformed and came out with an album as good as their material before their breakup? I told him I’d come back with a list, however short it may be!

Please help, the possible release of a future masterpiece depends on it!

Traffic. The group broke up with their third album, Last Exit, but reformed a year or so later with John Barleycorn Must Die and The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, two of their best.

Van der Graaf Generator. Broke up after Pawn Hearts in 1971; came back in 1975 with Godbluff and Still Life, probably their best albums ever.

King Crimson broke up in 1974, reappeared in 1981 with the very strong Discipline (though not with the same personnel); broke up again in 1984; reassembled in the '90s and put out Thrak.

Roxy Music broke up for a few years in the '70s, but one of the albums that came after they reformed, Avalon, is their most popular (not one of my favorites, though).

Mission of Burma They broke up in the early 80’s and came back around 2003 (I think, anyone got a firm date on when they reunited?) So this was a real breakup and reunion, not just a 3-4 year hiatus.

There are some (including noted rock critics at hip places like pitchfork) who will say that their latest effort The Obliterati is their best work to date.

I wouldn’t (personally I like Vs. better)…but it is a damn good album. Their second best effort.

Damn, beat me to it.

The Siegel-Schwall Band broke up in the mid-70s. They put out a reunion concert album in 1988, and a new studio album in 2005, Flash Forward, which is as good as anything they were doing back then.

I thought Deep Purple’s “Perfect Strangers” was a damn good reunion effort.

Two Against Nature by Steely Dan. Incredible album. They weren’t strictly disbanded prior to the album’s release, but it definitely qualifies as a comeback since they were inactive during the 80s and didn’t release an album during the 90s.

Retire to a recording studio in Amsterdam with Rick Rubin, lock yourself in everyday from 12:00 AM to 6:00 AM for 6 weeks and record an album. It’s the only way.

I’m seeing a common thead in the suggestions here: most of the bands had at least one important member whom the public knew that was still essentially leading or fronting the band. I don’t think the material needs to necessarily be quite the same as the older stuff was, change is good. As long as there is still something recognizable in their sound that brings people back.

There have also been a number of long time gone bands doing the reunion tours, and some still sound really good. That’s not quite the same thing but it still could be considered an example of a resurrection of sorts.

Well they’ve already been doing a succesful reunion tour. They just don’t want to record a new album and have it suck.

I forwarded the list to them just now, let’s see if it gets them inspired. :smiley:

The 2005 album by Big Star, either 31yrs after or 27yrs after their previous most recent album (depending on whether or not you count Third), was a pretty good album. Nothing mind-blowing but a repectable effort.

I’m anxiously awaiting a new dB’s album- Holsapple and Stamey are working together again. They’re definitely taking their time with it to make sure they put out something they’re proud of.

Believe it or not, I think the best example of this would be The Bangles.
Their debut album from 1984 is still their best album.
Their second (1986) and third (1988) albums were the albums that had all the hit songs but, although commercially successful, they weren’t nearly as good, as albums, as the first one was.
Then, 14 years after breaking up, they put out Doll Revolution in 2003. Again, I still think their 1984 debut is their best, but the 2003 album is easily their second best album. They recorded the album themsleves, without a record deal, and had complete control over the project. The could have made far more money singing their greatest hits on an 80’s nostalgia kick, but they wanted to do new music and they wanted to put out an album they were proud of.

Uh-oh, I got my bids in two minutes after the forwarding of the list. :smack:

You are a power-popper, aren’t you? Cool! I came in to mention In Space, Big Stars’ CD. They do a great job on this one.

I believe **Fountains of Wayne **had not broken up, per se, but drifted apart before coming out with Welcome Interstate Managers, their best work.

The only real question is whether your friend’s band feels like they have something to say - and, frankly, whether they’d have fun saying it. If yes, then choose their own path and go for it!

(Saw 'em live. Ate a half-bag of pot when the cops started busting people. :eek: )
I thought Blondie’s resurrection album was great!

Broke up again in 1978 and reformed again (with their ‘classic’ lineup) in 2005 and released Present, which is at least as good as some of their earlier stuff… and they’re still touring as a three-piece - I’m off down to London to see them again next month- they promise more new material!

No shit, I really used to like those guys and all I knew was there first wave. “It must have been the wine” springs to mind. Maybe I’ll check it out.

I think your friends should forget about what other bands have done. If they have had a successful reunion tour, then there’s at least some audience for them. Do they feel they have a good album in them or not? That’s what matters most, IMHO.

Wire’s Send was pretty great.

Little Feat broke up in 1978 or 1979, then reappeared in 1988 with what I thought was a great album, Let It Roll. Although Lowell George was irreplaceable, Craig Fuller and Fred Tackett did a pretty good job.