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Albatross - Albatross CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.13 | 44 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars One of those one-short American prog bands that Syn-Phonic should have reissued, but never happened. Instead some Japanese label reissued this on CD. Instead I was able to get the original LP, not cheap, though, but at least I got to hear it before I bought it. This group hailed from Rockford, Illinois, just like Cheap Trick. Of course Cheap Trick wasn't prog at all, but they became enormously successful with hits played on the radio and multi-platinum selling albums. Albatross was like groups like Cathedral, Mirthrandir, Babylon, and the likes where they never got more than a small-label release guaranteeing their rarity. Albatross' sole album was released on the Anvil label. Prog rock in the Midwest seemed really big in the mid 1970s and Yes was a particular example. Too often Albatross was considered nothing more than Yes wannabes. But I really can't agree on that. There is that Yes element, but the vocals from Mike Novak sound nothing like Jon Anderson (or Terry Luttrell of Starcastle). Compare that to Starcastle, on the other hand, they were very much a Yes clone (although I do enjoy their first three albums). Mark Dalhgren gives lots of nice keyboard work in the Wakeman, Emerson, and even Banks style, with lots of Hammond organ, synths (ARP), piano, and RMI electric piano/harpsichord, and even some nice use of Mellotron, which I wished was used more. The opening cut, "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" is nothing short of amazing, it's everything I enjoy about a 14 minute prog song. Lots of great keyboard work, imaginative Mellotron playing. I also like some of those synth sound effects Dahlgren gives. Now many people tend to be put off by "Mr. Natural". It might be their idea of a more commercial piece, on the other hand, if you give it a listen, you'll still notice some unconventional proggy passages, with the organ and synth passages in between the vocal passages. This was an example of the band not taking themselves seriously and a song like this would be completely out of the question by Yes. "Devil's Strumpet", well, there's that the pipe organ was no doubt "Close to the Edge" inspired. Pipe organ was the Second Congregational Church's organ, which apparently was a local church. Luckily there's tons of more great prog things going on. "Cannot Be Found" is a piano-oriented ballad, it could be a bit sappy for some, but it don't bother me. "Humpback Whales" is a nice, short proggy number. Since I've been collecting obscure prog now for 20 years, I'm glad to still find obscurities like this that has passed my radar scope for many years, and glad to have in my collection. I doubt most of you are willing to shell out the money for an original LP, but if you get a chance to hear it, it's worth it.
Progfan97402 | 4/5 |


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