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Gong - Shamal CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.83 | 276 ratings

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2 stars Shamal is the album recorded immediately after the departure of Daevid Allen and Steve Hillage (who does play a few licks on this), and it shows. All that is left is a bunch of jazzy Frenchmen with no direction. Think what you will about the Alien Australian, he certainly gave the band a very distinctive musical and ideological direction, which is nowhere to be heard on Shamal. And Hillage's guitar wizardry is sadly missed. What we have here is a pedestrian Eastern-tinged jazz rock album, not necessarily unpleasant but a bit boring. Didier Malherbe does his best to spice things up with his world music stylings, but it's hard to save lame jams like these. Sure, the musicianship is incredible, but you need good compositions too. The worst part of the record is Mike Howlett's horrible vocals- he's a great bass player, but his toneless croaking (think of a worse Frank Bornemann) is difficult to listen to. The lyrics are pretty nonsensical, even for mysticism. This album sets the sterile, clinical jazz direction that the band would follow until Allen's reentry on the scene much later. Two stars for proficiency only.

Heptade | 2/5 |


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