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Canterbury Glass - Sacred Scenes And Characters CD (album) cover

SACRED SCENES AND CHARACTERS

Canterbury Glass

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.38 | 7 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sagichim
4 stars A lost pearl.

Originally recorded in 1968 but never released until a few years ago, this is truly a lost pearl among collectors of very early british progressive rock bands. Among all of those obscure recordings from the 60's who gets reissued decades later, this is one of the best and most progressive in the most true sense of the word. In 2007 Malcolm Ironton (guitars) found the master tapes and managed to resurrect four of the six tracks which were recorded for the album, along with a demo tape recorded previously the album was now released on CD and vinyl. Basically "Sacred Scenes And Characters" consists of 4 main tracks, each of them is around the 10 minutes mark. The CD edition offers a fifth bonus track and the vinyl edition offers two different tracks replacing that bonus track. The sound quality is surprisingly very very good, capturing all the great aspects of the band and bring it to the fullest. Another interesting anecdote that will please a lot of progers is the inclusion of no less than Steve Hackett on the song Prologue, apparently he joined the band for a while, but sadly the band fell apart after they lost their momentum when trying to choose between Polydor and CBS for a record deal.

So Canterbury Glass were a five piece band who on top of their basic rock instruments added keys, harmonica and flute in order to enrich their sound. Their music here would fit nicely somewhere between proto prog sound and psychedelic prog, don't expect any weird psychedelic experimentations, the music is more focused rather than trippy, think of a progy mix between Vanilla Fudge, Caravan, Moody Blues and The Doors. One of the biggest elements here are the vocals which are strongly influenced by choral, church like singing, with multi layered harmonies, sounds quite religious at times but it also adds to the music a more angelic symphonic vibe. I think the key word here and the thing that stands the most as opposed to those very early prog bands is that the music is really 100% progressive! The band has a clear adventerous progressive direction, there are no happy 60's kind of tunes or Beatles inluenced songs to try and fit the era. The music contains a lot of ideas and effectively evolves containing varied and long instrumental sections. "Kyrie" opens with a beautiful choral vocals tune creeping in, which gradually builds and becomes fuller and rockier, around the third minute the band is sliding into an instrumental part but not because they want to solo, they have a whole bunch of ideas which evolves from one to the other perfectly, check out that killer Doors like organ psychedelic part, superb stuff! It then goes back to the main melody and closes with a rocking bang. "Nunc Dimittis" follows the opener's formula presenting the main melody before going into an instrumental journey, excellent stuff, this time adding flute and harmonica to the party on top of that fiery organ sound. "Gloria" is focusing a little more on guitar but still maintains a high level of creativity, throwing a lot of ideas and evolving just about every minute. "Prologue" starts with a bang, featuring some rocking guitars by Hackett, you never heard him like this in Genesis. This one doesn't have as many ideas as the previous songs but it is still quite progy and contains a lot of fiery guitar playing from the man throughout those 9 minutes. "We're Going To Beat It " is a song from the band's demo tape and is said to be very different from the version recorded for the original album. The song is not as good or progressive as the rest but still nice featuring prominent harmonica all over. But one must wonder what would happen if the band got signed and continued with Hackett, I think this is a must to anyone who's looking for that early psych proto prog obscurities. Recommended!

Sagichim | 4/5 |

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