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Egg - Egg CD (album) cover

EGG

Egg

 

Canterbury Scene

3.68 | 163 ratings

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progismylife
3 stars A yummy scrambled egg!

My introduction to this band (and this first review of their material) also happens to be the debut album. It is a very strong debut as well. The band consists of a trio playing bass, drums, and organ/piano/tone generator ( a tone generator is some sort of wave generator that uses sine waves over the audio frequency range - I actually have no idea what it is and from the internet can deduce that it must be some synthesizer predecessor thing). They came from the band Uriel in which Steve Hillage was a guitarist before he left for university. The remaining trio formed this band called Egg. I was very impressed when I read that the band members were under 20 years old when they recorded this album.

So what does this band sound like? you might ask. It is a scramble of different sounds and (to give you a vague idea) they were influenced by The Nice (the band Keith Emerson was in before ELP), Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, and Fleetwood Mac. There are also many covers of classical music composers such as Bach, Stravinsky, and Grieg. This is the selection of tracks known as Symphony No. 2. It is made up of five pieces but the part called Third Movement was taken off because of the possible objections from the administrators of Stravinsky's music in Britain. It is only available on the remastered eggdition of this album (which also contains the A and B side of the single released in 1969). Be prepared for weird time signatures (as indicated by the original LP sleeve notes) as some of them listed are: 9/4, 7/4,5/4, 13/8,6/8 and 5/8.

Now, onto the music!

The first half of the album contains original songs from the band and a cover of JS Bach's Fugue in D minor. It is almost RIO/Avant prog, at times, and thus can be said it is eggcentric. The titles are also strange too, with such beauties like They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano., The Song of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous (or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas), and Boilk.

The album has the most eggcentric opener that I have ever heard. It is called Bulb and is only 9 seconds long! It is obviously the tone generator being played as it is strange noises that I have never heard before.

Next is the wonderful While Growing My Hair with lyrics that contain distinctively British humour (one of the trademarks of the Canterbury Scene). Same with I Will Be Absorbed and The Song of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous (or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas).

What follows these wonderfully avant (lyrically) songs is a jazzy cover of Fugue in D minor and is comparable to other Bach covers in prog such as Jethro Tull's cover of Bouree. They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano. is another track with really funky sounds and is definitely eggcentric.

After The Song of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous (or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas) (which is in the same vein as the previous two - jazzy avant music with British humour in the lyrics) comes Boilk which was one of the bands slang terms for a mistake and is them messing around with a mellotron for about a minute.

After these interesting songs comes the set of tracks known as Symphony No. 2. These tracks contain very good organ playing, harmonic bass, and good drum work in varied time signatures adding to the eggcentricity of the band. Some things to note are the organ improvisations, the good drum solo, and an improvisation on the tone generator. It is eggcellent.

The bonus tracks (the A and B side from the single) are also very good ones, my favourite being Seven Is A Jolly Good Time. As the name suggests the chorus is indeed in 7/4 time.

Overall this is very avant, jazzy, and all around good stuff. Nothing too spectacular here, but it is worth a listen or two if you are interested in this band. I give it 3 stars. It is a good one but some of the tracks are hard to appreciate if you don't like avant stuff and it is strange, but in a good, eggy sort of way.

Oh and sorry for the multiple intentionally bad egg puns. I could not resist the eggcasion to do so. Oops there I go again.

progismylife | 3/5 |

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