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Pell Mell - Only a Star  CD (album) cover


Pell Mell


Symphonic Prog

3.36 | 27 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars This was the last of Pell Mell's trilogy of disks that, shall we say, "borrowed" heavily from the classics: "From the New World", "Rhapsody", and "Only A Star". I am not a classical aficionado but some of the references are blatant, even if I don't know the real composer. Some mistakes were made in "From the New World" that were rectified in "Rhapsody" and further refined here, chiefly in the approach, which is very light and airy here while still possessing plenty of complexity and cleverness in arrangements to keep any German symphonic progger very happy.

The band's talents and ingenuity are best showcased in the nearly 9 minute long "Disillusion", which features a wide array of keys which often simulate orchestral effects, sprightly vocals, time changes and, most importantly, harmonious interplay between them and within the segments. The band has plenty of time to stretch out and they do not disappoint.

The gentler side of Pell Mell is to the fore in "Trailers in Movie Halls", a mellotron drenched affair that features a pleasant acoustic guitar break, and "Daydreamer", which includes pastoral use of recorder. The closer "Phoebus is Dead" wraps up the various themes in a neat package.

The band very occasionally gets a bit too poppy, as in the title cut with its overly precious harmonies and superficial melody, where they sound uncomfortably like Nektar, not that there is anything wrong with that, when you are Nektar. Thankfully, such moments are the exception on this disk which far exceeds what one might have legitimately expected during prog's prime, let alone in 1978 when it was released.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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