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High Tide - Sea Shanties CD (album) cover


High Tide


Heavy Prog

3.86 | 229 ratings

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3 stars Spewing lush but roughly-rendered heavy psychedelics and tons of personality, High Tide rocked the paisley scene in 1969 with low-fi sludge and macho abandon, producing this small but rich and flavorful LP. A screaming breech-birth of a record, this debut won't impress everyone at first. Maybe because it sounds like a lumbering band of drunken criminals looking for trouble, led by the sardonic Tony Hill on guitar and vocals with a Jim Morrison baritone and world-weary swagger. But there is more going on here than evident at first glance including moments of folk, neo-classical, and a bit of rustic bread hidden under the hard crust. Some think this is the earliest form of heavy progressive rock, and I think they might be right. Whether or not High Tide made a big impact on prog as we know it is not important here. The music, however, is.

The killer fuzz riff of 'Futilist's Lament' starts things strong with Hill's creamy metal foam and Simon House's haunted keys. House's fiddle highlights the second cut, the melodic and weird 'Death Warmed Up', sounding much like its title and clocking in at over nine minutes. Here is where the progressive part of this band begins to show, with interesting lines and harmonics between the dirt and electric kool-aid, peeking out before being thrown back in the mix. The troubled and introspective 'Pushed, But Not Forgotten' starts and stops with cold fingernails on your back, while 'Walking Down Their Outlook' features surprising precision and clever arranging. The most progressive and emotionally complex track, 'Missing Out', is a brazen attempt at intricacy and the raw fusing of musics never meant to meet, let alone marry in a country barn with a bunch of crazed heavy bluesmen out to rock hard and party harder. 'Nowhere' finishes the show with great cowbell clang, concluding what appears to be the early cries of a new music. Additionally, some fascinating extras include 'The Great Universal Protection Racket', an 11- minute epic of full-blown prog/psych inexplicably left off the original LP that features aggressive metallic guitar harmonies and shifting rhythms, followed by the off-kilter 'Dilemma'. In 2006 Eclectic Discs offered a remaster of this vital slice of hard-hitting proto prog, and it is well worh it.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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