Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Klaatu - 3:47 E.S.T. [Aka: Klaatu] CD (album) cover

3:47 E.S.T. [AKA: KLAATU]

Klaatu

 

Prog Related

3.32 | 106 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A couple of decades ago or more, I heard a funny song somewhere. Perhaps it was on the radio or maybe on a compilation CD borrowed from the library. "Anus of Uranus". It could have been a MacLean & MacLean song with a title like that. Jump ahead to 2005 and I get my first lap top and it can burn CDs. Hooray! I had been a mixed tape kind of guy since the 80's. Now I would be able to burn mixed CDs. I had a theme in mind: a space song mix. And as I considered songs for the playlist, I recalled that silly anus song. A friend had introduced me to a web site where songs could be downloaded free. I always like to purchase music on CD but in this case, for one song, I got it from that site. Later I read that the band, Klaatu, were Canadian. Always interested in supporting home grown bands, I decided to keep Klaatu in mind.

Now we reach 2015 in my story and I was making a playlist of seventies Canadian bands, and Klaatu popped up from my memory. I checked them out on Wikipedia and was surprised to see them classified as pop prog. Prog? It's been my observation that Canada mostly missed two important periods in the evolution of rock music: the early first generation of heavy metal between 1968 and 1973 (not many bands that I know of) and the seventies prog movement (Harmonium, Rush and... Saga... and... ?). So this suddenly became a band I needed to hear. I ordered the anus album, "3:47 E.S.T.".

Now there's a funny story about this album and Klaatu. When the first couple of singles were released, there was an American DJ who heard the song "Subrosa Subway" and thought it sounded remarkably like the Beatles. He looked at the album and found that there were no names given and no photos of the band members. It was just Klaatu. "Could this possibly be," he surmised, "a Beatles album? That the Beatles have reformed and released an album under an alias?" He boldly announced his supposition to the public and enticed his listeners with supposed hints that his theory was true. The American label found that this was a great publicity stunt and would be good for boosting album sales and went along with the whole thing. The band, however, simply denied the story when asked. In the U.K., a music reporter pulled the plug on the story, saying that there was an American DJ foolish enough to not be able to distinguish the Beatles from this band. Nevertheless, Klaatu rarely performed live and recorded their second album and released it without any personnel mentioned by name, keeping an air of mystery about them.

The album is quite work of progressive rock with strong pop melodies. It does indeed resemble the Beatles often, especially the songs with John Woloschuk on lead vocals. Though the music is never really complex, there's a strong formula of simple and catchy melodies and a clever use of rock and symphonic instruments to create music that goes beyond the standard pop song. Dee Long's "Anus of Uranus" (about a space man who picks up the song's narrator and takes him around the solar system) and "True Life Hero" are more standard rock songs but with interesting lyrics. Other musical themes include the experiment that was done to contact alien spacecraft through the transmission of a welcoming thought by thousands of people at once. You can read about the song "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" on Wikipedia and find the link to the real life story. This song was covered with great success by the Carpenters a year later. There's also the story of New York's first subway in "Subrosa Subway", one of my two favourite tracks on the album. I also really like "California Jam" which shifts through various themes like a musical number.

The last three tracks have as yet failed to really captivate me. "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby" is a humorous song about a ship's captain who disappears at sea but seems to have returned, stating "I'm the only one who ever went to Hell and came back alive". It's done in a funny, Pirates of Penzance kind of way and has a female back up vocal group that make the musical effect even better. "Neutrino" is musically simple but beautiful, but also a bit weird with distorted vocal effects meant to emulate an imaginary neutrino voice. There's a story about the band experimenting with sound effects in the studio in Toronto when Mick Jagger walked in wondering what the heck they were doing in there. "Dr. Marvello" is also a bit show tunesy. Some songs remind me a little of It Bites' album "Once Around the World" and the song "Hunting the Whale".

Klaatu concocted some really wonderful music on this album. Some might not like it because it's not complex enough, too much like the Beatles, or too sweet in pop melodies. But I have been enjoying the first five tracks immensely over the last two months and keep coming back to them again and again.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this KLAATU review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives