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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Love Beach CD (album) cover

LOVE BEACH

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

2.06 | 454 ratings

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daveconn
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Okay, so the wannabeegees cover and title fuels the suspicion that "Love Beach" is no more than a musical morass, but conceptually ELP wasn't stuck for an encore. The trouble with this album isn't the ideas or the inspiration, but the execution. Simply put, the production value is thin, erasing the pomp factor so critical to ELP's success. (In fact, my elpee doesn't list any production credits, which might explain why the album feels so underproduced.) Keith Emerson's keyboards especially lack the thunder of old, a problem that likewise plagued Rick Wakeman on the similarly disappointing "Tormato" (in their defense, the late '70s did produce a weak generation of electronic keyboards like the Birotron).

"Love Beach" is essentially split into two sides, with Greg Lake and Emerson engaging the full-time services of Peter Sinfield. The first side of music (or the Lake-side part) features the usual assortment of ballads and stories, pale shadows of earlier successes; "All I Want Is You" for example is no more than a warmed-over version of "Nobody Loves You Like I Do". Some of the old darkness creeps in on "Taste of My Love,",while "Canario" isn't so far removed from their classic instrumental workouts, but none of this ranks as top-shelf stuff. Better in thought and execution is the side-long "Memoirs of An Officer and A Gentleman," which is a rare song cycle from Emerson and Sinfield that hits the occasional high point. "The Education of a Gentleman" in particular finds the band hitting their stride, and "Letters From The Front" is centered around an interesting melody.

"Love Beach" never does build up the momentum needed to leave the Earth, but anyone who found merit in "Tormato" will find some here as well. It is the least essential of ELP's studio albums from the '70s, though the new music alone makes it more interesting than the subsequent concert album and greatest hits compilation. Looking back, a lyric sheet would have been a nice touch as well. Since the vinyl version sounds pretty weak, I'd recommend splurging for the compact disc on this one.

daveconn | 3/5 |

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