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Ozric Tentacles - Erpland CD (album) cover


Ozric Tentacles


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.04 | 334 ratings

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3 stars What a treat OZRIC TENTACLES is. Excellent production, spacey sounds and stellar guitar. You could listen to it for - well, minutes.

The great thing about OZRIC TENTACLES is their immediate accessibility. Swirling arpeggio keyboards, clear, emphatic percussion, funky bass and soaring guitar, with no pesky lyrics to worry about. This formula is clearly evident on this, their first widely released studio album, and it is equally evident on every one of the albums following this one. The OZRIC TENTACLES are, therefore, the most extreme example I know of a band that is all surface and no depth. Great to listen to when cruising back, and excellent as background music. Here's their trick: start with a synth loop, bring in the percussion and rhythm, and then layer guitars over the top. Go for five to eight minutes, rinse and repeat.

The problem for me is they are so clearly influenced by STEVE HILLAGE's work, both with GONG and his solo recordings, that I find them difficult to take seriously. At about this time HILLAGE was working with ALEX PATERSON on a project that became THE ORB, a much more edgy and fascinating experiment than this. His own band, SYSTEM 7, is a slightly trancier version of OZRIC TENTACLES - or are OZRIC TENTACLES a slightly less trancey version of SYSTEM 7? I don't know. All I know is HILLAGE and PATERSON had the better and more interesting tunes, and had a much more progressive edge.

This stuff is great, don't get me wrong. But without lyrics or great songwriting, these musical fragments never assume any real meaning, and so no OZRIC TENTACLES album can be described as either a masterpiece or excellent. Three stars for this solid debut, then: none but the most assiduous listener will be able to work out which of their 30 or so albums is the best - or the worst. Though if you have to buy one, I'd suggest 'Jurassic Shift', though this is well worth a listen. Just don't expect anything more than what you hear first time through.

russellk | 3/5 |


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