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Egg - The Polite Force CD (album) cover

THE POLITE FORCE

Egg

 

Canterbury Scene

4.16 | 390 ratings

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ALotOfBottle
5 stars Egg's second album, [i]The Polite Force[/i] is easily my favorite album of all time, but more on that in the conclusion. Shortly after their outstanding debut, which still showed the band dipping their toes in the sound of their own, alternating between complex, clasically-informed organ-driven composition and post-psychedelic jazzy proto-prog a la Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Egg set off to record [i]The Polite Force[/i], which elaborated many of the elements we heard on their debut, adding more new qualities to the cocktail along the line, as well as improving the overall formula (one hell of a sentence, isn't it?).

"A Visit To Newport Hospital" is a number somewhat reminiscent of the [i]Volume Two[/i]-era Soft Machine, though much more refined and tasteful that what the Softs were doing on the aforementioned album. It starts out with a heavy Black Sabbath-like opening, which turns into a very smooth, beautiful, nostalgic piece telling about the times back when Egg played with Steve Hillage in the late sixties, under the name Uriel. Lyrics are very poetic and mature. The track is kept in a rather jazzy mood, but with a sense of musical structure more classically-influenced, going through numerous passages and alterations of the theme. "Contrasong" presents Egg's well-trained avant-garde jazz feel in alternating time signatures. As opposed to most tracks, it only features organ in a solo part, most of it is dominated by a piano and a jazzy guest horn section. Mont Campbell's songrwiting also deserves attention for its surrealistic and evocative character. The 8-minute "Boilk" is an extended version of a track from Egg's first album. This experimental cut is the band's experiment with musique concrète and what a good one it is. When one could think this album couldn't get any more confusing and strange, "Boilk" is probably the most "out-there" track the band has ever produced. It features recordings of flushing water, sweet and fruity vibraphone, and ominous mellotron. At times it's atonal and frightening, at times atonal and frightening. The track is ended with Dave Stewart's interpretation of J. S. Bach's "Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt," sounding as if played through a thick sonic fog.

"Long Piece No. 3" is an instrumental, four-part suite, which is opened by heavy, buldozer-like fuzz organ based on what is highly likely most most sophisticated time signature. Every band member plays in different alternating time signatures. Just to give you an example, Dave Stewart plays 7/8, 11/8, 15/8, 19/8 and 23/8 repeatedly. Crazy isn't it? On the contrary, Part 2 is full of pleasant melodies, while the rhythm section gets to rest... A bit. The further two movements of the suite present strong influence of 20th-century classical and avant-garde jazz. All of the members of Egg get a chance to present their virtuosic abilities in a truly entertaining and not-self-indulgent manner. Something to be heard, not exactly described. It could make a thin book!

[i]The Polite Force[/i] is, for me, an ideal, perfect album. No other work in the world of music keeps equal balance between technical awareness, dense atmosphere and originality. Every note seems to carry a meaning and not a single one of them would I take away, change or add. Essential progressive rock album.

ALotOfBottle | 5/5 |

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