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Albatross - Albatross CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.13 | 44 ratings

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2 stars Albatross were a largely forgettable symphonic rock band from Rockford Illinois who came and went in the space of few years in the mid seventies. They owe very obvious debts to Yes and, to a lesser extent ELP, and in fact a couple tracks (“Devil's Strumpet” and “Humpback Whales”) are almost completely derivative of Yes circa Tales from Topographic Oceans.

Of course these guys weren’t anywhere near as creative or talented as the boys from London, and as a result their only album is a bit of a study in inconsistency.

Their magnum opus, as it were, is the fourteen minute long “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, a bombastic and overachieving orgy of keyboards, plodding bass and surprisingly little guitar. Lead vocalist Mike Novak’s singing is routinely referred to as “an acquired taste” in reviews, which of course means that it isn’t very good. Novak has virtually no range, has a bit of trouble staying in synch with the song’s tempo, and seems to be slightly tone deaf. Other than that this is an unexceptional song but one that certainly was not out-of-place at the time it was written, and probably sounded pretty good in concert.

Otherwise the record consists of the two aforementioned Yes-like numbers, a very strange “Mr. Natural” and “Cannot Be Found” which is a piano-heavy number that sounds like it was written for a Broadway musical.

“Mr. Natural” is some sort of rock-god tribute type of tune, complete with head-shaking lyrics like “all the girls try to touch his cape, Mr. Natural; one day he’ll be charged for rape” and awkwardly timed keyboard riffs that launch and die at inexplicable intervals.

This isn’t much of an album quite frankly, and the vinyl originals sell for ridiculous sums to collectors foolish enough to pay them, but the Japanese CD version is more accessible (although of dubious legitimacy from the looks of it). This is really only for obsessive compulsive collectors in my opinion, and as such only merits two stars.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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