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Galliard - Strange Pleasure By Galliard CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.50 | 29 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Overlooking the strange ultra-green artwork, is some kind of semi-vampiric beast that should not deter prog fans much. Indeed this guitar and twin horn attack group is a sextet called Galliard and develops a mean but not lean psych-ey brass rock that can be likened to early Chicago, If , GSOE and the excellent Warm Dust. Although the band still has a 60's side to their sound, the aptly titled album is indeed quite a feast of sound that should please all classic-era progheads. Recorded n 69 and released on the prog label Deram Nova, the album stands as a very enthusiasming gem of the genre, with such good musicianship that it makes you wonder how these guys didn't make it big along with Warm Dust, while average bands like Greatest Show On Earth had more exposure.

Most of the 10 tracks, none over 5 minutes, are written by singer/guitarist Geoff Brown, but two of the by trumpet player Caswell, but you'd have a tough time telling apart the songwriters without the credits. The opening Skillet is an enthralling tune lead by a strong bass line, a discreet, yet present guitar and devilish brass replies that make the proghead's day. The smoother Fairy Tale is a mainly acoustic affair, meaning guitarist Pannell switched guitars and the two wind-players have sensibly less to do, except for Caswell's cute solo. Pastorale is a shorter brass-laden ditty, while Ribbons (also an acoustic number) has a cheesy chorus line, which combined with the brass intervention give a rather BS&T sound, that veers quickly in Spanish-type of music. Ending the vinyl side is the superb Children Of The Sun, where the brass section provides much dramatic interventions in the background, emphasising Brown's vocals and Pannell's good guitar lines over changing tempos.

Opening the flipside is the hard-hitting heavy brass and psychedelic Got To Make It, sounding like some wild early-Chicago and this brass orgy might be the only hint that this might be a Caswell-penned track. Ending with a weird drum pattern that leads into Frog Galliard, a weaker 60's-ish track, but the almost renaissance-like horns of the ending save it. Blood is another dramatic track, in line with Children Of The Sun and is interrupted y a wild shootout, before the cavalry comes to stop the hostilities and count the dead. Wild trumpet, tense guitar, evocative drumming, wild bass lines, effective and dramatic vocals; you name it, Blood has got it. Hear The Colours start on guitar arpeggios then joined by a slow chant before Smith's sax takes the song in the weird direction, the whole band finally checking into the song for a short stint, before the tune starts all over again. The closing track sounds very Canned Heat boogie, even if the horns take a wild dissonant leap, before allowing a guitar solo and the track to return to its verses.

In conclusion, this album will hold its promise giving you many pleasures, even if not strange, and their inventive type of rock should be cited as exciting examples of brass-rock, like Chicago, If and Warm Dust. While not essential in the overall scheme of prog, Galliard's debut is definitely more so in the jazz- inflicted brass-rock realm. One might even consider their two albums as minor unearthed gem.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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