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Egg - The Polite Force CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.16 | 390 ratings

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4 stars The early Canterbury outfit Egg are best described as a jazzier and wittier version of Emerson, Lake, and that other guy. Both are an unusual power-trio: where the expected guitarist is in fact a keyboardist! And both have three letter band names. The key difference between the two is the timbre of the sound. Egg has a bit of the bright and jovial Canterbury quality, as well as the fine jazz element connoted there. Because of this, they often come across feeling more fluent and organic, despite their compositions being equally complex and tightly composed as ELP's. The lyrics to Contrasong, however, are far more intelligent to any literature Lake sang with ELP.

Across The Polite Force, Egg's second and strongest release, things stray from powerful, catchy, sharp segments, to jazzy, jovial and intelligent bends, to spaced-out, aggressively odd psychedelia. Each style is performed with conviction and enthusiasm. The variation is nice, but it's obvious that the jazzy and psyched-out half is the first. Side two, comprised of Long Piece No. 3 in four movements, is nearly completely devoid of the psychedelic and jazz engines. Classical music adapted for rock instruments - a very ELP-like trick indeed.

Keyboards and pianos of all description, including Dave Sterwart's unique organ sound, are the most prominent of the instruments. Unexpected arrangements between bass and drums, in odd and shifting time signatures, make it even more exciting. Even if you don't dig the jazz, or absolutely fall for the psychedelic rant of Boilk, or absolutely adore the classical-prog of side two, then you will likely still at least enjoy this album. The first two tracks in particular are songs that I think no fan of music in general can hear without liking to a degree. It's simply a very likable album. Thus far, the album has received no two or one star reviews on ProgArchives. I'm willing to say it's objectively good. Subjectively, however, it's excellent.

Post Script: I apologize for all the ELP comparisons, their sounds aren't really so much alike.

Shakespeare | 4/5 |


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