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Embryo - Bad Heads and Bad Cats CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.82 | 23 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Well I was never sure what happened with their prevous album Surfin', but something awfully wrong apparently and Embryo's output was never as brilliant as it was before that album. Having been told to stay away from that album many times by everyone I know, I've never heard Surfin' (the title sounded very suspicious too, so I was never intrigued either), but by looking at rating sites, something went awry and Embryo was never really as brilliant after. Even this album (a good return to their usual JR/F) failed to match WKO or Steig Aus and only Reise would match in quality, but let's face it by that time (79) Embryo was a white ethnic group more than the sizzling fusion band of their early 70's. So for Bad Heads, Embryo was sextet with Mariano and Hoffman as frontmen and through a weird artwork, their return to JR/F was partly successful. Actually this line-up is much reminiscent of the one that plated on WKO, three years earlier, if you'll except Hoffman and "guest vocalist" Archer.

Staring with the track Layed Back (sic), the group starts quite well its return with ex Missus Beastly Dieter Miekautsch's piano resonating brilliantly. The following 12-mins Nina Kupends is a long improve jazz jam where there are lengths (something that was never the case before) especially when the track nearly stops, but overall the group performance is quite impressive between the piano and Burchard's brilliant vibes, even though Maria Archer's vocals are not exactly my cup of tea, but she's no worse than Purim is in RTF. Closing on the sax-lead vitriolic title track, Embryo seemed to be heading for a masterpiece, but it takes time to get used to: indeed Archer sounds like a Bjork and the music could also easily come out of the Icelandic Siren as well, if it wasn't for Burchardt's brilliant marimba solo.

Unfortunately Embryo opens the flipside with Road Song, the same type of track, but this time, not only is the charm gone, but funky bass twist gives it an unbalanced attack, not helped any by its 6-minutes length. The equally lengthy After the Rain starts out on cosmic noises, but quickly grows into a mindless late 70's fusion, choosing cool virtuosity, rather than torrid interplay (here they sound like late RTF or mid-period WR), but at least Archer's voice is given a rest. Klondyke Netti seems born out of a Miles Davis jam, in which Eno would've crept out of the woodwork with a few phasors and make the whole thing a bit creepy. The album closes on a free jazz improve Tag X that fails to reach the 2-mins mark. The Cd Disconforme re-issue comes with a 17-mins improve JR/F that seems to copy closely the Klondyke track without the cosmic phasors. The track melts right into the album and brings an added value, even though there is an improve that could've been edited..

Not quite as successful as their previous masterpieces, Embryo came back to their normal level after a catastrophic Surfin', and if Bad Heads sounds a bit different, at least it was Embryo's will to try something else, having the guts to try it and talent to almost pull it off , bar a few details.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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