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Greenslade - Spyglass Guest CD (album) cover

SPYGLASS GUEST

Greenslade

 

Symphonic Prog

3.23 | 106 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Little green fry-up

Spyglass Guest was the band's third album, and remains my personal Greenslade favourite. In my opinion, it is every bit as good as the previous two. But, just like those two, it falls short of being more than merely good overall. It starts out fantastically with the great Spirit Of The Dance, my favourite Greenslade number. It is an up-tempo, keyboard-driven extravaganza in a style similar to that of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I simply love it and often listen to it several times in a row. With the second track things already take a turn for the worse, however. Little Red Fry-Up is a quirky, vocal number that reminds me a bit of Gentle Giant (though, not the best of that innovative band). It is not awful by any means, but also not the best even though it does feature an electric guitar solo which adds an appealing diversity to the otherwise so strongly keyboard-dominated sound of Greenslade.

Next up is Rainbow, a slow, "hazy" vocal number that reminds me somewhat of the style of Camel's similarly titled Rainbow's End or maybe also Tell Me. I like it, but I don't get too excited by it. This is then then followed by another strong piece in Siam Seesaw, an mellow instrumental featuring tasteful acoustic guitars by guest Andy Roberts as well as some electric guitar by Clem Clemson. Again, the presence of guitars is a very nice surprise.

The eight and a half minute Joie de vivre is often considered the centrepiece of Spyglass Guest, and it is a good one, but personally I think that the live versions that I've heard of this song are better than this studio version. There is however one very appealing feature of this studio version and that is the presence of violin, played by guest Graham Smith. The violin passages remind slightly of the sound of Kansas. Red Light starts again like the slower, laid back Rainbow, but then morphs into something more similar to the funky Little Red Fry-Up. Melancholic Race evolves into a jazzy number. Finally, the album ends with a cover version of Theme For An Imaginary Western, a rather lame ending for an otherwise good album.

I have always liked to imagine what it would have been like had they taken the best tracks from the first four albums and made one album out of that. Then I'm sure they would have made one excellent album instead of four merely good ones as is actually the case now. As it stands, Spyglass Guest is recommended in addition to Bedside Manners Are Extra, the self-titled debut, and the follow-up Time And Tide.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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