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Egg - The Polite Force CD (album) cover

THE POLITE FORCE

Egg

 

Canterbury Scene

4.11 | 264 ratings

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Passionist
3 stars To me, EGG has always been in the middle of the Canterbury scene. By this I mean, there are the ones that have had great success, like Caravan, Soft Machine etc, and then there are the ones that are known only but real hobbyists. EGG is in the thin line that divides these two. In my book the are very respected, but haven't quite gotten all the appreciation they might deserve. This band makes great stuff without the guitar, which is the instrument I usually enjoy the most. Listening to their records though, I'm happy they never had one.

And with that they held on to their more jazzy style, which is also apparent in the first song on this album, A Visit to Newport Hospital. The music seems very laid back at all times. It variates along the song from a dark heavy organ with slow drums to a cheerful and light keyboard and singing. The rythm has interesting hooks to it, which is also very common for the Canterbury scene. A really atmospheric song, and enjoyable.

In Contrasong, EGG is obviously trying out their limits. The rythms are very difficult and it's amazing how these guys manage to play the song through. Basically it goes in 9/8 mostly but with really difficult fills and breaks (at times 5/4 I counted), probably meant to confuse the listener, who knows. With this kind of arrangement, the song quickly turns rather funny, and truly, it's a feelgood song, for times when you just want to go weird. Nice playing, though the divisions of beats really restrict the artists from most soloing and improvising. The saxophones make a nice addition to the melody of the song too.

Boilk always reminded me of a boiling egg, mostly because of the name of the band and the track. It begins with a really ambient or psychedelic mellotron + some percussion that makes a nice and shady tune. As it grows, I feel like the water is starting to boil. The music is a bit bubbly at times... but grows towards the end to include more and more instruments. However, it really never gets going. This song makes it sound, as if EGG, still at their second album, is trying to find their style. Something psychedelic, but still not really doing anything with their instruments. Some would call this more noice than music. Well, I guess it's pre-industrial at that, organs, percussions, strange noises, and really, no coherence anywhere. Perhaps OK for some, but I find it hard to relate this song with the others on the album.

The Long Piece 3 is obviously what this album is based upon. Listening to these 4 parts it kinda makes it sound like for the beginning, they just had to make tracks to fill in the first side of the vinyl. Part 1 of the 'Piece' starts with drums and organ taking turns, like in a discussion. You get the feeling like something big is going to happen. However, the song just drags along for several minutes with nothing really happening. Not until 3 minutes when the song changes direction, as if introducing a new character to a story. The synth sounds like midi for a while there, and the drum just keeps beating on. Nothing really special there.

Part 2 however starts with the most usual Canterbury sound with a straightforward melody and a nice rythm. After that, the song changes direction again with what sounds like a wind blowing. Still somewhat psychedelic, but looking for its own direction. After the windy part the melodic organs take over again with the groovy drums. These parts are, along with the two first songs the best parts of the album. Sadly they had potential to lots and lots more on this album. At this point, the song is undeniably Canterbury at its best. Chilling out with a jazzy organ and a nice melody. This song leaves me smiling after the one before.

The next part starts in a similar manner. At this Point you'd however wait for some lyrics. EGG is still more of an instrumental orchestra, and they play their music very well, so it doesn't really matter. Part 3 has a nice organ pattern in the middle that really sticks to you. Not that you would sing it later on, but it makes you want to hear this song again and again. It's not a bad song either, and even better if you give it some time and some volume too, this kind of music enjoys attention. Towards the end, the organ gets pretty heavy again, and they're tearing everything out of it. Such and ending brings out the question: What's next?

In Part 4 the music gets really energetic and going for a bit over two minutes. Not the kind of an ending you'd expect, but that doesn't matter at all. Personally I would probably have arranged the parts differently. This part even has a solo part for the bass which makes it stand out a lot. The heavy organ continues again to beat out.

After all the songs it's time to evaluate them together. First of all, it's splendid Canterbury scene, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the genre. The most known album by EGG surely. However, the album has got parts that didn't really need to be there. It's not like in the 3rd track they didn't have an idea of what to do, but it still sounds like it was just random rambling. And in a sense, that is a form of art too, but takes a few 2 euros off the price in my opinion. It's an excellent addition to some prog collections. To people who are willing to spend dark evening listening to a cracking vinyl. Not so good when trying to feel the effect on a cd or as mp3. This is a record full of music to hobbyists as I already said. Ones, who want to hear people take everything out of their instruments, their organs and basses and drums. It's a good album at best on that sense, a really good addition and recommended. I'm going to give this one 3 stars. Mostly because of what I said, and because I sincerely think that 4 would be too much.

Passionist | 3/5 |

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