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Robert Calvert - Lucky Leif & The Longships CD (album) cover

LUCKY LEIF & THE LONGSHIPS

Robert Calvert

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.91 | 19 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer
3 stars There is certainly an unpredictable and therefore eclectic nature to Robert Calvert. Listening to "Space ritual" by Hawkwind you are served up one of the most fearful live-albums of all time, filled to the brim of psychedelic space prog delivered in it's filthiest form. And if you've come to know Calvert through that album you will certainly be surprised to hear the material on this album. That is not a bad thing, yet it might detract from the album's somewhat brilliant content if you stare to blindly into the sun that was "Space ritual". That was the case for me, when I heard this conceptual album för the first time.

The cover, if I'm allowed to start there, is one of simple brilliance. It is intriguing with it's blue ocean with that lonesome viking ship heading towards some distant shore. The tale revolves around the viking expedition to Vinland and the encounter with the native population already living there. The flipside of the cover depicts the Statue of liberty wearing a viking helmet, which is sort of hilarious.

How about the music, then? The album opens in grand fashion with a viking horn signalling the arrival of the tale and heads straight into the heavy "Ship of fools", which is a great and menacing track. And then the albums true heart of eclecticism goes berserk with "The lay of the surfers", a Beach Boys pastiche which is so different to what one might expect from someone with a past in Hawkwind but it works. Not as an isolated track but in the grand scheme of things it really works. The folky "VOyaging to Vinland" is the best track, in my opinion. Dramatic and grand with a glorious guitar that blows me off my feet in it's simplicity. "The making of Midgard" is a spoken piece with voice effects. Quite effective, actually. "Brave new world" is a gentle pop song, "Magical potion" bluesy rock'n'roll, "Moonshine in the mountains" recalls some Civil War folk song and "Storm chant of the Skraelings" is slightly more in the space prog category, with it's droneing melody. "Volstead o vodeo do" is reggae and "Phase locked loop" is a sound collage. It all ends with the great and magnificent "Ragna rock", a brilliant song.

Sounds messy? Well, it is. It is a messy and by the sound of it severely disjointed. Still, repeated listening will unearth the scheme of things and paint a picture of the mind of an artist boasting excentricity and brilliance. There are certainly moments that on it's fails to hold up to scrutiny but as a whole this is a really entertaining and rewarding album. If you are a fan of Hawkwind it might pass by as novelty and if you've never heard of Calvert this album might not come your way but I think it's well worth a listen, though a singular sitting won't suffice. As a whole it is "Good, but non-essential" though there certainly are tracks well worth four stars. I have a soft spot for Calvert and this album is quite dear to me, as is "Captain Lockheed". He never made "The album of the century" but he provided music that is both interesting and highly original. Clever chap, he was.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |

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