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Eela Craig - Hats of Glass CD (album) cover

HATS OF GLASS

Eela Craig

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.49 | 20 ratings

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Proghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Not entirely too surprising that "Hats of Glass" is not as good as "One Niter", but then this is the late '70s where quality prog rock albums were starting to become more few and far between. But hey, this is still a fine album.

Released at the beginning of 1978 (recorded August to November 1977), there was one minor change in the EELA CRAIG lineup. And that was the return of vocalist Wil Orthofer, apparently because the band he was in between his absence with EELA CRAIG, called ICE PLANET (a blues outfit that never recorded, that also featured two other ex-EELA CRAIG members, Heinz Gerstmair and Horst Waber) broke up due to the deaths from two non-EELA CRAIG members from two separate automobile accidents.

Now let's get with the music. The funk has more or less disappeared, going for a more conventional late '70s symphonic prog rock sound. The album opens up with an unlikely song: a cover of Chris de BURGH's "A Spaceman Came Travelling" (yes, the same guy who gave us that awful '80s hit "Lady in Red", but his career goes back to the mid 1970s). This version, of course, is given the prog rock treatment, with vocoder, spacy synthesizers, and great vocal harmonies. The next song is the title track, starts off with flute, before going in to PINK FLOYD-like guitars. After some bizarre electronic noodling, it kicks in to "Grover's Mill" (mentioned on the Symphonic Rock CD, but not the original LP, but it's there on the LP), which is basically a re-recording of their 1974 single "Stories", with changed lyrics, less Mellotron, and more string synths (and guitarist Fritz Riedelberger still handling the vocals). "Chances Are" points to their following album, except without the religious themes. "Heaven Sales" is a short number that sounds very '70s, with lyrics that seem to criticize religious groups who state that you won't go to heaven if you don't give them your money (sounds a whole lot like those greedy televangelists you find right here in AMERICA). The album's high point, without a doubt is "Holstenwall Fair". I especially love that synth solo, before the music kicks in to an intense jam that's reminiscent of "One Niter". Then there's the ballad "Caught on the Air" (which you can only find on LP, not the Symphonic Rock CD). I never was too fond of this song, just a rather sappy ballad that the band could've used for a better piece. The final song is a reworking of their 1974 single "Cheese" (flip side of "Stories"), this time, the vocals are taken out, complete with a nice Moog solo in the middle. I'm in a minority here, but I wasn't too fond of the vocals of the original "Cheese", so this reworking had that plus of being all instrumental.

Overall, an excellent album.

Proghead | 4/5 |

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