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Supersister - Pudding En Gisteren [Aka: Pudding & Yesterday] CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.01 | 144 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars The career of SUPERSISTER was brief but moved fairly quickly. It all began in 1967 while the band members were still in high school and founded by singer / songwriter Rob Douw who would soon leave the newly formed the Nederlands beat group Sweet OK Supersister however the band continued with Robert Jan Stips taking the role as bandleader with his keyboard playing become the focal point. Only three years later the band honed their chops and copped an English Canterbury attitude and stunned the fledgling prog rock universe with their amazingly performed antics on "Present From Nancy." Only a year later, the band developed their ideas even further and presented a more mature vision with their highly popular "To The Highest Bidder." It was at this point that they became extremely popular in their native Netherlands and also turned some heads all across Europe.

All the critical acclaim cemented a series of concerts in their homeland and extensive touring throughout Germany, England, France and Italy. In no time at all the band was working with full-fledged orchestras with the help of the German TV channel NDR which commissioned a performance with the Tanz und Unterhaltungsorchester des NDR conducted by Alfred Hause. The newly constructed compositions by bassist / guitarist Ron van Eck and Stips found a whole new audience for SUPERSISTER and soon thereafter they announced a collaboration between SUPERSISTER and the Nederlands Danstheater (the Dutch Dance Theater Company). The project took SUPERSISTER into yet another new arena where the idea was that the band would provide the soundtrack to a modern ballet accompanied by rock music.

This was also the time that the band was hoping to expand the lineup by adding a new guitarist in the form of ex-Brainbox member John Schuursma, but despite all the efforts did not happen and although the whole project of ballet meets prog did occur with the Nederlands Danstheater, it did so without SUPERSISTER. Slightly dismayed, the band entered the studio to record their third album PUDDING EN GISTEREN, a title that was supposed to grace the ballet project but rather become the emphasis of a third album. One of the major effects of hearing this third release by SUPERSISTER without this knowledge means the album will be experienced completely out of context and results in a lackluster understanding of the high velocity evolutionary dynamics that were taking place at the time.

PUDDING EN GISTEREN (Pudding and Yesterday) was the end of the road for the original lineup after all the turbulence of the music business but despite not quite reaching the glory of their first two albums, this third one delivers the goods on many fronts. During the period of the two predecessors, there were many pop hooks incorporated amongst the technical workouts that were truncated for a more commercial friendly environment such as the single "A Girl Named You" and "No Tree Will Grow." On PUDDING EN GISTEREN, the hook-laden melodies were prime time and dominate the two major leading tracks "Radio" and "Psychopath," which shows the clever shapeshifters of the Canterbury sound moving away from the early Soft Machine playbook to a more Caravan based one, however these guys were brilliant in their execution.

"Radio" begins as an almost saccharin display of pop earworm charm with that indefinable Canterbury Scene edge laced with Zappa- esque humor but after a few measures of "too sweet for its own good" erupts into an energetic jaunty ostinato bass driven rock bravado with clever spoken word narrative. The second track is a mere fifteen second electronically infused melody that merges into the third track, the equally addictive keyboard driven and almost Vaudville friendly tune "Psychopath' with intelligent lyrics as if Paul McCartney had cranked out a Beatles approved tune under the influence of heroin. Keeping in line with their Canterbury tinged humor, both lyric driven tracks are quite sardonic with an equal display of dark subject matter quilted in the expected whimsical dressing.

The fifteen second track aside, the album only has four bona fide tracks and by track number four "Judy Goes On Holiday," the SUPERSISTER of the past, namely the progressive rock masters who display their technically induced prowess in a parade of never- ending prog displays comes to fruition. On this track the band display not only their instantly addictive pop hooks, but tease them out into full pomp and awe which by the end even went in the the part of the Frank Zappa playbook that few others would dare, that being the doowop laden vaults of "Cruising With Reuben & The Jets." Ironically, PUDDING EN GISTEREN not only contains the shortest SUPERSISTER track with the fifteen second "Supersisterretsisrepus" but also the longest track of their career in the creatively complex 21 minute track "Pudding En Gisteren Music For Ballet," which displays the full technical prog compositional flare and musical gymnastics as their previous works.

PUDDING EN GISTEREN goes down in history as the weakest of the three albums with the original lineup for a reason. This one is less consistent and more awkwardly laid out than the first two. Add to that i find that "Judy Goes On Holiday" has an obnoxiously long middle section that meanders into mellow mode for far too long and then only emerges for a wear-out-its-welcome doowop loop of the same melody only sped up slightly after every measure for some sort of effect. The two pop oriented tracks coming first followed by the more complex ones seems out of balance but i have found the album somewhat addictive. While not as perfectly engaging as the first two, album number three is chock full of SUPERSISTER-isms to the max and despite the few complaints i carry, still remains a brilliant slice of early 70s progressive rock. Some have even deemed this their finest hour. While i can't say i share that consensus, i have to admit that this one, despite a step down in continuity and quality, is still an excellent delivery of the Canterbury Scene in progressive rock.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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