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Golden Earring - To the Hilt CD (album) cover

TO THE HILT

Golden Earring

 

Prog Related

3.12 | 48 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Second album with ex-Supersister keyboardist Jan Stips in the fold and TTH is unfortunately already an indication that he's not successfully merging with the classic four GE members, even though the TTH album is a big improvement over the previous Switch. It was sort of clear that while Rinus played a bit of keyboards, but was mainly busy at the bass, there was always a feeling of more room was available for keyboards, but unfortunately maybe that having a full-time KB player was just not for them, especially one that enjoyed complicated music from Supersister and had a lead role in his previous band. With a Hypgnosis artwork about how to kill your boss

Indeed the tracks are getting longer again (four over 7-mins as opposed to all below 6 mins on Switch), but staying denser, more compact, tend to respect the standard song format (which is not good news when GE is concerned), and on the whole, their music becomes a bit noisy. But the most flagrant weakness of this album is the uninventive (or overly conventional) songwriting, with too many musicians fighting to be heard. The overlong opening track Why Me does allow space for interplay, yet they completely fail to dazzle us, being repetitive. What to say about the very average Facedancer and almost-country-esque title track, except that they're just one step from being filler material. The only track that stands out from the opening side is the 7-mins Nomad, with its great open space that allows Stips best's kb intervention in GE, and Kooymans and Gerritsen being their usual selves.

The flipside however is much better with the tense Sleepwalkin' and the ultra-tenser Latin Lightning are both long and with plenty of possibility for the different players to engage in interplay, which they do, but for some reasons, rhythmically the tracks are not evolving, thus inducing a repetitive feel, which is negated by the closing section of the latter. The closing 10-mins+ Violins is again fairly repetitive, but end up in strings arranged by Stips

Another thing is that the urgency ruling over Moontan, Seven Tears, Wall Of Dolls or 8MH is simply completely absent: no enthusiasm, it seems they're going through the motions with the hope of getting over it as quickly as possible. The title track is also worthy of a bit of notice as well. For the rest, you'll get some (sometimes) decent songs with their square rhythms and average catchiness, but don't expect another masterpiece, here. I'm rounding it up to the upper star, partly because of my respect for the group during the 70's. .

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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