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Eloy - Ocean CD (album) cover

OCEAN

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.22 | 1008 ratings

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Trevere
4 stars As the ambitions and instrumental scope of rock musicians increased throughout the late '60s and early 1970s, an inclination towards bombastic songwriting and "pretentious" concept albums was becoming more obvious. Progressive and krautrock groups, especially those hailing from Europe, were the most appropriate vehicles for such things, and the results were both cringe-worthy and magnificent. Some groups obviously couldn't match ambition with decent songwriting, (see: Emerson, Lake, and Palmer) and eventually gave the lesser-known, and generally better, musicians a bad reputation.

Eloy's Ocean, with one of the most recognizable gatefold covers of the decade, is a good representation of the latter. Though their early albums were standard slabs of progressive rock, Eloy's songwriting capabilities grew with each lineup change and album. To many (including myself), Ocean is the group's apex; here they seamlessly shift between esoteric spoken word, watery ambience, and choirs of synthesizers, recanting the rise and fall of Atlantis. You really don't need to hear more about the story than that.

Nearly five minutes pass before Frank Bornemann's accented voice announces the creation of Poseidon, speak-singing "When the mighty sons of the spheres beyond / Distributed the elements of earth / They laid down the foundation-stone / Of highest spiritual birth." Ending with choral sighs, "Poseidon's Creation" segues into "Incarnation of the Logos," which begins with the slow thump of bass drum and hovering, ominous synthesizer chords. Eventually the band launch into what can only be described as science fiction rock; the main keyboard melody wouldn't be out of place in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

If you're just starving for an echoing monologue, than you won't be disappointed with "Atlantis' Agony at June 5th - 8498, 13 P.M. Gregorian Earthtime." Over half of the song consists of spoken word and dark ambience, before Eloy launch into more spacey progressive rock. Cascading drum rolls, laser-ish guitar, and ever-present soundscapes close Ocean on a modest note. Maybe that's what make's Ocean so enjoyable; despite containing themes and ideas that most bands of the era would butcher, Eloy were able to make a flamboyant album that is accessible and worthy of repeated listening.

Trevere | 4/5 |

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