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Eela Craig - Hats of Glass CD (album) cover


Eela Craig


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.43 | 40 ratings

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3 stars This third album (1978) is the successor of the highly acclaimed One Niter (1976), a treat for the vintage keyboard aficionados, from Hammond and Mellotron to Minimoog and Hohner clavinet, a real Austrian symphonic rock gem! The line-up still features the 3 keyboard players but one of them, Frits Riedelberger does now also some lead vocals, and Eela Craig welcomes a new member, singer Will Orthofer.

In the first track A Spaceman Came Travelling (Chris De Burgh cover) Frits colours the music with his a bit higher pitched voice, this matches wonderfully with the romantic atmophere of this ballad, embellished with varied synthesizer flights, the distinctive vocoder and tender electric piano. The final part culminates into more lush with emotional vocals and sensitive electric guitar runs. The acquisition of the new singer and this cover is an indication for the change in the sound on Hats Of Glass: more song-oriented, more romantic and less bombastic and less keyboard driven. Like the titletrack (wonderful work on flute and keyboards and halfway a long and moving electric guitar solo) and Grover's Mill (soaring keyboards, tender electric piano, varied keyboards and again moving electric guitar), often Barclay James Harvest comes to my mind, but without the lush Mellotron sound. More dynamic are the swinging compositions Heaven Sales (warm duo vocals and delicate Hammond, Moog and clavinet) and the final one Cheese: powerful electric guitar runs and dynamic rhtyhm-section, subtle vocoder, flashy pitchbend driven Minimoog flights (like Manfred Mann) and finally a harder-edged guitar solo with fiery runs, really good!

But the highlight on this album is the longer and most adventurous composition Holstenwall Fair. First a slow rhythm with pleasant vocals and nice Hammond and Mellotron choir drops, next a shifting mood with sultry synthesizer sound and propulsive drums beats, a wonderful hypnotizing atmosphere. Then an accellaration with a catchy beat, fiery electric work, varied keyboard work and a sensational duel between a powerful guitar and pitchbend driven Minimoog. Finally majestic Mellotron choir and a return to the first part. This is how Eela Craig often sounded on their praised second effort One Niter, wow!

Don't expect music like on One Niter, but if you like the more laidback and romantic moments of Barclay James Harvest, Eloy and Camel, this is a pleasant sounding prog album.

My rating: 3,5 star.

P.s. (1) : The studio album tracklist misses the track Grover's Mill.

P.s. (2) : For its compilation album Eela Craig has chosen the title Symphonic Rock, and not Jazzrock or Fusion, that tells a lot.

TenYearsAfter | 3/5 |


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