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Gnidrolog - In Spite Of Harry's Toenail CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 174 ratings

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3 stars Ballsy and sometimes brilliant freshman effort from the Goldring Twins with very good help from bassist/cellist Peter Cowling and the invaluable Nigel Pegrum [Spice,Steeleye Span] handling flutes, oboe, piano and drums. Not as refined as somewhat better Lady Lake, the punk leanings later played-out by Colin and Stewart Goldring - vocals/guitars/winds & lead guitar/vocals respectively - are clearly heard here four years before the toilet-humored Pork Dukes vomited their way onto the scene. The record represents an early interface of Prog and Punk rarely to occur in following years, at times making In Spite of Harry's Toenail compelling listening with a band torn between the mellifluous machinery of Caravan or Gentle Giant and the insistent, raw spirit of The Stooges (Peter Hammill anyone?). And like much good prog rock, the album is a journey wherein we're never exactly sure where we are along the path.

An impressive and promising first cut, ten-minute 'Long Live Man Dead' pounds alive with a ragged overture picked up by brisk jazz beats and Colin Goldring's nasal caterwaul, but slips easily into the humid and slow second movement with a dire chant from one pissed-off minstrel. The band's delicate acoustic instrumentations usher in 'Peter', a cautionary Folk number in Greensleeves clothing. Obsessive 'Snails' sports building riffs, clattering crashes, insanities, narcoleptic wanderings, paranoid delusions and atonal splittings as it careens towards its brutal finale, and 'Time and Space' soothes the pain a bit afterward, transforming into a big rock number rumbling through. Noble steel strings of 'Who Spoke', and the title opens on solid vocal harmonies slowly churning awake with a little blues, Blackmore-esque guitar lines, and eventual destruction in a stampede of noise.

A thoroughly fascinating piece of work, particularly for a smaller band in 1972, Gnidrolog's In Spite of Harry's Toenail should be tried at least once by every serious progoholic if only for its audacity to attempt what other prog artists simply wouldn't.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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