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Procol Harum - Grand Hotel CD (album) cover

GRAND HOTEL

Procol Harum

 

Crossover Prog

3.88 | 209 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Grand Hotel" is the 6th full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Procol Harum. The album was released through Chrysalis Records in March 1973. The band did not release a studio album in 1972, but instead released the live album "Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra". And it seems the band have taken a particular liking in the symphonic element, because the use of symphonic elements is continued on "Grand Hotel". The last couple of studio albums were more blues rock oriented, so "Grand Hotel" is generally a very different sounding release.

The music on the album is still unmistakably the sound of Procol Harum though. Gary Brookerīs strong voice, distinct vocal style and melodic and memorable vocal lines are as always thecenter of attention, but if you focus on the instrumental side of the bandīs music there are great things to be discovered too. The music on "Grand Hotel" is probably the most progressive oriented on a Procol Harum album since "Shine On Brightly (1968)". The guest appearance by The Pahene Recorder Ensemble provides the music with the above mentioned symphonic element and fans of symphonic prog rock are recommended to check out this album. There are 9 tracks on the album which are all well written and for the most part quite adventurous. In the most challenging department we find the title track with itīs grand sound featuring classical orchestration, choir singing and a waltz section and "Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)", which in addition to classical orchestration also features the beautiful soprano voice of Christianne Legrand. The silly/jolly sounding "A Souvenir of London" which features a rythm which is played with spoons and lyrics that can almost only be interpreted as being about venereal disease, wasnīt an instant hit with me, but even that track has grown on me and has become a decent listen. If anything, itīs nice for the variation on the album.

The musicianship is excellent on the album. The dominant piano and the extensive use of organ has always been trademarks in Procol Harumīs sound and those features are as dominant as ever on "Grand Hotel". The departure of guitarist Robin Trower has meant that there are fewer bluesy licks in the music but new guitarist Mick Grabham is a good replacement whoīs playing style to my ears actually suits Procol Harumīs music better. The rythm section are very well playing too. Drummer Barrie James Wilsonīs energetic style is a real treat.

The production is professional and very well sounding. Itīs by far the most well sounding production on the first six albums by Procol Harum and all in all "Grand Hotel" is an excellent album by Procol Harum. It shows great progression and innovation from their last studio album (which was excellent too, but featured a very different sound and style) and fully deserves a 4 star (80%) rating.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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