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Supersister - Present From Nancy CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.01 | 192 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I had just finally got in to SUPERSISTER. I was aware of this group for ages, but for some reason, I never got any of their stuff until now. Just the name SUPERSISTER might be enough to scare any self-respecting prog rock fan, as someone stated, you might think they were a black female disco group or one of those mellow '70s rock groups like Player or Pablo Cruise. Luckily all that isn't true about SUPERSISTER, and one thing, they pre-dated disco, and were instead one of the finest prog rock bands to come out of the Netherlands. I heard they were a Dutch answer to the Canterbury scene, and after hearing "Present From Nancy" they are right. They are frequently compared to CARAVAN, but CARAVAN tended to be much more accessible, and SUPERSISTER tended to be much more twisted, like many of the other Canterbury bands.

The band consisted of keyboardist/vocalist Robert Jan Stips, flautist Sacha van Geest, drummer Marco Vrolijk, and bassist Ron van Eck. The band didn't feature a guitarist, but the heavily fuzzed organ (that brings to mind Mike Ratledge or Dave Stewart) more than makes up for that. The title track brings to mind SOFT MACHINE circa "Third" especially became of the piano and the drumming that's very much like Robert Wyatt. "Memories are New" is a great vocal track with a strange, Krautrock-like experiment in the middle. "11/8", which I presume is the meter the song is played in, features some electric piano, and parts of this reminds me of MATCHING MOLE circa Little Red Record (although MATCHING MOLE had yet to exist, and as everyone knows, Robert Wyatt was still with SOFT MACHINE). "Corporation Combo Boys" is another vocal track with references to Frank ZAPPA's "Mothers of Invention", letting people know one of the band's influences. "Mexico" is a more aggressive number, a bit KING CRIMSON-like but with that heavily fuzzed organ. The song remains like this until the vocals kick in and the band gets jazzy. "Metamorphosis" is an odd piece with this strange choppy fuzzed organ, when then segues in to "Eight Miles High", which is 20 seconds long. This is not exactly an excerpt of the BYRDS song, but rather the BYRDS song combined with George Gershwin's "Summertime", in other words the song goes, "Eight miles high, and the living is easy". I really liked the organ and the psychedelic vibe that went with this short piece. There are also two rather moody experiments that seem at odds with the rest of the album, that is "Dreaming Weelwhile" and "Dona Nobis Pacem". These are basically experiments with organ, the former also featuring flute. The latter has a rather sinister feel to it, and even a little chanting in Latin. Then unexpectedly this piece suddenly turns in to cheesy circus music that lasts about a minute, before fading and the gong closes the piece and the album.

SUPERSISTER sounds pretty untypical for a Dutch band, especially if you're familiar with such groups as FOCUS, EARTH & FIRE, ALQUIN, KAYAK, TRACE, and EKSEPTION. You might not get "Present From Nancy" upon the first listen, but it's a real grower, and it comes with my highest recommendation.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Proghead | 4/5 |


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