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Supersister - To The Highest Bidder CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.25 | 228 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars After a very derivative debut album, the mighty sibling came back with a very different second album titled with a very macho Highe$t Bidder (you read well, no typo) and the gatefold artwork depicting a female goldigger's profound motivation. No doubt that every cliché is based on its foundation of truth, but surely a minimum of chivalry is not too much an effort to produce and such denouncing is not only necessary, but superfluou$ in its offensive approach, but this is RnR. Recorded and produced of the summer of 71 and released in fall, this album was previewed by two few singles (one is on bonus on the Esoteric Record re-issue) to keep the fans waiting.

Starting on a 10-minutes version of the single release a few months before, A Girl Named you explores Caravan territory and wits (or obsessions might be a better word, knowing Pye's tortuous mind) and brings out much Stips' electric piano, but he's also toying with a mellotron and harpsichord. The following No Tree Will Grow (also a single) is built on a drone evoking/reminiscing some of Robert Wyatt's most poignant later works. With Highe$t Bidder SS becomes groundbreakers rather than followers. Indeed this organ drone underlining Stips' piano and Van Geest's vocals is impressive. As the first side died out on severely demented laughs, nothing was to prepare us for the flipside.

A loud metronomic bass drums accompanied with a rare electric guitar (rather rare in SS), then Sacha's saturated flute, which would finally first hasten the bass drum and then liberate the tune from it with the help of Stip's organ then electric piano, finally leading into the first verse. The 15-miss Energy (Out Of The Future) is a killer track that hesitates between Egg, The Nice, Soft Machine, Caravan with Sacha's high perched flute and his dubbed filtered-though vocals talking much of the attention, but it's really bassist Van Eck and drummer Vrolijk's moment. The dronal final-section leads directly into the short closer Higher, a charming under 3-mins tidbit riding on a bass flute and distant piano.

The re-issue (with a great booklet featuring the history and pics) boast the first two tracks in shorter single edits, which we might have done without, but they shed a different light onto the said longer versions. Much more interesting is the Missing Link B-side, with the binary bass line dictating the beat and structure. The other B-side is a goofy fourth-degree Zappa-like track worrying about the Groupies Of The Band, which is neither interesting nor funny. The album was a hit with John Peel and he gave them an introduction on the British market, even releasing the album on his Dandelion label, adding the She Was Naked single to the album's track list (strangely not present in any form in this issue). The group would head out to a nearby European tour, later appearing in a German TV special with an orchestra (thus previewing some of their next album's works). TTHB sold quite a bit and was nominated to the Dutch-equivalent Grammy. Had for me to recommend just one of their first three albums, as all three have their own merits and none surpass each other.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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