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Pavlov's Dog - Pampered Menial CD (album) cover


Pavlov's Dog


Crossover Prog

4.07 | 386 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars In the late eighties I became increasingly aware of lesser known prog rock bands. Like most I was familiar with and a fan of Yes, Genesis, Rush, Pink Floyd, ELP and King Crimson(in other words all the usual suspects). At some point I began to wonder what else was out there and was made aware of a few more bands when my ex stepmother gave me a copy of the harmony encyclopedia of rock. There were plenty of well known bands in there and a few lesser known ones. In the back of the book were even more lesser known bands. I would scour through these entries and look for the words "progressive rock." One band mentioned was Caravan. Another was this US band who were(if I remember correctly)mistakenly identified as being from New York. Pavlov's Dog were actually from St. Louis. One of my cousins is from that US city and actually knew people who knew the band(she herself having met them on one occasion). Of course I knew about them from this rock book. I then purchased a two on one record album of the first two Pavlov's Dog albums from a mail order music catalog(I have no idea which one since this was a very long time ago).

When I first put the needle on the vinyl on the first song("Julia") I thought I had it on the wrong speed. This is because David Surkamp has an unusually high pitched voice. I have even seen the band referred to as Blue Oyster Cult on laughing gas. This aspect of the music is one that people will either accept or be turned off by.

The songs themselves are rock and even hard rock with lot's of blaring mellotron. There is also synthesizer, violin and great guitar work. First up is the aforementioned "Julia" which is a rather meloncholy mellotron drenched power ballad. After that we get "late november" which is a bit more rocking with the refrain "it just goes to show you never know, what's in your heart what's in your soul." This album is just pure seventies all the way with not just the sound but the lyrics. Next up is "song dance" which has a very catchy guitar riff possibly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin or even early Rush although not really sounding much like either one of them. The next track is "fast gun" which has a very infectious ascending violin and keyboard melody with David Surkamp's often shrill voice leading the way. Rounding out side one of the album is "natchez trace" which is another up beat rocker. The first two tracks on side two "theme from subway Sue" and "episode" are a bit more subdued(especially "episode")and provide a bit of a respite from the more intense tracks from side one. Next up is the instrumental "preludin" which seques neatly into what is probably the most epic sounding track on the album, "of once and future kings." This last track features a section with vocals that are a bit lower in register than the rest of the album and is probably from one of the other singers on the album(although I haven't found any information to confirm that).

Overall, this will come across as an unusual album to most who hear it for the first time due to the falsetto sounding vocals of the lead singer(according to a close source this was his natural range and not falsetto). Depending on your tolerance for the vocals you will either like this album a lot or very little(if at all). While I do find them to be an aquired taste they are something you get used to if you give the album enough time. I often like music that is a bit on the wild side anyway so I had no real issue with it. A solid four stars from this reviewer(although as mentioned your taste and tolerance will depend on your acceptance of the vocals).

AFlowerKingCrimson | 4/5 |


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