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Jeff Wayne - The War Of The Worlds CD (album) cover


Jeff Wayne


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 184 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Ulllllllllaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! the popular refrain goes.

This album is a unique blend of sensible progressiveness, dramatic rock-opera, musical-esque theatrics, and symphonic structures, with smatterings of dance, rock and disco. It's a very ambitous effort with a lot of compositional strong points (i.e. repeating themes, catchy riffs, and designated vocalists). Wayne's time as a producer obviously enabled him to witness and absorb a host of musical ideas and styles, which he showcases here in the form of a popular story, H G Wells' 'War of the Worlds'. The loyalty to the book is phenomenal, and Burton's narration is an essential ingredient to aid the flow of the album; his role as the journalist brings every scene together without disturbing the music itself or becoming like an audio-book. The main significant tracks are all rather lengthy, some to an unneccesary degree but most with the extension working in their favour. The primary 'theme' of the martians crops up again and again, as does some of the other motifs, providing musical cohesion and adding more weight to the narrative. The characters and musicians all play and sing well, even if a little overenthusiastic at times (it is all very theatrical, *David Essex*...) and Wayne himself orchestrates and directs the congregation well.

The symphonic element works well; unlike some other orchestral rock operas I can think of, and the only main issue I have is the disco rhythm section, but given the era I think it's largely forgivable. There is some considerable filler too, but it's often neccesary to the storyline and I guess couldn't have been easily removed. The production can be summed up with one number: 1978 (Bee Gees, anyone?!)

Nobody has ever replicated the weighty style of this well-developed double album, including Jeff himself; it makes for some very interesting listening. There are a wealth of musicians and singers, all of which handle their respective role brilliantly. Including of course, the obligatory Ray Cooper, who is on every album ever.

thehallway | 4/5 |


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