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Curved Air - Phantasmagoria CD (album) cover

PHANTASMAGORIA

Curved Air

 

Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 150 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Menswear
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Great Britain is my favorite country. I mean, come on, they have The Police, Genesis, The Beatles (my all-time favorite), Gentle Giant, The Who, ELP, James, Bass and Double Diamond (beer), Gryphon and Camel. Can you really ask for more? Well, you certainly can add Curved Air.

Yep, THE progressive band with THE girl who sings. I know, girls are not always welcome in the prog world, but this time, it actually fits. Sonja Kristina has a mysterious voice. At least, the way she uses it makes it mysterious. She slightly changes her voice throughout the album, depending of the feel of the song. Sometimes she sings tragically (Marie Antoinette, Melinda, Over and Above) and sometimes in a bit of Brigitte Bardot's way (Phantasmagoria). Great news, by now. Plus, a skilled violin player named Darryl Way. I knew this guy from Trace's second album called BIRDS. He obviously have an impressive classical background, and he uses his violin very well in almost every song. The song Cheetah is showing what he's capable of. More good news now! And the general feel of the album is comparable to...humm, Alice in Wonderland on an 'acid lysergic 25' trip? No kidding. Hey, who would really care about Marie-Antoinette, a woman of ancient France who got her head cutten by the Revolution? The theme of Not quite the Same is obvious, and I won't comment it! There's a small number called Ultra-Vivaldi, and it's..well..Vivaldi ultra fast.

More weirdness is coming in the second half. The title song (Phantasmagoria) is catchy and could easily been played in a horror B- movie called The Monster Club (from United Kingdom actually) or in an old Castlevania video game. Man, whatever those smoked in studio has to be prohibited! (maybe the studio's rug? cokcroaches? Licking african frogs?) It's a REALLY WEIRD album. I find it more funny than weird actually.

They had tremendously good ideas. Many songs are very STRANGE but the're actually clever, futuristic (track 7. Hear it and believe it was 1972...so advanced for it's time!) and catchy. And the keyboards uses are good, excellent I should say, from start to finish. Well, this band had it all. But, there's a major problem. This is THE example of how a good band can be ruined by...bad production. This album sounds muffled and choked. Too bad, because there's lots of subtilities and talent-showing (especially in the keyboards and violin) in the music.

For example, the harpsicord in Melinda More or Less is almost unaudible. More frustrating, many cool guitar and keyboards passages in Marie-Antoinette are inexistant unless you stick your ear to your stereo speakers (no kidding). Man, this is frustrating! Because we're missing a bit the feel of the album with this problem. Remains the songs, sometimes funny (Not quite the same), floating (Melinda More or Less), entertaining (Phantasmagoria), scary (Whose Shoulder are you Looking Anyway?), talent-packed (Cheetah), dramatically spinning (Over and Above). Lots of great ideas, humor, talent by the ton, voice by Kristina (ou la la), dazzling talent of Darryl Way (more ou la la).

I'm telling you, this record has it all....if you concentrate enough to bypass the production.

Menswear | 5/5 |

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