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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Powell CD (album) cover

EMERSON LAKE & POWELL

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.14 | 293 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The sole eponymous album by Emerson, Lake & Powell is the closest that the 70s symphonic progressive triumvirat of Yes/Genesis/ELP got to real progressive quality during the 80s. Almost but not quite, since this is not an Emerson, Lake & Palmer album, indeed - one thing for sure, the spirit that drove Emerson and Lake to write this material before summoning Cozy Powell to fill the room of an unavailable Carl Palmer is the same that made them create a big part of the magic instilled in their 70-73 albums. This is not an ELP album but it is more deeply related to the bombast and magnificent melodic sensibility of the "Tarkus" and "Brain Salad Surgery" albums than the "Works" volumes. Powell was a very powerful drummer, and he makes it quite clear in places, but it is also true that in this album he had the same predicament that Terry Bozzio did in UK's sophomore album "Danger MOney": that is, not being in position of delivering his whole individual stamina since he wasn't really a part of the creating process for the album's framework. On the other hand, this constrain allowed him to focus on sheer rocking power, which in turn helped to reinforce the most bombastic aspects of this repertoire. This is true about the amazing 'The Score', which comes to show how well the Emerson-style keyboard-centered art-rock could be somewhat refurbished by elements from 80s hard rock and sound revitalized instead of cheesy (like 75% of Genesis' 80s material) or overblown (like 85% of Rabin-era Yes' material). This is what the trio side of "Works 1" should have sounded in order to properly capitalize on the sort of apex that ELP had achieved during its "Brain Salad" days. 'Learning To Fly' is an interesting exercise on catchy prog rock with an authentic ballsy attitude: forget about what Howe-era Asia or GTR achieved in their respective albums, this song incarnates the key to good prog rock for the 80s with Billboard potential. But again, it is 'Touch And Go' that completely wins the prize in this area, and quite deservedly so: its recurrent fanfare is memorable even nowadays, fluidly displayed on a robust slow pace (many tremendous rockers by Zeppelin and Purple are quite slow, actually). The closer of the vinyl's A side is, IMHO, its pinnacle: 'The Miracle' represents a genuine blast of progressive rock's glorious past, and again, a symbol of all that was missing during ELP's late 70s era and only now was ready to surface. Bands like Yes, Kansas and The Enid would have killed to come up with something like 'The Miracle', so moving, so clever, so powerful. 'Love Blind' is less accomplished in artistic terms, but it remains a pretty catchy rock tune: it wouldn't have been out of place in Uk's "Danger Money". 'Step Aside' is a lovely song song on a jazz-pop tone, something like Sting's first solo sutdio album. Nice, but not as nice as the power ballad entitled 'Lay Down Your Guns', which is very majestic despite that it dangerously flirts with the sort of AOR sound that Foreigner and Journey used to do consistently. It is a lovely song, period. "Mars" is a topic of chamber music that could easily be adapted to a rock context, so it is not such a big deal that ELPowell would do it, but they did it and it's fine with me. Personally, the instrumental additions that Emerson came up with for the 'Locomotion' cover alone could have been a main motif for a terrific instrumental, perhaps the closer, but now I'm entering the erea of rock history sci-fi so I won't dig in further. My overall diagnosis is very positive for this album. As a whole effort, it is not as consistent as "Black Moon" (which was the real ELP reunion album), but its A side comprises the best material written by the Emerson-Lake duo after the 70s. 3.49 stars for this one!
Cesar Inca | 3/5 |

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