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The Web - Fully Interlocking CD (album) cover


The Web


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.49 | 38 ratings

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3 stars The 1968 debut by this UK Jazz Rock ensemble (true to form, with 6 musicians and a vocalist), Fully Interlocking came at a time of what I would consider the first, best defined peak in progress in music, with the advent and even popularity of Art Music represented in Rock and Pop at large. 'The Jazz', for the most part, is not in full form at this point for The Web. I had first listened to this nearly 2 years ago, so I was pretty intrigued how I'd feel nowadays. Plenty of interest was to be found on their 1969 follow-up to this, Theraposa Blondi. [This will be a review of the 2008 remaster, including its three bonus tracks.]

It all begins with "City of Darkness", a song with a backbone that is the 1960s distilled (if I may be permitted to say something so bold). It is (unsurprisingly) soulful, informed like many other Brits by mid-century R'n'B, and lightly if not playfully psychedelic. Ironically, this is a song of sunny disposition. Lovely baroque to fade. We very much remain in this decade still on "Harold Dubbleyew". It's a bit silly, and altogether not my thing, nor all that progressive (even for this era in popular music). This is the song where I first felt what I rediscovered with my last review: you may be hard-pressed to actually enjoy vocalist John L. Watson. There are moments that are in his strongest suit, yet that warble is very distinctive.

Watson turns to croon to us on the very lovely, simple and folksy tune "Hatton Mill Morning". The way this song closes out is with a highly ominous drone, almost like the sound of planes overhead, ready for battle. Suddenly we enter "Green Side Up", our first outing with Jazz full-blown. With the buzzing tone of Tom Harris' sax and the eclectic rhythms, this track reminded me of early Mothers of Invention. Delicious early Jazz Rock to my ears. "Wallpaper" is up next, and this is a very memorable number. It's got hooks; something like Sunshine Pop combined with Jazz and Folk Rock and... like around minute 1, a quirky Edwardian(?) march. This isn't going to be for everyone, especially if you're here specifically for Jazz Rock or Fusion, but for me this is a surefire highlight. The simple theme, so to speak, from "Waaaall - paper in my rooooom" continues under the happy guise of a lovely string ensemble.

We're back to Edward's England on "Did You Die Four Years Ago Tonight?", another great Proto-Prog track! Very old-timey, ya know? Underwater vocals? Anyways, regardless, a whole lotta fun on this'n. Is "Watcha Kelele"... offensive? haha. I'm kidding, but still, quite the intro. Foreshadowing some of the more exotic sonics of Theraposa, what I've assumed then too as African folk music. Harris whips out the flute on this one to a nice match. This does seem to look ahead, to a decade and more after, ultimately to what I believe is Worldbeat. It all comes to a screeching halt as elephants blow and huff and snort. In a rarer side of Popular Psychedelia, like if Blood Sweat & Tears and The Left Banke had a child, "Reverend J. McKinnon" has booming rhythm section, piercing horns and keyboards most bright. All that and this absolutely awe-inspiring orchestration.

Up next, "Sunday Joint" is a quick 2 minutes. First I've thought this listening, but this is pretty similar to maybe The Graham Bond Organisation or The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Very nice Rock'n'B? This is followed by "War of Peace", sitting at a then-gargantuan 10 minutes. Wondrous introduction, and a Graeme Edge level whisper-monologue [a most sincere R.I.P]. Chilling moments of quiet interspersed with raucous, regal pomp and far-off sounds of what is most likely targeting the Middle East (thanks, Obama /s). We get confirmation of this in one way with the opening line: 'East meets West in a never-ending fight.' Again, chilling, I feel actually especially now, in part given a much keener eye on Imperialism at large. I'm glad I went back to get the line right (additionally since the lyrics were weirdly difficult to find online), [but really] because this build up starting around minute 3, again not unlike Moody Blues on Days of Future Passed (1967), is excellent. Sound the alarms; the bombs have already begun to drop. Met with those are crashes and bangs from the drums. A truly wonderful effect that I'm surprised I've not heard more (therein, truly unique to this time; awesome!). We get a whole bunch of emotion, though mostly seen through melancholic and thoughtful orchestration and composition. Additionally, this is very much its own thing for this album, the original closer. Quite the mini-epic.

The first of our three bonus tracks, "I'm a Man" is a badass tune... Good god. Super cool. This shares the same roots as BS&T and Bond and Co., as mentioned before, but also Jimi Hendrix and Cream and the Yardbirds. Beefy, ballsy Rock. The horn section and warm production are just cherries on top. "God Bless the Child", as made popular by its writer, Billie Holiday, is up next. Very nice, well performed rendition. I'm still blown away by this killer production. I think I sincerely took that for granted through the album. Spicy and daring enough to give it an individual-track rating of 4/5. Finally, we get a surprise indeed, I remember quite well now, their sweet, dear cover of the Bee Gees' early hit "To Love Somebody". Good feelin's all around.

Grateful for this revisit! I'm feeling good, in fact, if you know what I'm sayin', so I'm seriously grateful haha.

True Rate: 3.5/5.0

DangHeck | 3/5 |


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