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Man - 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.38 | 65 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The second album by Welsh Psych-Prog band Man, 2 Ozs. of Plastic with a Hole in the Middle (a simple, yet clever title), was also the second of their albums to be released in 1969 following their debut, Revelation. Many recognize this year as a major turning point for progressive music, signaling the slow departure from the Avant-garde-inspired Art Music explosion within the Psychedelic movement from '66-'68, toward the longform Romantic-Classical stylings of what we now know as early (Symphonic) Progressive Rock. With the establishment of this latter compositional form, from bands like The Moody Blues and The Nice, more and more eclectic combinations occurred, resulting in such important, groundbreaking albums like In the Court of the Crimson King, Uncle Meat (The Mothers of Invention), Hot Rats (Frank Zappa), Abbey Road, The Chicago Transit Authority (Chicago), Tommy (The Who), Trout Mask Replica (Captain Beefheart), Monster Movie (Can), Phallus Dei (Amon Duul II), Valentyne Suite (Colosseum), Volume Two (Soft Machine), Mercator Projected (East of Eden), Sea Shanties (High Tide), Family Entertainment (Family), Deep Purple, Songs for a Tailor (Jack Bruce), blah blah blah, so on and so forth... Anyhow, I'll get off my weird, history-obsessed soapbox and onto the actual review haha.

And even in 1969, what a remarkable thing to not only start off one's album with a 12 minute song, but then filling out the remainder of side A with an 8 minute song to follow! In this first track, "Prelude / The Storm" , instrumental piano balladry is married with shimmering guitars, which frankly sounds surprisingly modern! When you know how Paul McCartney did it in '66, you have to wonder if they found new ways to resemble echoing seagulls haha. Psychedelia certainly shan't be damned here. Wondrous, lovely music. In the fourth minute, we crescendo to heavenly heights. A little Progressive Folk Rock perhaps? It really grooves! So much to love. Nothing in this stormy prelude could prepare us exactly for the very contemporary Blues Psych bombast that is "It Is As It Must Be", and really, can't we just all agree on this one thing? /s. What a turn! And here we also get the equally of-the-time vocals of... someone... and the beautiful, clear-as-mud fuzz tone from lead guitarist Micky Jones (no, not guitarist Mick Jones of The Clash, nor guitarist Mick Jones of Foreigner). Even in this very timely Blues Rock, we have just plain excellent performances all 'round! The rhythm section is ablaze and all the lead performances are exemplary; I really enjoyed the track, yet I must acknowledge the lack of proggings [and in this, it is certainly not alone].

Onto side B! We now have "Spunk Box", and with this title my mind goes places, but with the lyrics... Is he horned up and ready to go, or is this guy severely suicidal, or just going to off himself because of...? The results, I can imagine, could vary [picture a toothsome, though cringing emoji here; thanks]. Either way, weird, if not straight-up not good lyrics. Fun, though, somewhat reminiscent of Led Zep early on, and then after minute 3 we get a shocking lot more (not sure how to describe it other than 'lilting')! I mean, it's not not Prog haha. "My Name is Jesus Smith" is up next, which feels like yet another contemporary sentiment. These folk seem to share distinct fondness for American musical idioms as John and George Beatle (of the infamous Beatle Family Band). A spruced up Rock 'n Roll is here, matched nicely with close Pop Rock vocal harmonies and a beefed up rhythm section (one definite consistency here). Still in these Americas, as we approach the end, we get more or less some Appalachia, with Country-Western affectations and... ok, I'll stop talking out of my ass haha. I'm on to something with that, though.

As we approach the end, we get the Baroque-flavor interlude(?), "Parchment and Candles", which once again lilts, this time to the sound of soft, right-panned harpsicord. Love it! These are the sort of tracks I love to randomly happen upon in a shuffle of songs. Understated, perfectly short. This is followed by "Brother Arnold's Red and White Striped Tent", a second moment of admittedly harsh juxtaposition; gritty Blues Rock with ringing lead guitar and a marching backbeat. The title doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? All falls away to a really fantastic solo section of Hammond and electric guitar, the latter sometimes resembling what we might identify with Tony Iommi later on. It was good, but another [in fact the weakest] lull in everything this album could have been.

I'm giving it an awfully optimistic True Rate of 3.5/5.0. Its high points were awfully high, despite it not fitting within the Progressive idioms discoverable in those great, momentous albums listed above. I regret nothing haha.

DangHeck | 3/5 |


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