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Eloy - Planets CD (album) cover

PLANETS

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.99 | 456 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A planet plagued by "greed, vanity, egoism, wars and atrocity"? What a strange idea!

The 1980 release "Colours" was not received with the usual enthusiasm by Eloy fans. While the music was well performed, the album as a whole was lightweight, with commercial leanings. Band leader Frank Bornemann took these criticisms to heart, and decided that the band should record another full blown concept album. He duly came up with a story, working with Sigi Hausen on the lyrics and the rest of the band on the music. The project came together quickly and successfully, and Eloy found themselves with sufficient material to put together a double album (based on LP lengths that is). While the record label was delighted with the band's enthusiasm, they felt that it would be best to release the resulting tracks as two single albums. Thus this album "Planets" appeared in 1981, and the other half of the project "Time to turn" appeared in 1982.

The story is centred on one particular (fictitious) planet called "Salta", which is Earth like with humanoids called Ikareens. The planet is visited by supreme beings and darker forces leading to inevitable problems. As you will gather it is all in the best traditions of all things prog, the story on this occasion even justifying a full narrative in the sleeve notes.

Musically, after the brief lapse with "Colours", "Planets" finds the band continuing to develop the prog side of their music with swaths of synths, complex arrangements and imaginative lyrics being the order of the day. Once the brief instrumental "Introduction" has set the scene, "One the verge of darkening lights" offers the first of the finely crafted symphonic prog pieces. The segue into "Point of no return" is seamless, the two tracks knitting together to form a fine 11+ minute whole.

Lyrically, the album is quite intense, with tracks such as "Mysterious monolith" being verbose. Even here though, plenty of space is found in the fully developed track for some superb multi-part synth. "Queen of the night" sets out as a softer ballad, but features a raucous female vocal driven chorus with strings accompaniment. There is an Ayreon /Star One feel here, the track being somewhat more commercial than its peers.

The Pink Floyd reference may be somewhat obvious in the title of the instrumental "At the gates of dawn", but this beautifully constructed track feels more like a Tony Banks (Genesis) piece than a Floyd one. "Sphinx" continues this Genesis interlude, the distinctive rhythm and vocal passages being very "Squonk" like. The album closes with "Carried by the cosmic winds", a fine prog title for a closing track. The plink plink opening is rather Oldfield like, and the song as a whole is a light melodic number.

In all, a full return to form for Eloy, who deliver an album of great beauty and majestic power. The concept album side is not overplayed, but helps the band to focus on maintaining a consistency which allow the album to flow superbly.

The remastered CD (beware of the dreaded "copy controlled" version with the dubious software) has one bonus track, a live version of track 2, "On the verge of darkening lights". This slightly shorter rendition is interesting, but far from essential.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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