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THE COLLECTORS

The Collectors

 

Proto-Prog

4.02 | 24 ratings

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friso
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Collectors - st (1968) * review #300 celebration! *

The Collectors came as a surprise for me, the record was given to me and it was said to be 'very good'. Now, there are many good very good records from '68, but there aren't many that can really be called progressive. This remarkable album has a full-blown progressive vision with many inventive ideas and breakthroughs. Of course, Zappa had already done crazy stuff, The United States of America would release there perhaps even better debut, The Doors had done some ground-braking work in '67 and King Crimson was almost ready to go in the studio, but still I find this album a very rewarding achievement for it's year of release.

So, what's so special about this record from Canadian soil?

It has superb song-writing with intelligent use of unusual chord progressions, it has an adventurious (as in the better sympho-prog) sound and it has an epic with of 19 minutes which shows the boundaries of what is possible (at the time). All this sounds very seventies-like, but the sound is clearly that from a sixties beat-band/psychedelic-band on fire. Perhaps a bit like the Beatles, some Doors, yet different. The vocals are amazing. Lead vocalist Howie Vickie has this huge voice, at times reminding me of Jim Morrison in his use. The back-up vocals are brilliant and harmonically challenging. For those who liked the Beach Boys, this is even better.

1. What Is love (3:45) The opening track is a peaceful introduction of what's to come. Some important elements of the epic on side two (with almost the same title) are played. Still this short track has a sympathetic nature.

2. She (Will Of The Wisp) (3:45) This is were the progginess begins. This is a very adventerious song with an up-tempo sound. The melodies are inventive and the vocals are amazing. The heavy acoustic guitars sound great and the rhythmical developments are refreshing and psychedelic.

3. Howard Christian's Older (5:10) This song has a folk-approach with a nice acoustic intro. The vocals tell a story about a very special boy with mysterious powers. The song develops in a rock-song with fierce vocals and a mystical sound. The melodies of the vocals are brilliant, unexpected notes over already special chords. Actually, this song is quite psychedelic and the ending is strange.

4. Lydia Purple (2:45) This song also has a folky intro (with a flute) and playful guitar/vocals theme. Extremely catchy, very nice psychedelics from the sixties. The second voice is magical on the second couplet. In the middle of the song there are some more folky moments with a string-section and some flutes. The third couplet also has a third voice which is utterly brilliant.

5. One Act Play (3:40) Perhaps my favorite. This graveyard type ballad with it's dark and serious mood is just amazing. The composition is among the best of every song written in the sixties. The many chord-progressions that all have an impact combined with these spooky vocals are very effective. So, ever wanted to listen to doom-psychedelics from the sixties?

6. What Love (19:15) One of the few full-blown epics of '68. More daring than Procol Harum's In Held was I, The Collectors explore a lot of moods and atmospheres. The opening section introduces the question 'What is this Love?'. No emphasis on romanticism, but an almost desperate question. After this the song develops into a church-like pastoral moment with nice combined vocal efforts. Later in the song moments of serious aggression, psychedelics and avant-garde are apparent. Though it's a strong epic, the ending section could have been a bit more substantial. A conclusive (and perhaps melodic) ending-section could have made it even better.

Conclusion. I love these early albums that are so expressive and ground-braking. This is an album that should have been far more influential then it was. This is a record that should have a place in all our collections, it's not just a collector's item. The song-writing is monumental and bombastic and the epic on side two is indeed very brave with it's moments of extreme aggression. Four and a halve stars would be appropriate, but since Sean Trane also came to this conclusion and gave four, I'll compensate by giving five stars. Ah, what the heck - this is a masterpiece! Recommended to every-one interested in psychedelic rock, early progressive rock and the development of the genre itself. Furthermore this is one of the most important Canadian releases of the sixties.

friso | 5/5 |

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