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Cos - Postaeolian Train Robbery CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.20 | 122 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4,5 stars Really!!!

Cos came to be from the ashes of Classroom which had never released an album but they had recorded a few tracks (they are presented as bonus tracks to the first Cos album. Led by Daniel Schell and incorporating Charles Loos and especially angel-voiced Pascale Son, this group will release a bunch of absolute little wonders that every proghead must hear, even more so if you are into Canterbury music. This album was first on the ultra-small Plus label in late 74 in a red and yellow gatefold artwork, with a limited amount of copies, thus making it an ultra-mega-rare vinyl artefact. It would later get another release on EMI with the B&W picture artwork that you probably know from the Musea release.

Right from the opening title track, with Cos introducing themselves to you with all the fresh weirdness that only Belgian groups can, and Son's great wind instruments taking over right after it, you know you are in for a real treat. And plunge you in their world, they do, but I must warn you that there might not be a way out, not that you would ever want to exit this maze after getting trapped into it. Yes, fellow progheads, I said trapped!! Because Cos and I will leave you no chance to escape their kingdom of pure musical exhilaration. Oh, I will take no great part in this feat, but I will bait you enough with this review, that the only thing you will have to do is actually listen to the album and Cos will do the rest themselves. Hey Daniel don't forget the envelope with the unmarked used bills ;-))) I just wish!!!

Cocalnut is a slow developer but behind Pascale Son's moanings (and then superb scattings) the group is building a solid foundation with Loos's piano taking the spotlight from the background, and Schell pulling an excellent solo, but this is Son's moments. Her ability to use her voice as an instrument is simply astounding ranging from Wyatt to Kate Bush to operatic influences or even more like Barb Gaskin or Amanda Parsons in National Health (but preceding them by three or four years). Solo Vander-like drumming starts the third track, but this is only a starter as a Ratledge-like piano and a solid bass line are one the menu. Son's scatting is again at the centre of the group's success.

The funkier and jazzy Populi is a welcome interlude being a bit upbeat and tighter. Halucal is a short instrumental (even Pascale's voice needs a rest although she contributes winds) and is build on the Fender Rhodes. Coloc is a great closer with Loos in a lenghty solo, slowly being joined by a fuzzy bass (Hugh Hopper is not far) and then Son's superb voice meandering between clouds, sun and lightning and again Loos's fuzzy organs (sometimes Caravan meeting Mahavishnu or even the mystic Caravanserai) >>>> Awesome AND grandiose!!!!

Classroom's demo tracks (recorded for a possible CBS contract) are included as bonus tracks are just as worthy as the album and make this record an excellent value. The main difference (outside a very different line-up and a very present vibraphone) is that Pascale vocals have actually lyrics, and her singing-words are just as impressive as her scatting. La Partie D'Echecs is hilarious as she tells us that the white pawn of the chess game is lifting her dress and the vile bishop slayed her, the whole thing sung at such breakneck speed that one would've wondered if their 33 RPM was not spinning on 45 RPM (had this been ever released at the time of course). There are also some subtle Zeuhl influences in their music as they shared (as Classroom) stages with Placebo, Univers Zero, Zao and Magma. Sur Deux is a great instrumental concentrating on vibes and guitars. Achille is a rather lenghty but impressive exercise for Pascale and the vibraphone to make love to each other sonically.

Musea made a great job of reconstructing the group's history (if you'll forget that Karbok track omission) and with this album hold one of their greater achievements, the preservation of Cos' early works. However, it's just too bad that they chose to reissue the album without the original red and yellow artwork on the Plus label. This is truly of one those albums that define Belgian prog and it should belong in everyone's collection alongside Hatfield.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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