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The Nice - The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack CD (album) cover


The Nice


Symphonic Prog

3.47 | 121 ratings

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Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars 1967 was quite a year for 'popular' music. This album was released the same year as other great prog and proto-prog albums like Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Days Of Future Passed and Absolutely Free. The Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham put this group together as a backing band for R&B singer P.P. Arnold. This is the only album to feature guitarist/vocalist David O'List. Of course this album introduced the world to Keith Emerson. The name Emerlist Davjack comes from combining the band member's last names.

A mix of psych-pop and proto-prog would be the best way to describe the music here. Although O'List is not the greatest guitarist or singer in the world, I miss his contributions on later albums. I'm reviewing the album without the bonus tracks. Two of those bonus songs, "America" and "Azrael", are amongst the best things The Nice ever did. "Azrael" in particular is a great psych rock song and O'List's guitar playing is greatly missed on the "Revisited" song from the 1969 album.

"Flower King Of Flies" is a psych pop song with harpsichord. Some interesting organ sounds and good bass during the guitar solo. That guitar gets sped up. Marching drums at the end. The title track is another psych pop tune with some harpsichord. This one has more classical overtones however. Good organ and distorted guitar. "Bonnie K" is a blues- rock song typical of it's time. Almost Cream lite if you will.

"Rondo" is the longest song. An instrumental based on "Blue Rondo a la Turk" by jazzman Dave Brubek. Throughout the song is a fast bass part which is steady, repetative and almost hypnotic. Good organ solo here. The guitar for the most part stays in the background. "War And Peace" is a R&B styled instrumental. Good drumming. Nice organ solo. "Tantalising Maggie" has awful vocals but good drumming. Some classical piano at the end.

"Dawn" is the best song and most forward thinking. Starts with eerie organ and some noises from the drums. All the vocals are whispered. Great organ playing and good guitar. Around 2 minutes is just drum sounds. I love the organ sound and dissonant guitar that starts around the 3 minute mark. Then some harpsichord. Ends with echoed whispering. The lyrics are poetic and creepy. "The Cry Of Eugene" is almost Floyd like, especially the vocals. Good sustained guitar. Lovely trumpet in the middle. Hypnotic organ near the end which gets faster and the song just cuts off.

A good debut album for 1967. This band, and Emerson in particular, will go on to do better things. "Rondo" and "Dawn" are the proggiest parts of the album and must have seemed ahead of their the time. A nice psych/proto-prog album but not necessarily better than other psych/proto-prog albums from the same year. A good listen if you want to hear some of the origins of progressive rock. 3 stars.

zravkapt | 3/5 |


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