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Gracious - This Is ... Gracious !! CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 108 ratings

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3 stars Those searching for lost, forgotten or never known mellotron fests might want to detour via the sparse but impressive contributions of Britain's GRACIOUS. They followed up their uneven but worthwhile 1970 debut with...another uneven and worthwhile followup "This is Gracious!" a year later.

As before, GRACIOUS seemed unsure what they wanted to be - hard rock, blues, space rock, proto prog, psych, heavy, but they do it all in such an innocent exuberant manner that they easily surpass several contemporaries like FANTASY and CRESSIDA, and rival and in some ways eclipse the historic debut of SPRING, certainly in terms of edge.

The suite here comprises 4 distinct and barely related segments, the most interesting being the BLACK SABBATH like "Blood Red Sky" and the reverent if perhaps tongue in cheek "Prepare to Meet thy Maker". "C.B.S" is a grinding yet pleasing mix highlighted by simple organ and mellotron melodies. The group's best track, personal tastes somewhat aside, is definitely the sunny "Blue Skies and Alibis" which seems more original and groundbreaking than one might expect from such an obscure band. I do hear some ideas later explored by NEKTAR, and a quote or two from late 1960s psych, but this one is likely to please the vast majority of prog fans whatever their preferred sub genres or orientations.

It's hard to say exactly what the original track list was, as the CD re-issue contains a mellotron-acoustic guitar ballad in the vein of "Early Morning" by BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST or numerous MOODY BLUES missives from the then recent past. This had only been released as a single in its day. The CD compilation of both albums includes "What's Come to Be" which is more PROCOL HARUM-ish, but you get the picture either way.

I'm on the fence with this one but, although I often enjoy it a good deal, I would have been much happier had the group revealed some sort of real direction or game plan rather than expand on those of their myriad influences. At the risk of being graceless, 3.5 stars rounded down.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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