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Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus CD (album) cover

TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS

Spirit

 

Proto-Prog

4.11 | 123 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars West coast, man

I remember being disappointed with this album when I finally heard it. With the trippy cover and its reputation I was expecting something really mind-blowing in the spacey-psych tradition but what I heard was something far more conventional. Indeed Sardonicus is just another West coast California hippie-rock album blended with mild psych, jazz, and bits of funk and folk. The album fits well alongside the other California bands of the day, though for my money is less interesting than much Grateful Dead, Airplane, or even The Doors.

David Briggs, famous for his work with Neil Young, was brought in and you can hear his "refined roughness" all over the place?gritty music but a professional sheen. The album's themes are the usual counter-culture concerns of the day, the playing and singing more than competent. "Nature's Way" is a beautiful acoustic number, sad, longing. "Animal Zoo" is a cute dittie like Arlo Guthrie would play for the kids. "Love Has Found a Way" is a cool track with vibes and backward rhythms, along with some early Moog experimentation. Still, pretty tame stuff for 1970. I'm amused when people talk about this as a heavy Acid album when Piper and Strange Days were already three years old, and by 70 there was some seriously weird stuff going on, stuff that makes this album sound like backing music for The Brady Bunch by comparison. "Mr. Skin" is where they throw in some funky guitars and horns for yet another flavor. "When I Touch You" is nice and heavy. The album closes with "Soldier" which is a truly lovely song, almost a spiritual which connects emotionally like Procol Harum or a good Band song would. Very slow with some pipe organ in the background. Great ending.

Despite some very memorable moments the album does not excite me like an American Beauty or Strange Days, let alone getting into English stuff. That said, it's a good album worthy of three stars and it should please many rock fans provided you don't have the high expectation I had going in.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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