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Klaatu - 3:47 E.S.T. [Aka: Klaatu] CD (album) cover

3:47 E.S.T. [AKA: KLAATU]



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3.32 | 106 ratings

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3 stars When this disc came out in '76, its sales were fueled both by the strength of its seven-minute single "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" (later to become an even bigger hit for -- gasp! -- The Carpenters), and by rumours that the album was the product of a covert Beatles reunion. Tales of the Beatles having gotten back together, of course, proved to be untrue (I won't go into the rather convoluted logic behind the stories), but "Klaatu" does contain many moments that are positively "Beatle-esque" in the vocal harmonies, melodies, eccentricity and intricate studio craft demonstrated. In reality, the band was composed of three Canadian session musicians (their names appeared nowhere on the album), whose substantial technical ability was evident to any listener.

The songs on this their debut run the gamut from excellent, longer pieces that fall nicely within the bounds of Prog ("Calling Occupants..." and "Little Neutrino"), to charmingly corny novelty songs ("Anus of Uranus," "Sub-Rosa Subway," "Doctor Marvello" & "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III"), to catchy pure-pop ("California Jam"), and one out-and-out rocker ("True Life Hero"). The lack, however, of a definable sound, and the fact that punk and new-wave were waiting just around the corner, would see Klaatu decline in popularity, and gradually fade unnoticed from the scene. By the time "Sir Army Suit" (which has some nice songs on it, and a great rocker in "Older") came out, the airwaves were being deluged by the sounds of bands like The Police, The Cars, U2, and Dire Straits, and few people were buying Klaatu albums anymore.

Nevertheless, this disc still merits the occasional spin upon my CD player, if only to revisit the halcyon days of my youth, when three clever, unknown Canadian studio musicians could briefly make us wonder if the Fab Four really had reunited. Oh, innocence! Ah, youth!

Peter | 3/5 |


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