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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 1786 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars One of the most lopsided albums in the history of prog. Make no mistake, the "Tarkus" suite is one of the defining moments of progressive rock, with Emerson's Hammond organ playing and highly inventive layers of Moog continuing on admirably from the first album, building their legend. It's not only their best extended piece, but it also shows that they could do long-form original works and do them well, showing that they were about more than rocked-up classics.

Still, there is the matter of the B-side to contend with.

It's not a total wash. "A Time And A Place" is a nice attempt at writing a new version of "Knife-Edge" based on original themes, and if it has any sort of fault it's that it's too short. And "Infinite Space" spotlights some wonderfully dissonant (he loves that tritone!) piano playing from Emerson. Unfortunately, you have to make your way through the dull, Bach-sweetened church organ ballad "The Only Way" to get at it. The infamous ELP bad lyrics rear their ugly head here, but not for the first time. That dubious honour goes to "Bitches Crystal", a morass of detuned toy-box piano and embarrassing screaming vocals from Lake (who is many things. A hard rock vocalist is not one of them). And the less said about the lame, unfunny "joke" songs that bookend the B-side, the better.

Sadly, it looked like the B-side was to become the rule rather than the exception for ELP in the future. Bad precedent to set, guys.

Progbear | 3/5 |


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