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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Powell CD (album) cover

EMERSON LAKE & POWELL

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.14 | 292 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kirklott
4 stars This is a fantastic ELP album, chronically underrated by fans of the band. And while this 1986 release features a streamlined sound characteristic of the 80s, it also boasts a complex and satisfying progressive feel.

First, this is only two-thirds of the original Emerson Lake & Palmer, in that drummer Cozy Powell sits in for Carl Palmer (who was wasting time in Asia). But this effort reunited Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, the musical principals of ELP, and it brings back the sense of melody, group cohesion and sense of purpose that had been missing since 1973's "Brain Salad Surgery."

"The Score" opens the album powerfully, continuing lyrically and musically where Brain Salad Surgery's "Karn Evil 9" left off (Welcome Back My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends.). Next up is "Learning How to Fly," which is pleasant prog-pop, 80s style.

The terrific single "Touch and Go" is both proggy and catchy at the same time, featuring majestic keyboards and intricate bass. "Step Aside" is whimsical and jazzy, and recalls some of the best short pieces from ELP's early albums. "Mars - Bringer of War" is a satisfying reading of one of the coolest classical compositions of all time, from Gustav Holst's "The Planets."

Finally, this is the last album on which Greg Lake had a great voice. Somehow between this album and 1992's "Black Moon,' Lake's voice became deeper, huskier, and unpleasant.

There are only two reason why this album is sometimes bashed. First, it was released in the 80s. Some prog heads just don't believe that any good progressive music was released in the 80s, but the fact is the probably the most proggy album of the decade from any of the 70s giants like ELP, Genesis or Yes.

Second, Carl Palmer isn't on the album. It's true that Carl's inventiveness and precision are missed, but Cozy Powell brings in power and swing that are nearly as satisfying.

So again, this album is highly recommended.

(I can't comment on the two bonus tracks. Obviously the cover of "Loco-motion" is unlikely to be a great addition to the band's ouevre, and I'm not familiar with the other track.)

| 4/5 |

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