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Eloy - Chronicles I CD (album) cover

CHRONICLES I

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.58 | 50 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Krautrock snob in me has a bad habit of sometimes looking down his nose at the more traditional models of German Progressive Rock: TRIUMVIRAT, NOVALIS, WALLENSTEIN et al. And unfairly, too, since the best Continental proggers offered a refreshing alternative to the sometimes stiff upper lips of their better known English role models.

But the music of ELOY is and always was a textbook guilty pleasure. The band was one of the most popular German exports in Prog Rock's pre-Punk golden age, so why does their heavy guitar and synth sound always call to mind a Teutonic variation of SPINAL TAP? Maybe it's the enthusiasm of their recycled arena-rock clichés (flying V guitars, laser light shows). Or the grade school cosmic surrealism of their album cover art. Or maybe it's band leader Frank Bornemann's weakness for epic pseudo-fantasy subject material, spinning more than one concept album around the mythical lost continent of Atlantis (compare that to the Tap's hastily aborted Stonehenge song-cycle...remember the dancing dwarves?)

All joking aside, Eloy was actually a chip off the fossilized post-"Dark Side" PINK FLOYD block, but with a higher level of energy and musicianship than anything the latter-day, Roger Water's-led Floyd could ever hope to muster. Listen to Bornemann's pitch- perfect plagiarism of a Dave Gilmour guitar solo in "Time to Turn", or the relentless juggernaut of "Poseidon's Creation", the pace-setting curtain opener of this compilation, and a tough act for any space rocker to follow.

This generous 1993 collection (clocking in at over 80 minutes) is one of a new breed of greatest hit packages, not merely remixed but entirely re-recorded, with old band members brought in to reprise their instrumental roles alongside the surviving Eloy duo of Bornemann and keyboardist Michael Gerlach. It's probably a better introduction to the group than some of their old, original recordings, although the squeaky-clean luster of the new, all-digital production lacks the natural warmth of the analog originals.

I myself bought a copy simply to refresh my failing memory of a band once represented in my High School record collection by at least two now forgotten albums. Hearing all those pounding chords again, and trying to decipher those gloriously dopey lyrics (sung, like a lot of German bands, in imperfect English) **, reminded me of why I must have discarded my Eloy albums in the first place.

But it also helped to re-establish a valuable, long-missing link to my precocious post- adolescence. And a guilty pleasure is, at the end of the day, still a pleasure. "Chronicles II", the companion volume of more recent Eloy songs, appeared in 1994.

** (A random sample: "Mysterious monolith you hide the truth...be my guiding light, and be my proof...")

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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