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Eloy - Chronicles I CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.57 | 59 ratings

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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 several 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 my guiding light, and be my proof...")

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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