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Egg - The Polite Force CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.15 | 375 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
4 stars Egg. It can be a word utilized to describe: a nurturing shell that grooms creatures and provides nourishment before their eventual initiation onto the outside world, a symbolic representation of creation, rebirth, fertility and resurrection throughout numerous religions, and breakfast. In the world of progressive rock, it is also the name of one of the earlier outright progressive rock bands on the scene, and The Polite Force would remain their grandest statement.

Egg is another of those groups formed with a determined purpose that guitars are not an essential ingredient for creating rock influenced music. By means of occasionally unleashing some of the meanest sounding distorted keyboard passages, I do find myself enthralled by the busy-ness and sometimes sheer volume of the band to not feel as if a guitarist would've necessarily improved things. For a band with this much precision and technical ability, it could have been rather difficult to find a guitar player suitable for their skill level without being a complete egomaniac anyhow.

The opening track starts things off on an extremely high note with a foreboding dark keyboard passage that wouldn't have felt out of place on a doom metal album. Being as they are, the song soon twists into a more upbeat passage combining an unusually soothing sounding Hammond with, shall I say, exotic time signatures. The bass playing is exquisitely intricate and the drummer hones in these jazzy passages with tight rock flair to keep things from sounding too much like a fusion band. The vocals are pleasant enough and the lyrics are actually fun (a sort of life on the road deal) and add charm by being neither deep nor goofy. I swore I thought I was hearing a wa-wa guitar solo during an instrumental break the first time I played this beast, but yup, it was a keyboard doing an impressive guitar impersonation.

"Contrasong" keeps the entertainment factor way up there by almost sounding like a Blood Sweat & Tears from another dimension where the term "straightforward" doesn't exist. The trickiness of this track is mind-boggling at times and even trying to sing over this tune must've required considerable rhythmic skill.

Then we have "Boilk". It's basically an avant-garde piece that at times sounds suitably creepy and even gorgeous, but at other times it sounds too experimental for its own good and results in being a drag in places. From my own experience, these collages are usually much more fun to make than actually listen to, especially if it involves listening to someone else's weird creation.

The second side is a monstrous musical journey through all kinds of cool ideas, fantastic melodies, bizarre shifts in mood and structure alike, and just general zaniness at times. Some sections are a little more lasting in my head than others (at one point the epic does veer into borderline annoying atonal weirdness during Part 2) yet I never get a sense of unrest since so much is going on throughout the whole damn thing.

This is another of those albums that perfectly captures "the year 1970" sound I'm always looking for. It's influenced somewhat by the past decade while always looking ahead to the future decade, and there's a fair hint of unease and moments of darkness sprinkled within. Check it out.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |


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