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Raw Material - Raw Material CD (album) cover


Raw Material


Eclectic Prog

3.52 | 50 ratings

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Retired Admin
3 stars Arriving a tad late to the party...

I´ve read a fair amount of Van Der Graaf Generator references regarding this band, and if I´m perfectly honest - I don´t hear anything other than both bands feature a saxophone player and maybe the odd falsetto vocals. Kindly sponsored by Colin Catt, these vary from mellow and sweet singing - to the more distressed and theatrical falsettos that he veers into, when the music gets stomping and rocking. Still a long way from Peter Hammill though... If anything Raw Material proved that you could play rock without having the focus strictly placed on the guitars, just as VDGG did, but saying the two sound alike is like saying that bananas and strawberries look the same. You know with the yellow peel and all...

Consisting of 5 blokes with a leg and a half stuck in the late 60s, this debut revolves largely around blues rock a la The Yardbirds with alternating tempers and moods, disguising the distinctive heritage of what some folks here 4 decades later on have decided to nail down as proto-prog. Ok I´ll bite. The guitars in play here have that clean and bluesy sound, which I really love, and are often used as an additional rhythm instrument. Along with the rhythm section, that sounds like something out of the US psychedelic West Coast scene, the feel of Raw Material is much more of a 60s band trying to convert their sound to the wild and adventurous new decade. That doesn´t mean this album isn´t good though, because it is, but if you´re looking to find the next Van Damme Generator, then you´re setting yourself up for disappointment - big time(I know I did...).

My favourite thing about this release is the way the organs sound. Especially when they are accompanied by some dreamy vibraphone work. You´ll pick this up on the opening cut as well as on Future Recollections, which incidentally also are my top picks. Both tracks ravel in a hazy sort of mystique, that only magnifies itself with these sweet lullaby dreamings cooked up by the interplay of these 2 instruments. If the band had pursued this fantastic spacey asset of theirs, and stuck with a more mellow approach, I honestly think they would have broken through the magical barrier that separates the Crimsons and Floyds from the Springs and Happy the Men. Raw Material are at their very best, when they work within the moody atmospheric, and what these conjure up are slow, meditative and pensive psych sections that just takes me away. Pitted against the rockabilly tendencies of the album, i.e. Pear on an Apple Tree - with screaming stuttering rock n´ roll piano and Chuck Berry like guitars - I certainly know which side of Dr. Jekyll I prefer...

The flute and sax playing on this album is wonderfully cheerful, and whilst being several nautical miles from the great Jackson both in terms of progressive gasoline and overall dexterity, I genuinely like these small windy touches - that brings with them that warm and humane feel to the mix. They are always melodic and not far away from the Sunday sermons you´ll get from the neighbour´s house held parakeet. Phh - phhheiw - phheewwiii!!!

If you like the sound of the late 60s - a big boots n´ reefer rockabilly boy rooster teaming up with windows to dreamy horizons of delicate and soft psych cockadoodledoos, then you could do worse than tracking this small gem down. It isn´t fancy, but it´s like your old worn jeans: Comfy, - ready for all occasions and maybe hiding a tiny bag of wizard´s tobacco.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |


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