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TOUCH

Touch

 

Proto-Prog

4.04 | 68 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Touch formed sometime during the mid-sixties and, despite rubbing shoulders with some pretty big fish during their brief tenure as an up-and-coming band(Jimi Hendrix was said to be a fan) fate, fortune and luck seems to have been very much against them. An American outfit featuring former Kingsmen alumnus Don Galluci, Touch would issue just one fairly unsuccessful album, a self-titled affair, eventually disbanding before the 1960s were out. It's an album that has certainly grown in stature over the intervening decades since it's release in 1968, and it's fair to say that 'Touch' is one of the earliest examples of progressive rock to appear on either side of the Atlantic, coming across very much like a kind of Yankee version of Procol Harum and featuring a sound part influenced by the then burgeoning psychedelic scene, though much of the music is of a rather complex and curious nature that pre-figures the likes of Genesis, Yes and King Crimson. Very much a stand- alone release style-wise - this is nothing like the progressive rock produced by such leading American acts as Kansas, Styx and Journey - 'Touch' is genuine oddity that takes several listens to truly grasp. It's also an album that hasn't dated especially well, with a sound based around eccentric vocal harmonies and busy keyboards, strange lyrics and jerky rhythms. The album's real downfall, however, lies in a maddening lack of melodic invention, making this another entry into the 'interesting-yet-flawed' category of supposedly 'lost classics', albums that became obscure for a very good reason. Released on CD for the first time via Mark Powell's usually terrific reissue label Esoteric Recordings, 'Touch' is a frustratingly overwrought mixture of early prog meanderings, theatrical pop, and colourful, Brit-style psychedelia featuring perhaps too many ideas for it's own good. To put it simply: there is a genuine lack of memorable tunes. Only on the album's twelve-minute closer 'Seventy Five' does the group manage to work up a proper head of steam, yet even this is a composition flooded with overwrought instrumental passages, crudely stitched together to create an unconvincing whole. Those with a sincere interest in progressive rock's early days may find Touch's style more to their tastes, especially those who dig the likes of Procol Harum, Spring or The Byrds, though this is certainly no classic. Initially intriguing, and not completely without merit, yet ultimately 'Touch' is both frustrating and consistently unexceptional.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 2/5 |

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