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Family - Music in a Doll's House CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 178 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars In short: an absolutely unique & adventurous debut of (as early as) 1968. After buying this LP in '90 I was so impressed that I hoped Family would enter my list of prog favourites. Unfortunately all the other albums I've heard have been disappointments and in few years I got quite tired of listening to this too. But I still feel some speciality about this crazy album. The voice of Roger Chapman (a sheep-like vibrato!) fits nowhere better than here (with a possible exception of Mike Oldfield's 'Shadow on the Wall').

Others have described the music well (a mixture of psychedelia, blues, etc). I'm concentrating on those 'magical' moments I personally felt. Curiously all my favourite songs are only about 2 (and a half) minutes long. 'The Chase' opens the album wonderfully, setting the strange, haunting, dreamlike atmosphere. A pity you can't see the back cover picture, because it reflects the mood: an autumnal countryside landscape with grey fields and a wet road on which a doll wearing a pretty blue dress rides a toy bicycle. 'Mellowing Grey' is a soft but strong-mooded piece with Mellotron. Then comes very nice & hippy 'Never Like This' written by Dave Mason (TRAFFIC).

And then another personal highlight: 'Me My Friend'. Pure melancholy magic, as well as 'Winter' ("wish that I could hibernate, go to sleep and never wake, til the sun comes shining once again"). It's hard to explain how these tiny songs take you somewhere no other music takes you. The cover arts by Paul Whitehead (Trespass, Nursery Cryme, etc) or paintings of Balthus share a certain atmosphere. Not that the hilarious doll's house picture (band members included!) wouldn't be psychedelic enough for this album.

The second side always pleased me less than the first. It's more edgy, rough and noisy and partly makes my ears suffer. The 'proggiest' moments are probably in 'Peace of Mind/Voyage' that sounds almost like King Crimson at their most aggressive. But then the mellow ones 'The Breeze' - featuring a pizzicato Big Ben tune - and '3 x Time' leave a nicer taste. But actually the magic of Side One is mostly absent on the second side.

Matti | 3/5 |


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