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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Powell CD (album) cover

EMERSON LAKE & POWELL

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.15 | 307 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

clintonb
4 stars I didn't even know this album existed until I happened to hear "The Score" used as part of a figure skating routine on TV. I was thinking, "wow, that's a cool song". It sounded somewhat familiar, then when I heard Greg Lake's voice I asked myself, "is this ELP?". I eventually tracked the album down, and I'm glad I did. To me, this is easily the best ELP album since Brain Salad Surgery.

This is a stream-lined ELP for the 80's. The hyperactive, virtuostic, chops-fests of the early ELP albums are not to be found here. The Hammond organs and Moog synths have been replaced with modern-sounding keyboards with lush string pads. The songs and sounds are symphonic, majestic, lush. This is Keith Emerson as a one-man orchestra (their cover of "Mars, The Bringer of War" really brings that point home). There are keyboard solos, but they are nothing overtly flashy, they just simply serve the song.

Robert Fripp once said that the drummer basically determines what type of band you are. I don't know if that is true in this case or not, but Cozy Powell's simple, heavy- handed drumming serves these songs very well. Carl Palmer's hyperactive top kit technique of the early ELP albums would sound totally inappropriate on this album.

The energetic, symphonic-sounding track "The Score" starts the album. It quickly leads into the slightly more poppy-sounding "Learning To Fly" which then flows into the more sombre, doom-laden, yet still symphonic sounding track "The Miracle". This is a great sequence of songs.

Next comes "Touch and Go". As others have said, this was the "hit" off of the album, or at least it was the only track I've ever heard on the radio. To me "Touch and Go" is to ELP as "We will rock you" is to Queen. I swear I've heard this melody before, in a Scottish or Irish folk song perhaps? I could see this song being played on bagpipes. I could see someone making a rap version of this.

"Love Blind" is really nothing special, a lush sounding pop-song. Nice keyboard solo.

"Step Aside" is a nice mellow jazzy number.

To me "Lay Down Your Guns" is the only weak track. It sounds like a love-song ballad with anti-war lyrics. It seems a little cheesey to me.

The album closes out with their cover of the classical piece "Mars, the Bringer of War". It starts out quiet and slow martial rhythm and gradually builds up in volume and intensity and finally ends with huge sounding "orchestra" accents. A perfect track to end the album.

The quality of the album is pretty consistent. There really isn't a bad song to be found here. One might miss the virtuostic displays of the early ELP albums, but I don't miss them because the compositions on this album are pretty strong.

I am also impressed with the song sequencing. Starts out with high energy, then gives you a breather with some more laid back tracks, and then builds back up with a rousing finale at the the end of "Mars, the Bringer of War".

| 4/5 |

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