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Spectrum - Breathing Space (EP) CD (album) cover

BREATHING SPACE (EP)

Spectrum

 

Crossover Prog

2.09 | 2 ratings

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sl75
2 stars Why has the name Spectrum been resurrected for a band that bears so little relationship to the original band? Yes, Mike Rudd and Bill Putt are both involved - but Rudd and Putt have never stopped working together, moving straight from Spectrum to Ariel, and then to a succession of later bands including Instant Replay, The Heaters and WHY, on solo and duo projects, before finally deciding to take the Spectrum name for a project that has no more relationship to the original than any of these other bands. When Ray Arnott left Spectrum in 1973, that was considered to be sufficient reason to break up the band, even though the rest of the lineup and the musical direction remained intact into the first incarnation of Ariel. The new Spectrum does not have Arnott, or any other early member, nor does it sound much like the original band. So why? Other than maybe it's easier to get people to gigs, or to buy new records, when the Spectrum name is involved? That's the only reason I can think of.

Spectrum have actually been back on the live circuit for over a decade, and have previously released two CDs under the moniker Spectrum Plays The Blues. This initial 'reunion' was a three piece, with no keyboardist (something else I don't understand, when Lee Neale's organ was the most distinctive feature of the original band's sound). By the time they got around to recording the Breathing Space series, they had a keyboard player, but in contrast to the 'fiery' style of Neale or the multi-keyboard layering of John Mills, this guy is so self-effacing you barely notice he's there. The writing is low-key adult-oriented rock. The only time it starts to sound at all like the old Spectrum is on "Second Coming", during an instrumental break where the organ briefly cranks up (albeit with little more than some held chords) while Rudd plays the kind of hypnotic more-with-less guitar solo he was famous for.

It is good to see Rudd's humour is intact - in the song "I Play My Guitar" he notes "you say I play my guitar like I make love to you". Considering how famously self-deprecating he is about his guitar skills, this is pretty funny - especially since he gets former Ariel colleague Tim Gaze to play the solo! (And fine playing too)

The EP is not without its charms - but if you're looking for the Spectrum of the 1970s, you'll be disappointed.

sl75 | 2/5 |

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