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BANDSTAND

Family

 

Eclectic Prog

3.41 | 54 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars An odd but ultimately rather endearing little group, Family were always one of those outfits lumped in with the progressive group by dint of being a bit too different from everybody else. Calling them a prog-rock act is a bit like calling Hawkwind heavy metal; neither is particularly accurate yet they share definite traits of these respective labels. Besides, where else would you bracket Family? Starting out in the late-sixties, these not- quite-progressive-rockers introduced themselves with their excellent 1968 debut 'Music From A Doll's House', a psych-tinged medley of eccentric rock ingredients shot through with a deceptively complex instrumental edge that showcased the group's pure eclectism. It would prove to be a career highlight, although follow-up efforts 'Entertainment', 'Anyway' and 'Fearless' would also come close, respectively showing off the folk, jazz, pop and psychedelic elements that made their sound so attractively unique. With 'Bandstand', however, Family would pursue their ballsiest course yet, producing a hard-rock themed album that showed they could really rock out with the best of 'em, the opening salvo 'Burlesque' - all gritty, bluesy riffs and jump-start rhythms - kicking proceedings off in powerful style. Here, most of all, Family were producing a rare example of 'genre' music, grafting their eccentric style onto a bruising set of blustery tracks that exhibited a real spiky edge to their sound. It's one of their longer albums - thirty-seven minutes - yet it rockets by in pacey fashion, the stinging guitars of 'Broken Nose' and 'Ready To Go's tough veneer the perfect platform for Roger Chapman's wonderfully gruff vocals. 'Bandstand' may lack the lyrical undertones found in their best work - think the pretty simplicities of 'Fearless' or the odd time-signatures and acid licks of their debut - yet this is still Family in full flow, exhibiting a rare streak of rock solid power that showcases yet another side to their highly singular sonic character. Definitely the last great Family release, 'Bandstand' is an impressive ode to the bluesier side of prog.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 4/5 |

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