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Egg - The Polite Force CD (album) cover

THE POLITE FORCE

Egg

 

Canterbury Scene

4.11 | 262 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Fans of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, especially those looking to dip a toe or two in the Canterbury scene, could do no better than experiencing Egg's The Polite Force. I quite admire Dave Stewart's approach to the organ; while it's less flashy than the likes of Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, it has a glossy and charming element. On this record there are some bizarre tonal experimentations to be found, most of which I do not care for, but others may. Overall, this is a marvelous album and an absolute must for the organ lover.

"A Visit to Newport Hospital" The Polite Force begins with a menacing, plodding tone that suddenly morphs into smooth organ-led symphonic music. The dynamic bass playing complements the downy organ passages perfectly. There's some sparse, inoffensive vocals and occasional blasts of fuzzy distortion. The layers of sound congeal into psychedelic excellence. The main theme is one of the most amazing passages in progressive rock.

"Contrasong" With odd rhythms and brass, this is something like "Bitches Crystal" if early King Crimson performed it.

"Boilk" "Boilk" is the most glaring flaw on this diamond of an album. It is an experimental thing that opens with the sound of water. The piece proper starts off enchantingly enough, with low organ and distant church bells. Unfortunately, it adopts fluttering noises with a Mellotron tone that's pitch is manipulated in painful ways. Further directionless noises follow. Those who appreciate the stranger side of avant-prog will not view this as a failing, but for me, the album is worse for it- a real pity. "Long Piece No. 3, Part 1" The first part of this suite has a jarring and disorienting character. Like ELP's "Tank," it is both melodic and full of discord, but highlights the drumming.

"Long Piece No. 3, Part 2" The second part returns to the more palatable music found in "A Visit to Newport Hospital." There are, however, plenty of adventurous melodic twists throughout the opus. The main motif in this is fantastic, almost rivaling that of the first track.

"Long Piece No. 3, Part 3" If forced to draw a comparison, I would consider this the predecessor of "Karn Evil 9, Third Impression" by ELP; this third part has a refreshing fusion of harmonic intensity and drive while remaining compositionally sound.

"Long Piece No. 3, Part 4" The final moments of the album are a symphonic Canterbury treat, with pulsating rhythms and organ.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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