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

EMERSON LAKE & POWELL

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.14 | 293 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars I was very surprised when, after 8 years without releasing a studio album, i had a ELP new tape cassette from a friend. Even more surprised when I realized that the P was not Carl Palmer. I didn't know actually who Cozy Powell was and my first impulse was to give up to listening to something which was apparently a commercial operation....finding a drummer beginning with "P"...

But it was not so bad. I think it's clear that using "To the show which never ends" as chorus of the first track is quite a marketing operation, but the symphonic prog of "The Score" is exactly that: symphonic prog in that style heavily influenced by Aaron Copland but with a lot of rock and the stupendous vocals of Greg Lake which are a band's trademark not less than Emerson's keys. A good start indeed.

But what next? "Learning To Fly" is opened by a sound which doesn't have anything to do with Emerson. The first two minutes of the track are a disconnected 80s episode that Lake's voice is not enough to make interesting. Of course there are hints of the past glory, especially in the short keyboards solos, but I would have preferred a shorter album than having to skip this song.

A song which fades into "The Miracle". Also this one can't be mentioned as a song representative of the band even if it's not bad as the previous one. Also this pays a tribute to the epoch but it's not too far from the Lake's side on Works vol. 1. Acceptable.

For me a folk-oriented song like "Touch and Go" with Lake on his "hard" side like on "Living Sin" has been a good reason to later purchase the album. Just a three minutes song, but also "Lucky Man" and "From The Beginning" were just song. There's some electronic in the middle, of the kind used by David Gilmour the same year for "A Momentary Leapse of Reason" , but not as invasive as in the PF album.

"Love Blind" is one of the lowest moments of the album, instead. An 80s song which could have been sung, probably better, by Bonnie Tyler or Blonide....listen to this song and try to imagine....

"Step Aside" brings up the level a while. It's a jazzy song with some swing and Emerson's piano without falling in the usual ragtime. Much more better than "Show Me The Way To Go Home" on Works vol.2. More of that jazz, please.

"Lay Down Your Guns" is another Lake's melodic song which sounds like an anthem. I think it pays a tribute to "Jerusalem". Not my pot, really. It's a song that I'm used to skip but I can't say that it's absolutely bad, just too melodic for me.

The album is closed by the second truly symphonic track: "Mars, Bringer of Wars". It's an Emerson's orchestral. I really like Emerson's excursions into the classical music territory and I wish he had composed more true symphonic music like i.e. "Piano Concerto No. 1". As often happens, the orchestral works of Emerson are very close in the composing and arranging style to the "music for films" standards, but they are usually epic. This is Emerson how I like him.

In the end, what is disappointing is the alternance of excellent and weak moments in an album that was probably intended by the major as an attempt to relaunch and renew this dynosaur band, but where they succeed is where they are more adherent to the early things. Another album which shows how bad were the 80s for music and not only.

Half good, half rating but rounded up because of the goodies inside.

Powell? I don't hear big differences and I don't know if it's good or bad.

octopus-4 | 3/5 |

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