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Eloy - Inside CD (album) cover

INSIDE

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.72 | 285 ratings

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Joolz
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars From the hard-rock of their eponymous debut, Eloy quickly moved towards a more progressive space-rock form in a revised line-up led by founding guitarist Frank Bornemann for their second album. Recorded in September 1972 and sounding like a cross between Hawkwind and Pink Floyd, Inside was at the time merely a moderate success commercially, yet in retrospect can be seen as an important achievement which deserved better support.

At its heart, Inside is constructed from a winning combination of melodic, semi-Symphonic Prog songs and lengthy jams. The core songs are not as complex as eg Yes, yet they display memorable melodies, typically inventive arrangements and meaningful lyrics. This side of Eloy's playing would be developed further on later albums, but here the jams impress more. Essentially these comprise mesmeric repetitive riffs played out by bass and drums while guitar and organ alternate improvised leads and rhythm support.

Bornemann's guitar playing is fluent and fluid, equally at home providing gutsy support or ripping into a solo, yet it is keyboard player Wieczorke who steals the show. With a classy performance, Wieczorke rings the neck of his trusty Hammond, sometimes angry and gritty, at others light and ethereal, pushing it to the limit in a way familiar to fans of Keith Emerson to provide most of the instrumental highs, even when chugging along as ostensible support to Bornemann. The rhythm section of Stöcker and Randow do an excellent job in support, especially Stöcker's bass driving the jam sections forcefully yet rhythmically.

Inside was the first album on which Bornemann performed the duties of lead singer - and it shows. He would improve with age, and would learn studio techniques to assist, but here his vocals are unadorned and unsophisticated. I feel too that his decision to sing in English was perhaps unfortunate as his phrasing and diction are often way off the mark. I personally would have preferred him to sing in his native German, especially as the lyrics are typically enigmatic and open to interpretation, but I guess after more than 30 years these little quirks have become part of the fabric of this music.

The original album had just four tracks, beginning with dark and menacing astral travelling of 17 minute 'epic' Land Of No Body, primarily a vehicle for Wieczorke to take centre stage with his flamboyant improvisation and experimentation, taking in some riff-tastic themes and head-down grooves along the way. Brilliant title track Inside has a lovely tick tock feel, with a gripping sinister riff-theme before heading off into the stratosphere. Future City has a nice loping percussive beat and a guitar-led instrumental jam but is overshadowed by impending final track Up And Down, a classic Eloy combination of languid haunting spaciness, a seering workout dominated by fat overdriven organ chords, and a sublime laid-back slow-smoking bluesy-jazzy number.

Aside from odd bits of percussion and flute, the musical palette is restricted to a classic rock combination of guitar/organ/bass/drums. If you dislike the sound of a draw-bar organ put through its paces then you would be advised to be wary of this album. Otherwise, it must be considered an almost-masterpiece, only losing a point for its uninspiring vocals. Compared to later albums, Inside is rough round the edges and musically naive in places, but that is admirably countered by an endearing freshness and infectious energy.

Incidentally, the two bonus tracks on EMI's nicely packaged Y2K remastered edition are from a single recorded in August 1973. As with all the Eloy re-issues, the generic packaging design is fine, but sadly (for an English-only speaker) comprehensive liner notes are in German, though in this case an English translation can be obtained from the band's website.

Joolz | 4/5 |

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