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Earth and Fire - Earth and Fire CD (album) cover

EARTH AND FIRE

Earth and Fire

 

Symphonic Prog

3.35 | 48 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars One of my favourite debut albums, the self titled `Earth and Fire' LP is a riff-heavy, guitar and organ dominated pop rocker with powerful male/female vocals. While the band would later become a more sophisticated and symphonic progressive rock band, at this point they were more of a psychedelic acid-rock unit, like a crunchier version of Jefferson Airplane, with brief Pink Floyd-like hazy atmospheres. Every track has a punchy and energetic sound, female lead singer Jerney Kaagman is a commanding, tough (while still remaining very feminine and sexy) and hugely charming focal point of the group. There's so many catchy riffs and psych touches scattered amongst the tracks, all full of memorable melodies and rough charm.

From the opening seconds of `Wild and Exciting', hard rocking riffs and Jerney's confident vocals punch you straight in the face! A melodic opener that grabs your attention right away with it's power, a catchy and addictive rocker full of wailing guitar solos!

The upbeat `Twilight Dreamer' is hazy and psychedelic, with a stoned acoustic guitar and male/female diversion in the 'There comes Lydia...!' moments! Lovely shimmering organ, and I especially smile in the quiet cymbal and flute breaks.

Cheeky `Ruby Is The One' is a kind of super-sexy lesbian anthem - or at least that's my interpretation of it! A kick-ass adrenaline charged pop-rocker with a killer chorus and a sleazy strut, no surprise it was picked as a single from the album, backed with an equally naughty B-Side `Mechanical Lover'!

`You Know The Way' is all over the place! Beginning with eerie chanted male vocals, the song soon drifts into a dreamy and reflective acoustic ballad with a superb lead vocal from Jerney. Her words are sadly romantic, but with just a hint of slightly more upbeat moments when electric guitar and organ drops in.

The riff heavy `Vivid Shady Land' is one of my personal favourites, with aggressive groovy guitar and forceful male vocals. The middle section is very influenced by late 60's/early 70's Pink Floyd with mournful organ and spacey guitar effects creating a very floating and ambient break. I love the awkward English translated lyrics like `Leaves all smashed on the river side, the trees are burning and they're crying bright', and the upbeat `making love with our minds' chorus bit! It's all full of very uplifting energy.

Both `21st Century Show' and `Seasons' feature Jefferson Airplane/Peanut Butter Conspiracy duel male/female vocals. The frantic guitar driven `Show' has maddening organ, pumping bass and rapid-fire drumming before a jazzy acoustic detour in the middle with beautifully atmospheric flute.

`Seasons' heavy acid pop sound has grumbling bass with a very moving solo spot about three minutes in where it's just Jerney, flute and acoustic guitar together. Her lovely wistful vocal carries the song through to a thoughtful conclusion.

The dirty sexy strutting 7 minute `Love Quivers' has more chunky riffs, machine-gun drumming, playful group vocal chorus outbursts and two mind-blowing spacey organ outbursts that will knock you down - think those early albums by Eloy, Jane and Grobschnitt for similar organ attacks! The whole band gets lots of loose jamming standout moments on this one, and it's probably the piece that most hints at the symphonic progressive direction the band would next head in.

The album ends on a lovely acoustic acid folk ballad `What's Your Name' with fragile male vocals and gentle flute. Positive vibes all around this one.

Although I'm reviewing the LP version, many of the CD reissues have lots of terrific bonus tracks (for once!) that highlight their shift from psych/acid/rock to a more progressive style. `Hazy Paradise', `Mechanical Lover', and the Mellotron fuelled `Memories' are especially impressive, and they compliment the debut album perfectly. In my opinion, the bonus material is strong enough to stand as an album all it's own. So as much as I'm a vinyl junkie, definitely look into one of the CD releases.

Fans only familiar with the later albums from Earth and Fire should not be dismissive or put off by the different sound present on this one. The album is full of terrific playing, exciting arrangements, hugely charming vocals and boundless energy. Every track heads in different directions, there's a real toughness and sense of fun to the performances, and fans of 60's acid rock and psych will finds lots to relish here. To my ears it's an essential album that truly showcases a band with so much promise and potential, and it's one of the first albums I think of recommending to new listeners. Along with Curved Air's `Air Cut' album, `Earth and Fire' is one of my favourite female fronted prog-related albums, and I love spreading the word about this high quality debut, a total classic in my opinion!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |

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