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Earth and Fire - Atlantis CD (album) cover

ATLANTIS

Earth and Fire

 

Symphonic Prog

3.35 | 69 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Although still a fine quality album, the third Earth and Fire album `Atlantis' is a little bit unmemorable and slightly dull compared to the stunning two albums that preceded it. The Pink Floyd and Jefferson Airplane influences have had a pinch of the dark majesty of King Crimson thrown on top, and although the album has a gorgeous production, typical talented playing and the usual fine singing from the stunning Jerney Kaagman, it all comes across as a little tired, as if some of the life has been sucked out of the band. Whereas `Song of the Marching Children' showed a huge progression and newfound maturity from the debut album, `Atlantis' seems like `more of the same that worked last time', even if it is still pleasantly listenable.

This time beginning with a side long piece, `Atlantis' is full of imperial sounding guitar and constantly reprised Mellotron themes, jazzy and upbeat sunshine folk, Genesis-like reflective flute and skipping organ, hazy ragged psychedelic pop and grand orchestral arrangements. Lovely Jerney sounds so confident and varied on this! But although certainly ambitious, the piece sounds like a bunch of fragments joined together with no real cohesion or purpose. All those fragments individually sound fine, but it's more like an unsuccessful attempt to recreate what they did so well on the long title track from the previous album. It also has a total dud ending, with no big work up to a suitably powerful climax that the piece really needed.

Despite lovely thick organ, funky wah-wah guitar and a stomping drumbeat, I don't have much love for `Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight'. I find the chorus extremely cheesy, so it's lucky there's some nice instrumental moments in the brief Brian May/Queen inspired guitar solo in the middle and a little Mellotron in the finale. Not my favourite of their poppier pieces, and I usually really dig those.

Better is `Interlude', a loving restrained and tasteful Mellotron breeze with gentle Pink Floyd-like guitar touches. Truly wonderful! `Fanfare' fades in from this piece with slightly threatening Rick Wright styled organ and downbeat bass, a ghostly and serious vocal from Jerney calling from the background. Slow and heavy commanding guitar riffs punch through the dreamy and sinister Mellotron fuelled atmosphere. There's mucky circus trumpets and snapping percussion similar to King Crimson's `Lizard' on this one too!

The Koerts brothers provide us with another terrific (but far too short!) instrumental in the brooding and dramatic `Theme From Atlantis', full of regal churning heavy guitar melodies. The album wraps on the pretty `Love, Please Close The Door' which alternates between Crimson `Cadence and Cascade'-like dreamy ballad and quirky upbeat diversions. It kind of awkwardly hangs together, but the placid classical acoustic guitar and affectionate vocal from Jerney disguise what is a rather messy and strung-together piece.

My LP copy is actually called `Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight' and confusingly swaps the first and second sides! The fact that this version is named after the catchy single from the album suggests the record company was really pushing the album based on the hopeful success of that piece! I wonder if it worked?

Although not as good as the previous two albums or the next one `To The World Of The Future', `Atlantis' is still a solid progressive album by a wonderful band. By all means add this one to your collection after those other three, and you'll still have a good quality work that compliments them well, even if it lacks a little of the true Earth and Fire magic.

Three stars nonetheless!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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