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FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT

Family

 

Eclectic Prog

3.50 | 68 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Having burst onto the British rock scene with 1968's eclectic psychedelic debut 'Music In A Doll's House', Family, a group who have always defied easy categorisation, performed a characteristically abrupt about-turn with the release of this follow-up effort 'Family Entertainment'. Issued in 1969 with sleeve art directly parodying The Doors 'Strange Days' album, this sophomore release for the most deliberately eschewed the acid-rock overtures of its predecessor, instead producing a more song-orientated album that reflected the various band members love of folk, blues and rock 'n' roll. A veritable melting pot of ideas, 'Family Entertainment' may just be the most atypical of all Family albums, showcasing the rich and unique mixture of styles that saw the group positioned alongside many of the same era's progressive rock acts. The progressive rock tag is, of course, rather misleading, yet whatever genre you may think Family inhabit - whether it be art-rock, acid-rock or psychedelic blues - there is no denying that this one of the few outfits capable of producing an utterly original sound thanks to the winning blend of Roger Chapman's throaty vocals and the multi-instrumental talents of his bandmates. Whilst 'Music In A Doll's House' certainly leant towards the more lysergic end of sixties rock, 'Family Entertainment' instead serves up a colourful jaunt through a veritable mix of sonic territories, taking in rustic ballads, avant-garde rock stomps and bluesy pop numbers to name just a few. Highlights include the rousing fan favourite 'The Weaver's Answer', a tune which would quickly become a live staple; the brassy, head-nodding 'Hung Up Down'; the jazzy and atmospheric 'How-Hi-The-Li'; and the mid- Western cowboy drawl of the delightfully bouncy banjo-strummed 'Dim'. Its a heady experience, and like many of the best records this gets better with each additional listen, the dense instrumental passages constantly throwing up new surprises for the eagle-eared listener. A true original then from one of the great cult groups, 'Family Entertainment' is best described as an album full of character and charm; although it may not be progressive rock per se, this is still inherently progressive music chock full of creativity. In a word: excellent. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 4/5 |

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