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Groundhogs - Split CD (album) cover




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4.03 | 66 ratings

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4 stars Sometimes pre-conceived notions can totally colour one's opinion and judgment. Thankfully when I first heard Split, I had no previous knowledge of the Groundhogs, and was therefore not expecting a blues album; nor a progressive album either. So I listened to the album with a totally open mind and my how I enjoyed it. Some believe the Groundhogs to be a blues band, but with the intense style of guitar that Tony McPhee introduced me to and the sparse use of synthesised keyboards too, I always thought of Split as Progressive music, first and fore most. I certainly belongs in the pages of this site for sure. In many ways it is progressive in it's purest form, that is to say that it has qualities that no one else had used before. One can never accuse McPhee of being derivative. His blistering finger work on this LP is what makes Split so special. Side one is totally sublime rock with edge. The lyrics bear close scrutiny, being somewhat autobiographical. By the time the listener gets to the close, one can almost feel one's reason slipping. While the first track on side two is often considered to be the Groundhogs at their best, I find it a slight dip from the masterfully superb Split Four. From there things continue to decline. A Year In the Life is too short and Junkman is a definite space filler especially toward the end when McPhee does get totally indulgent with the feedback and electronics. The final track is blues; yeah. Listen to it though and compare it to the rest of the album and it seems somewhat dislocated and really should have been on Blues Obituary (earlier Groundhogs album).

I pause to remember, however, that there are only three Groundhogs on this album and what a lot of noise they make. There is no where to hide in a trio and the combination certainly equip themselves handsomely.

So; whilst Split is not consistent and certainly tries too hard in places, side A makes the acquisition of it a must. The four part Split is musical nirvana. How many LP's are brilliant all the way through anyway? You may disagree and like side two better? There is only one way to find out; explore the Groundhogs today, you will not be disappointed.

Roxbrough | 4/5 |


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