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EGG

Egg

 

Canterbury Scene

3.68 | 161 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Xonty
5 stars Egg's debut album is one of my favourite Canterbury albums. It displays great levels of musicianship from the 3 very talented members Mont Campbell, Dave Stewart, and Clive Brook, all of which are very underrated performers in the prog rock world. The band isn't shy to be entirely experimental in their musical direction, which could have alienated them from larger audiences, and are therefore a truly innovative progressive group. They explore many different approaches to creating music, and use the album as a subtle 2 fingers up to their classical forefathers and instructors. In addition to this, jazz and psychedelic music are very influential to the album, and teamed with excellent compositions, they produce an outstanding signature sound to run throughout the work. Very sophisticated and matured, yet still managing to hold onto a rhythmic and powerful rock feel - not getting bogged down in lifeless snooty drivel, the likes of which they are trying to get away from.

"Bulb" is an extraordinary way to begin the band's back catalogue, and immediately proving their experimentality and willingness to work with intriguing effects to the listener, and setting them distinctly apart from the guitar-brandishing "Good Times Bad Times" of bands like Led Zeppelin. Lasting only a few seconds, takes you more or less straight into the first real song: "While Growing My Hair". A quite psychedelic piece, displaying the signature tone of Egg's pulsing organs, pianos, percussion and a definite bass line blending with a unique and unconventional voice by Mont Campbell. Also introduces delicious chord progressions and time signatures that can be heard all through the album. "I Will Be Absorbed" is more airy piece, like a more laid-back "Growing My Hair" with a more provident and offbeat rhythm. The track creates a lovely texture for your ears to relax and indulge into, with some very echoing vocals and lyrics that are just pretentious enough for my liking. It reaches more fiery rock climaxes, proving its worthiness as a rock album more than anything else, and just a great track!

"Fugue In D Minor" is a great cover Bach's famous organ piece (beautifully underplayed here) with some fantastic tones resonating through the speakers, plus a sort of liquid touch when the keyboards are played, and a basic drum beat and bass line to once again keep it directed to rock music. I love the simplicity of it, and the prominent reverb that I believe should have been included more on the album. A brilliant contrast to their next track: "They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano". This is one of those pieces that just seems to connect with (me) and only me. I actually find it incredibly emotional and vivid, especially when the electric tears enter, almost testing how easily distracted you are from the blissful piano playing. One of the most played songs on my iPod apparently, probably because there's so many notes in those 2 separate instruments of indescribable relationship and I constantly have to hear it again to work it out furthermore. Just tremendous and so key to the album - my favourite track.

The next piece (can't be bothered to type out that title :P) is musical insanity at its best for me; feels like you're trapped inside one of their overly-talented brains trying to escape. Those monstrous keyboard chords coming over that rolling bass line on the intro takes you straight out of the odd tranquility of the last track and into something heavy again, with any spectacular riff to back Campbell's very progressive lyrics and melodies. Goes through a crescendoing middle section, reminiscent of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man", but surprisingly more organised in its chaotic nature, expressing youthful rawness in a very well-written and developed manner. Afterwards, a very experimental "Boilk" enters, showing all sorts of muffled and destructively offbeat tunes that acts as a brilliant prelude to the final piece of the work...

"Symphony No. 2" is very musically demanding to play and write; therefore wins me over as an early progressive rock epic! The first movement immediately exhibits this virtuosity, especially in those crazy time signatures. I must have heard it about a hundred times but I still can't nail the rhythms anywhere near as easily as ELP's "Karn Evil 9" for example. After covering "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" with legendary talents by ALL of the instrumentalists working together in an magnificently well rehearsed manner to play this very underrated rock symphony. The Second Movement enters with more twisted melodies than the relatively "sweet" ones of the first. Some more astounding effects are present here, and the track goes off on an eccentric tangent to say the least. "Blane" is then one of my favourite "non-musical" tracks of all time! So indulgently experimental, and very few actual notes, and such a majestic chordal appearance arises from the noodlings about 5 minutes through. The Third Movement (on CD editions) acts as a nice 3 minute break from the demented dissonant musical ramblings of "Blane", and sets you up splendidly for the similarly remarkable 4th movement. Retreating a little more towards blues roots perhaps, and more discernible tunes than previously on the album, with some solos to show off their capabilities to a more accessible audience. Unfortunately, ends rather suddenly on 2 blasted chords, acting as an anti-climax in sorts. Of course, still an absolute progressive masterpiece, and their best album by far, in my opinion.

A(-): Undoubtedly one of the most dexterous albums of this post-psychedelic era, employing all sorts of musical devices to produce a timeless yet somehow extremely underrated album.

Bulb: **** While Growing My Hair: ***** I Will Be Absorbed: ***** Fugue In D Minor: ***** They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano...: ***** The Song Of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous (Or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas): ***** Boilk: **** Symphony No. 2: *****

Xonty | 5/5 |

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