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ANDROMEDA

Andromeda

Proto-Prog


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4 stars Good to see this album on ProgArchives. A real expensive rarity if you can find a first press vinyl. As usual it has been reissued several times. Many editions have various amounts of bonus tracks: see the complete discography for details of those.

This lp, for a 1969 recording has really stood the test of time. Featuring the excellent John Cann on guitar before his stint with ATOMIC ROOSTER, the album is full of great riffs in the typical BLACK SABBATH/DEEP PURPLE vain of the time. All tunes are catchy and go through various atmospheres. At times mellow and dreamy, other times more complex classically influenced that will keep the listener interested. It is a typical artifact that rests very neatly between late 60's psych and the harder edged early 70's prog sound.

Well worth a spin!

Report this review (#112186)
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Anyonewho is a fan of ATOMIC ROOSTER needs to check this album out. John Du Cann is the guitarist on this ANDROMEDA record and when it didn't become a commercial success he left to join ATOMIC ROOSTER. Both bands played a similar hard rocking style but ANDROMEDA were a trio with no organ. This band was one of the early prog bands as this was released in 1969. When I first heard it my initial reaction was that it sounded dated, but that really is it's charm. It does have a psychedelic flavour to it, but really this is often heavy, bordering on Metal at times. I can't believe how good this lead guitarist is though. A lot of times it's just a shred-fest. The bass is very upfront as well.

"Too Old" opens with some scorching guitar before the drums and bass join in on this uptempo rocker. The bass is prominant. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. More excellent guitar after 4 minutes. "Day Of The Change" is a mid paced tune that starts slowly. A fairly catchy, straight forward song. The tempo picks up 2 1/2 minutes in as we get some ripping guitar and throbbing bass. We're back to the original melody a minute later. Cool tune."And Now The Sun Shines" is a relaxing ballad-like tune. "Turns To Dust" is a more energetic track with vocals, as the guys play fairly behind him and over top of him. Haha. Check out the guitar after 3 minutes, and the absolutely blistering solo 5 1/2 minutes in.

"Return To Sanity" opens with marching-like drums as the sound starts to build as bass and guitar join in. It stops after 2 minutes as a new more relaxing melody arrives. Vocals after 3 minutess. The ripping guitar with pounding drums is contrasted with the relaxing passages to end the song. "The Reason" features aggressive guitar coming and going throughout. I really like this one. "I Can Stop The Sun" is a mellow track with fragile vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonies. "When To Stop" is the 8 1/2 minute closer. A powerful intro is replaced by a light melody of guitar, bass and light drums. Vocals join in. It gets powerful again as this contrast continues. I love the guitar before 4 minutes that trades solos with the bass until they join forces .Nice. The last section features Spanish sounding guitar melodies in a pastoral ending.

There are 8 bonus tracks.The first is significant "Go Your Way" as it was the first single the band released on RCA. I also really like the blazing instrumental "Exodus". An excellent record that may appeal to those fans of power trios. This is one of the earliest.

Report this review (#173044)
Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars ELP's Great uncle?

Anyone who has ever indulged in genealogy will be aware that the roots of the tree can spread far wider than the branches. So it is in terms of music and the relationships between bands. Andromeda (not to be mistaken for the more recent Swedish prog metal band of the same name) are a good example of how the perceived importance of a band can lie not in what they did themselves, but in their distant relationship with others.

It is fair to say that much of the interest generated by Atomic Rooster comes from the fact that Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake and Palmer was their first drummer. Admittedly, Atomic Rooster did manage a couple of hit singles and their albums are well respected by the select few, but for many it is Palmer's presence which causes them to investigate the band's work.

So with Andromeda, the main interest here is that John DuCann, later of Atomic Rooster, was the leader of this one shot outfit. Ironically, DuCann and Palmer were not in Atomic Rooster at the same time. Released in 1969, this self titled album was the only original album released in the name of Andromeda, who split up when DuCann was asked to join Atomic Rooster.

On to the album itself, and there is no doubt that the music here is ambitious, especially in view of the rudimentary line up the band in instrumental terms. The sole lead instrument is the lead guitar of DuCann, which combines with his vocals to provide the sound that prevails throughout. The feel is a sort of cross between Cream and Led Zeppelin, with lead guitar flurries and multi-tracked vocals driven by a heavy drums and bass combination. Inevitably there are also similarities with the work of Atomic Rooster, albeit devoid of the distinctive organ sounds of the band.

The tracks are certainly more than simply pop rock excursions, their structures and arrangements covering up well for the one dimensional nature of the line up. DuCann's guitar work is original and adventurous, showing little or no desire to pander to the demands of a singles centric public.

Three of the tracks here are long for the period, running to 7 to 9 minutes. Each is in three parts giving the impression at least of something even more complex. This is a bit misleading, although "Return to sanity" does have a quasi-symphonic atmosphere at times, in part due to the "Planets (Mars)"/"Bolero" like intro which builds the expectation in the first part of the track. Too soon though it is succeeded by something altogether more prosaic.

The overall feel of the album is, despite the apparent complexities, rudimentary; this is an album which flatters to deceive. Perhaps it is the underlying quality of the song-writing which is the issue here, the songs being built on shaky ground. Whatever it is, while I find the album to be on one level admirable and ambitious, on another I simply find it unremarkable. DuCann and colleague are to be congratulated on making the best of what they had, unfortunately they needed a bit more.

Report this review (#174276)
Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Almost a rockier, more forceful version of Steve Howe's Tomorrow, Andromeda rank amongst the very finest of British psychedelic groups that emerged during late-sixties, featuring a power- trio set-up that lends much of their material a heavy, gritty feel. Definitely a pre-cursor to the first wave of progressive rock and operating somewhere between the jocular pop-psych of Tomorrow and the dark, brooding menace of early Pink Floyd, Andromeda's debut is a first-rate slice of proto-prog featuring expansive song-writing, skilful interplay and some suitably incoherent sci-fi themes lyrics. Led by guitarist/vocalist John DuCann and also featuring Mick Hawksworth(bass, vocals) and drummer Ian McLane, the group's debut album is highly- recommended for those who prefer the slightly heavier side of psych, though the real surprise here are the strangely catchy melodies that adorn tracks such as 'Now The Sun Shines' and 'Turn To Dust'. The material becomes progressively more ambitious towards the albums second side - the eight-minute mini-epic 'Return To Sanity' features some powerful guitar-and- organ interplay spread over four interlocking sections - yet the group's real strength lies in their ability to insert carefully-hidden pop hooks into their rather avant-garde sound. Recommended to all psych fans, the only real disappointment is that Andromeda stopped after just one album, leaving this self-titled effort as the only proof of their sadly-truncated existence. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Report this review (#638901)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Andromeda was a late 60's band that had John Cann (later he joined Atomic Rooster) in their line-up. They only released one album, the self-titled and amazing Andromeda (1969) by RCA Records.

Andromeda (1969) comes absolutelly soaked in Blues Rock, Proto Prog and Psychedelia and is, in many ways, the precursor of some bands.

Andromeda is completely Proto Prog in songs like the amazing opener 'Too Old', 'Turns To Dust', 'Return To Sanity' and 'When To Stop'. In other hand tracks like 'Day Of The Change' and 'Return To Sanity' sounds as Black Sabbath. But remember that Black Sabbath only released their first album in 1970. I could say that Tony Iommi was very aware of this band/album while Black Sabbath was writting their first album.

Andromeda (1969) also comes with high psychedelic colors of course (just look at the cover) in tracks like 'And Now The Sun Shines', the Cream influenced 'The Reason' and the folk driven 'I Can Stop The Sun'.

What we have in Andromeda (1969) is a beautiful and raw (recorded in less than a month) Proto Prog album with Blues Rock and Psychedelic colors. Everything packed with an amazing bass playing by Mick Hawksworth (that also played with Fuzzy Duck), solid drums by Ian McLane and loads of great guitars by John Cann and good vocals.

My CD version is the Repertoire Records 1994 version and has 8 bonus tracks. Bonus tracks are 95% of the time, wasted time, a fan thing. They were not good enough to be on the original record and are still not good enough to be on re-editions too. Not different here. We have some good tracks like 'Go Your Way' and 'Let's All Watch The Sky Fall Down'. But the rest is pretty much forgettable.

Too bad the band didn't survived to record a second album.

Report this review (#1024498)
Posted Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This long-forgotten British album treasure from the late 1960's era has experienced something of a a revival with the advent of the Internet. The original vinyl album was released in 1969 and a new Definitive Collection 2-CD set was released in the year 2000, containing a wealth of bonus tracks. The album straddles the transitional period from Psychedelic Rock to Progressive Rock and this can be heard on the album with significant elements of both genres of music very much in evidence. The line-up features John Du Cann on vocals who later went on to achieve success with Atomic Rooster. The highlights of the album are the three epic 3-part songs, running at roughly 8 minutes long. The three lengthy epics feature beautifully melodious renditions of well-known classical favourites, cleverly combined with heavy solid rock to make a truly unforgettable rock album as a whole. Andromeda should appeal equally to fans of Psychedelic Rock and Proto-Prog.

The album opener "Too Old" is a real rocker featuring powerful ascending guitar arpeggios in the opening chords which really grab the attention and serve as a perfect opening to a superb album. There's an interesting change of pace nearly two minutes into the song when John Du Cann's impressive vocals kick-in. The vocals, heavy guitar riffs, throbbing bass and pounding drums combine together to make a very memorable and impressive song. "The Sea of Change" is the second song on the album, featuring a steadier pace with some very pleasant guitar riffs and soaring vocals. There's a powerful guitar and drum break halfway through the song, before returning to a steadier tempo for the conclusion. Track 3 "Now the Sun Shines" is a beautifully melodic and laid-back song with richly-warm uplifting vocals from John Du Cann, which makes a very pleasant interlude and nicely compliments the previous two heavier songs. Next up is "Turns To Dust", a hard-rocking number and the first of the 3-part epic songs. The song features a very appealing change of pace to a gentler tempo in the second section, before launching into some really heavy guitar riffs and fast-paced drumming to round off a memorably epic number. Track 5 "Return To Sanity" opens with the very familiar and powerful sound of Gustav Holst's "Mars" from The Planets Suite. This awesome opening to the second epic 8-minute song is a real highlight of the album. The song feature some wonderfully freaky psychedelic guitar riffs, combined with a solid rhythm section. There are dramatic changes of pace throughout the song which adds to the appeal. Track 6 "The Reason" is a traditional rocker with skilful changes of tempo to maintain the listener's interest, followed by "I Can Stop the Song" which represents another change of pace with some gentle guitar playing and warm and pleasant vocal harmonies. Track 8 "When To Stop" is the third of the 3-part epic songs on the album. The song opens in traditional style with some hard-rocking guitar and drumming, before taking a surprising change of direction midway through the song with a beautifully-played rendition of Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto, a deeply emotional and uplifting piece of music which sends the spirits soaring. Track 9 on the album "Go Your Way" is an out-and-out rocker and Track 10 "Keep Out 'Cos I'm Dying" has a slower more bluesy feel to it with a dramatic change of tempo partway through the song. This is followed by the "The Garden of Happiness", a song which continues in similar style with some wild psychedelic guitar licks and impressive drumming. Another album highlight is the next song, "Return To Exodus", an uptempo and powerful guitar-driven version of the classic theme from Exodus. The final song "Journey's End" rounds off the album perfectly with a reprise of the stunningly beautiful version of "Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto" which affirms the fully-deserving five star status of this outstanding album.

A superb album which never fails to maintain the interest with the constant changes of pace and dramatic intensity, and combined with the memorable classical favourites, this is a very fine and memorable example of British Psychedelic Rock and Proto-Prog at its best!

Report this review (#2272533)
Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars When we mention John Cann (or Du Cann) (guitars & vocals) we always mention Atomic Rooster and never Andromeda, a trio formed together with Mick Hawksworth (bass & vocals; then in the fantastic Fuzzy Duck) and Ian McClane (drums & vocals) who in 1969 (for RCA) released an album that is described as Psychedelic Progressive but which has interesting Proto Metal moments, judging with today's eyes.

The best thing to understand this album is to dive into the music. That starts with "Too Old". "Too Old" is a bloodthirsty piece ... Proto Metal and Jazz, to understand. A piece a la Jimi Hendrix (to describe it as they would have described it at the time) but with a more European air, as more elaborate and endowed with a melody that, at times, is close to a psychedelic Folk which, however, also presents a neoclassical arrangement due to the band's musical background. If Progressive Metal had existed at the time "Too Old" it would have been a worthy example of this subgenre. "Day Of The Change" is a great piece with funky bass and lysergic atmosphere, played on choir and a really engaging folk guitar. As a rhythm it is a mid tempo with almost Free Jazz accelerations that create a really interesting controlled confusion. "And Now the Sun Shines" is a psychedelic Jazz Folk that can remember certain things more Folk than Rock and demonstrates an ability to create songs with an uncommon atmosphere, especially for the arrangements of the vocal parts. Nonetheless we are faced with a truly remarkable and not at all easy piece that is very poetic and emotional. "Turn To Dust" is a suite divided into 3 parts. The first part ("Discovery") is a great emotional Hard Rock that I would put in Garage Rock. However it gradually transforms into an extraordinary Progressive Rock piece a la ELP to lead to the psychedelic "Sanctuary" which is a soft Jazz score with Folk atmospheres and a sublime (and neoclassical) guitar. Finally, "Determination" is the opposite: a psychedelic guitar solo a la Vanilla Fudge or Iron Butterly (to understand, in terms of style) which takes up, in the finale, the main riff of "Discovery". "Return To sanity" is also divided into three parts and starts with "Breakdown", a gothic march at the beginning which, however, becomes more and more colorful and airy that leads to "Hope", a long section with psychedelic elements, Jazz Folk, Blus Rock and Hard Rock / Garage metal / Proto Metal played on an emotional vocal score and changes of rhythm and non-trivial atmospheres, so much so that, even if it is very complicated, easily assimilated, so much so that it can easily be hummed after one or two plays. "Conclusion" is an avoidable psychedelic outro. "The Reason" is a Hendrixian piece even if more shifted towards a Hard Rock but in some moments also neoclassical and, in any case, more Folk and Jazz with the usual emotional singing which, in hindsight, I could also define Beat. "I Can't Stop The Sun" is a psychedelic folk song that can remind you of certain things from the very first David Bowie. "When To Stop" is still a three part composition. After a Hard Rock start "The Traveler" (the first part) becomes a great Psyichedelic Folk piece with quiet and melodic parts and Hard Rock accelerations. Overall it's more of a psychedelic than Progressive piece, despite being Progressive, as a genre. "Turning Point" is the umpteenth tribute to Jimi Hendrix (good guitar solo) and "Journey's End" is the long western movie finale dominated by the acoustic guitar and it is really exciting, so much so that, at least I, I wish it would never end.

After this album Andromeda disbanded when John Cann joined Atomic Rooster and Mick Hawksworth joined Fuzzy Duck, who recorded an album closer to progressive Hard Rock than Progressive. Thus ended the brief existence of one of the most brilliant bands of the period. Unfortunately.

Report this review (#2569431)
Posted Monday, June 7, 2021 | Review Permalink

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