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Michael Quatro - Look Deeply Into The Mirror CD (album) cover


Michael Quatro

Crossover Prog

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3 stars Second album of keyboard player Michael Quatro is an improvement over his debut effort. We can still find here formula of mixing typical symphonic prog compositions with some non-prog songs, however this time these songs aren't so bad and rely more on hard rock patterns than pop/glam rock. First time we can also listen to some full-blown Hammond fragments in Mike's music which is always a good thing.

1. We'll Be Together" - unfortunately "Look Deeply Into The Mirror" starts with the weakest track. It's a very generic glitter rock song with annoying pop choruses. However I can admit that Michael plays some tasteful organ chops in this one so the whole song is more passable. Surprisingly lots of loud guitar (played by Patti Quatro) here too.

2. "Prelude In Ab Crazy (Classical Variations)" - definitely my favorite composition in this album and the best Quatro's piece of music I know at all! It's highly melodic and energetic instrumental which perfectly mix classical & rock elements. Lots of nostalgic mellotron eruptions and splendid Grand piano lines. Michael entertains also with some fantastic Hammond organ runs in the ELP/Trace vain. Truly recommended!

3. "Natural Way" - mainstream piano-led boogie rock'n'roll which is almost carbon copy of similar duds in his debut album. However strangely "Natural Way" isn't so offensive (maybe because we don't have to suffer through any soul-like female choruses...), and somehow it's fairly enjoyable. Really strange that I like it, but it's probably because of this horribly infectious, catchy refrain. Difficult to get it out of my mind :-).

4. "Tomorrows" - hard rock ballad which is also quite entertaining for me. Chris McKee's vocal sounds truly emotional in this track. "Tomorrows" is driven by sparkling harpsichord (clavinet?), deep bass & electric guitar lines and some mellotron waves with occasional Moog flights. Fairly good song but not too much prog here.

5. "Gipsy Caravan Part 1 (With Ending 'Ode To Blumpi')" - the longest composition on "Look Deeply Into The Mirror" begins with some violin playin', wind sounds and psychedelic shrieks of unknown origin. But soon after we can hear beautiful acoustic piano passages, weeping guitar and trusty mellotron waves. Surprisingly it's the only fully symphonic track of Mr. Quatro where we actually have some lyrics! Chris' voice is really suitable for such grandiose symphonic compositions. This almost perfect song is finished with another portion of strange Pink Floyd-influenced noises...and some completely out of place heavy guitar riffing.

6. "Won't You Come Away" - powerful hard rock (bordering heavy prog genre) with sinister tone driven by ultra deep-sounding, "booming" bass guitar, background organ layers & heavy lead guitar chords. A bit similar to British prog/hard rockers "Atomic Rooster".

7. "Gipsy Caravan Part 2" - continuation of "Gipsy Caravan" mini-suite with more pompous piano & chilling mellotron waves. Just like the first part it's very "wakemanish", but I like good old Rick so it's not a problem for me. But surely can be considered as derivative, unoriginal product by some other people.

8. "Lullaby (Sleep Well Sweet Children)" - as the title suggests it's a lullaby. Very mellow, over-sweet lullaby I can add. For sure the weakest song on this record but includes some not bad mellotron-created flute passages. However it's not a good idea to finish an album with such turkey.

Overall 2nd album recorded by Michael Quatro is my favorite effort of this artist. However it surely isn't flawless and repeats many sins of "Paintings". Anyway if you want to explore this keyboardist's work I recommend you to start from this album.

BTW It's also his only record where I can hear some slightly ELPish influenced organ/piano work (mainly in "Prelude In Ab Crazy (Classical Variations)").

"Look Deeply Into The Mirror" is very close to 4 stars rating...but it's still more like 3,5. Sorry Mike but still too many uninspiring pop-rock moments here.

Report this review (#327767)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
3 stars When I was growing up - Suzi Quatro was part of my background musicology - and as things panned out to be, I still think highly of her Can The Can album - very memorable. AND she plays the Bass (love the cover of her Rock Hard album, with her bright red B.C. Rich bass). Leather Tuscadero as she appeared on the Happy Days sitcom. Little did I know, rocker Suzi had a brother well-versed in classical piano tuition and beyond. Pretty much, we have, yet another under-the-radar keyboard talent, fully engrossed in the 'Emersonian' tradition, that of double-keyboard flair ; Hammond and Moog, Piano and so-on. This 2nd album of his contains a mixture of Hard-Glam music, and a selection of more Progressive inclinated material. There is no denying the proggy chops of this amazingly underrated keyboardist, much like the talents of Manfred Mann and Rod Argent - they are impressive players, yet don't get name-dropped often. Mike Q did love the Mellotron. He loved the Hammond. This release offers the listener a set of songs which were both satisfying to the mainstream-rock crowd, yet also complex enough for discerning Prog listeners who want a little bit more from the music. His 'Jam Band' consists of Kirk Arthur Trachsel (drums), Patti Quatro (guitars) and guest guitarist Ted Nugent on one track. Whilst not every track is a tour-de-force regarding a Prog extravanganza, most feature his cleverly applied Classical chops including a dose of commercially inclined Hard-Rock (or Glam rock, if you will - the cover-art looks rather 'Glammy'). Not going in for a track-by-track breakdown, this one is a rather short album, and it gives the listener a good deal of aural pleasure, a melting pot between early-70's stylings and pomp ideals. Personally, this is a good album, a conversation piece at your next party - impress your friends "Hey, check-out Suzi Q's brother...." I admire his use of loads of Mellotron especially, Hammond, Theramin and Moog, Harpsichord and pianos.....standout tracks being Prelude In A.flat Crazy and parts of Gypsy Caravan, but he often infuses the more direct sounding tunes with a touch of complexity. Michael Quatro, Ladies and Gentlemen, Look Deeply Into The Mirror, an unusual crossover Prog/Glam album many can appreciate.

Report this review (#1368034)
Posted Friday, February 13, 2015 | Review Permalink

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