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Klaatu - 3:47 E.S.T. [Aka: Klaatu] CD (album) cover

3:47 E.S.T. [AKA: KLAATU]


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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When this disc came out in '76, its sales were fueled both by the strength of its seven-minute single "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" (later to become an even bigger hit for -- gasp! -- The Carpenters), and by rumours that the album was the product of a covert Beatles reunion. Tales of the Beatles having gotten back together, of course, proved to be untrue (I won't go into the rather convoluted logic behind the stories), but "Klaatu" does contain many moments that are positively "Beatle-esque" in the vocal harmonies, melodies, eccentricity and intricate studio craft demonstrated. In reality, the band was composed of three Canadian session musicians (their names appeared nowhere on the album), whose substantial technical ability was evident to any listener.

The songs on this their debut run the gamut from excellent, longer pieces that fall nicely within the bounds of Prog ("Calling Occupants..." and "Little Neutrino"), to charmingly corny novelty songs ("Anus of Uranus," "Sub-Rosa Subway," "Doctor Marvello" & "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III"), to catchy pure-pop ("California Jam"), and one out-and-out rocker ("True Life Hero"). The lack, however, of a definable sound, and the fact that punk and new-wave were waiting just around the corner, would see Klaatu decline in popularity, and gradually fade unnoticed from the scene. By the time "Sir Army Suit" (which has some nice songs on it, and a great rocker in "Older") came out, the airwaves were being deluged by the sounds of bands like The Police, The Cars, U2, and Dire Straits, and few people were buying Klaatu albums anymore.

Nevertheless, this disc still merits the occasional spin upon my CD player, if only to revisit the halcyon days of my youth, when three clever, unknown Canadian studio musicians could briefly make us wonder if the Fab Four really had reunited. Oh, innocence! Ah, youth!

Report this review (#4257)
Posted Monday, January 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Back then...they (Klaatu)were believed to be the Beatles under Pseudonym!! kiddin´these guys were/are Canadian....and their music is of course.. similar to that of the formentioned Beatles......but...easy now...they have an agenda like most musicians....Klaatu have their own style and indeed their own style of music. Actually its very wonderful music!! Dreamy songs....intriguen music...lyrics a special.

Do you like the Beatles? Do you like pop prog ? Are you into sixties pop prog??

Well,here´s one for you!! Sign up for the birthday wishes!!

Report this review (#4251)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars One of those incredible stories coming from Canada in the second part of the 70's, as the whole country was quickly gaining confidence in its musical possibilities, both in Quebec, with its incredible cultural explosion, but the Toronto scene was not far behind (actually it was ahead in terms of sales), with groups like Rush, FM, Saga, Max Webster, Triumph ans the most bizarre and faceless band - they only did their coming-out as the third album was released. One of things Klaatu is remembered for is the hype of the album (self-titled but also called 3:47 EST) being the reformed Beatles, on the bassist of the songs and the sound of the band. Certainly the songwriting was very Lennon-Maca-esque as it was very popish and wide in spectrum, and the fact that they were previously unknown as a group and not a touring band, either. To say that Klaatu started this rumour is not entirely correct, even if their influences were so obvious, but also so perfectly ingested that it became an evidence for young rocker like me to make such an incredible shortcut, even daring such bold statements that this was the very best album the Beatles (n)ever made. Of course, history and maturity were to prove me wrong, but my partiality of today still tells me this we believed this rumour very strongly and certainly helped in spreading it outside of Canada. I was maybe the first one to bring this album that summer to Europe and presenting it (after a few listens) to friends as a Beatles album released strangely on the Capitol label - where most Beatles album were released in the US.

Anybody not falling under the spell of the charming opening Calling Occupants, and superb intro from outer space (as Klaatu was supposed to be a planet out to explore the rest of the universe) and its absolutely beautiful Maca-like melodies, was simply not human to us, Torontonian. A bunch of short tracks such California Jan and Sub Rosa Subway were even more hints of this shady Beatles album. Of course never mind the fact that both Lennon and Maca were writing much different songs by 76 (and were denying this was their album), those tracks were sticking so closely without plagiarism (it is important to point this out) to that instantly recognizable songwriting. There are also a few rockers on the album such Anus Of Uranus or True-Life Hero. Superb Dr Marvello and Eleanor-Rigby styled Rugglesby III (this was stupid because the tracks were very different in instrumentation but the name was inducing the similarity) add up even more to those wild rumours, which everybody WANTED to believe anyway. The last track, Little Neutrino, is a stunning electronics-laced small epic adding even more to the myth from outer space.

Even if you might be drawn back by the Beatles's obvious and rather overpowering influences of this album, this album should be listened to (even de-mythified from the hype) closely as every proghead should find plenty of superb moments that can send you up on Planet Klaatu. And nothing was to prepare us kids for the masterpiece that lay ahead, a few months after this one: Hope is still on the most awesome pop concept ever written and this time, it was evident that it was not The Beatles, but these guys were just as worthy.

Report this review (#4253)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tagged with the misperception that these guys were the BEATLES under a new mystery name KLAATU got the attention of the world. Of course this was not the case, but the truth is that the music is just as brilliant and anything the BEATLES ever did. "3:47 EST" is essential for all symphonic prog lovers with beautiful songs and amazing arrangements. In many ways this music does rival the "Sgt Pepper" era of music and has a strong BEATLES'ish flavor to it with no mistake. KLAATU's musicanship is exceptionally high and the recording offers nice speaker seperation. Essential...!
Report this review (#4255)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The songs on this album stand up well on their own against any other music. Some are simply amazing. From the humor of "Anus of Uranus" to the intelligence of "Little Neutrino", there is one pleasing surprise after another. An awesome set well worth the time taken to listen again and again.
Report this review (#4258)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars There was a bit of nonsense going around in 1976 that these Canadian studio musicians were The Beatles in disguise. Try to put that out of your mind when you listen to this album because Klaatu simply won't cut it.

What the band did manage to put on out their debut album was one fantastic symphonic ballad in Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (which amazingly was covered quite faithfully by The Carpenters!!!). This seven-minute song is superb, somehow combining a spacey, trippy feel with an immaculate rich string, brass and piano arrangement and lovely vocal harmonies. It may be a little too simple for some proggers, but I love it.

Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn't match up. There's an interesting quasi- classical experiment in Little Neutrino and two rather pleasant (dare I say it?) Beatlesque pop tunes in Sub-Rosa Subway and Doctor Marvello which are quite decent to listen to. In general however, these Klaatu songs remind me of Ambrosia in that the musicians seem to have a lot of nice little touches to offer, but tend to cram them into meandering compositions.

What this album also has to offer is three really awful songs. I mean it ... Hanus Of Uranus is a boring as hell bluesy number and True Life Hero is an interminable single riff. The fact that both songs are sung awfully by guitarist Dee Long doesn't help. The third bit of rubbish is Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III which is an attempt at writing a musical hall style song. Words cannot convey how atrocious this song is, but suffice it to say I had a vague urge to strike someone after forcing myself to listen to the whole album at one sitting, and I'm sure that this track pushed me over the edge!

Despite the unpleasant moments, the fact that I'm still hanging on to this album is testament to the fact that Klaatu's best stuff is worth listening to. ... 30% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#4259)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Klaatu fulfills, in this first album, what all lovers of Beatlesque music and Progressive Rock are looking for; an album of rich melodies against a backdrop of progressive imagery. Add to this a flawless production with crisp engineering and you have an irrististible combination that should not be missing in any melodic 70's music collection.

The album begins with their undeniable masterpiece, "Calling Occupants..." which was heard on FM Rock stations across the country (briefly) asking it's listeners whether this was the Beatles or not. They obviously were not, but the keen listener got their first glimpse of great musicianship amidst the onslaught of Arena Rock rubbish that surrounded it on the airwaves. The melody and production commanded attention as we all heralded "World Contact Day" and began to believe in extra-terrestial life. But my personal first aquaintance with Klaatu was the following track, which I heard on AM Canadian radio (CKLW) a couple of years before. "California Jam" encapsulates the Beach Boys feel-good sound with twists and turns the 60's group couldn't deliver. "Anus of Uranus" then adds some fun levity while letting us hear how "heavy" they could deliver the goods. And then back to the Beatles imagery and arrangements with "Sub Rosa Subway" with it's melodic McCartney bass lines, hi-hat echo ala "Let It Be" and the "It's All Too Much" ending complete with passing subway cars reminiscent of "Magical Mystery Tour".

The second side begins with an out-of-character but fun rocker called "True Life Hero" which also shows they can rock like the best of them. "Dr. Marvello" is then supplied for the die-hard "Strawberry Fields/Walrus" enthusiasts and delivers it well, complete with sitars and a backward instrumental break. And then, boys and girls, we venture back to the '40s as an old sailor tells us a story about his adventures around the world and to hell and back in "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III". You may first want to roll your eyes when the song starts, but just take the time to experience this track! The arrangement and studio experimentation are in full force here. You can actually hear the old sailor strike a match, light his pipe, and slightly choke as he continues his story. It also includes great vari-pitch techniques with the vocals. And then the album concludes with "Little Neutrino" which has left me scratching my head for years, although I've come to love it. This final track (ending with a puzzling mouse "squeak") leaves you wondering who the heck Klaatu is and wanting to listen again to discover more.

The mark of any good album is to encourage repeated listening as well as anticipation for a future release. The mystique created with this album accomplishes both of these feats better than any other album I've experienced! It is no wonder that rumours were flying about the groups identities as well as the meaning behind the tunes. Nobody felt that way about Foreigner or Journey, but those that were paying attention in '77 got a pleasurable treat with Klaatu!

Report this review (#4260)
Posted Thursday, March 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Forget all the Beatles rumour crap -- that was an albatross around this fine band's neck that they were never able to escape. It both made them "famous" (sorta, for about 14 minutes) and ruined their chances of ever being taken seriously on their own terms. It is worth noting that the band chose to be anonymous NOT to fuel some bogus Beatle reunion rumour, but simply because THEY ESCHEWED "FASHION" ENTIRELY AND WANTED THEIR MUSIC TO STAND ON IT'S OWN!! And as far as that goes -- well, a lot of people thought they were the freakin' BEATLES, so obviously they had something special going on.

I admire the hell out of this band -- the material on their first album was entirely self- recorded and produced (they all had day jobs working as engineers in Toronto recording studios, in fact John Woloschuck has a technical credit on one of Rush's early LP's) -- and this was in the old days before ProTools and all the easy studio gimmickry of today. It's no exaggeration to say that the effort they put into their debut was on the magnitude of recording "Sgt Pepper" on a 4-track, because the production here is exquisite and uses every trick in the book, so much so that that the production outshines the material on some numbers (like "California Jam" for instance, which is a corny throwaway Beach Boys style number, but daaaaamn it sounds good!)

If you're a real serious prog-head, you may not find much to like here -- but if you like late period Beatles, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd -styled VERY WELL PRODUCED "Art" pop-rock then this album is very well worth a listen, as is their criminally under-rated 3rd LP "Sir Army Suit."

Report this review (#50677)
Posted Saturday, October 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album by Klaatu might have been written years before it was released in 76. This is based on John Woloschuk's statement at the CD sleeve: "One of the original motivations for doing [what] we did was that we were sick and tired of the over- hyped, high profile syndrome that was prevalent in the recording industry in the early 70's. We wanted to avoid all that nonsense, so we waited until we could get a record company that would market us as just KLAATU". This album was originally released in August 1976 and my copy is the Re-issue version of 2001.

The album starts off with mellotron-drenched "Calling Occupants" in an atmospheric and mellow style with symphonic touch. It's a thematic opening with excellent melody and vocal line. "California Jam" is psychedelic in nature and it is very The Beatles with good vocal harmony from all three members of the band. The song contains style and tempo changes. "Anus of Uranus" sees the band in a classic rock style with practically straight forward structure. Guitars make good work here at this track especially during the short interlude. "Sub Rosa Subway" tells a story that dated back in 1870 just beneath the Great White Way. It starts with a combined work of piano, bass and xylophone. The opening part reminds me to the intro part of The Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends" even though it does happen very shortly. Overall style of this track is similar with The Beatles. The song has style and tempo changes as it was with The Beatles "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album. The ending part of this track is very boring to my ears, i.e. when the lyrics says "To Brahmsian tunes ." repeatedly.

"True Life Hero" is a nice rocker with an upbeat tempo. "Doctor Marvello" brings another style of Klaatu in mellow symphonic psychedelic music. It's a good track as it has good melody and composition. "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III" is something circus-like music with banjo as main rhythm section. This track gives variation on this album. The concluding track is a thematic song called "Little Neutrino" which might serve good in accompanying you to contemplate. It's ambient, atmospheric and it has classical music element with touch of violin work and keyboard / mellotron. This song is different from any other track of this album and it's not The Beatles style at all.

Overall, it's a good album to have. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#75739)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This is the debut album by the legendary Klaatu, the band whose fifteen minutes of fame was mostly due to the rampant rumor in the mid 70s that they were the incognito reformation of the Beatles. Not true of course, and I won’t belabor the story – Google will tell you all you care to know. The tracks here are a bit disjointed, with no particular overriding theme other than the simple joy of crafting well-arranged and even better produced studio music at a time when producers had to settle for sweat rather than highly-evolved electronic gadgets like those readily available today. The results are some pretty good tunes that still pop up from time to time today.

“Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” is just a wonderful song. Vocalist Terry Draper must have made androgynous stars like David Bowie and Marc Bolan jealous with his lighter-than-air delivery, and the Mellotron augmented by a grand piano give the work an other-worldly feel that would have been much more difficult to achieve at the time than today without the benefit of extensive computerized electronic equipment. Like all the other songs on this album, much of the texture of the music is a result of extensive double-tracking of mellotron, moog, hammond, and piano, with this particular song having heavier drum tracks than most of the rest of the album. The theme is supposedly inspired by an activity by the little-green-men-chasing ‘International Flying Saucer Bureau’, who issued a challenge to their members in 1953 to support World Contact Day by all telepathically transmitting this plea into the stratosphere simultaneously –

“Calling occupants of interplanetary craft”.

Much of the world actually discovered this charming tune when it was covered as a hit single by brother and sister duo the Carpenters in 1977, but I much prefer the original for its complex production, simple rhythm, and simply spectacular vocals.

“California Jam” is a Beach Boys-inspired piece with Beatles-clone vocals, silly beach-bum lyrics, and a foreboding message about that west coast state’s inevitable fate (ie., slipping away into the Pacific when “the Big One” hits the San Andreas Fault). This is one of two songs by the band (the other being Sir Army Suit’s “Juicy Lucy”) to feature female session vocalist Laurie Hood. A light, poppish, and endearing work.

The guitar and bass tracks of “Anus of Uranus” are closer to a rock song than a pop one, not unlike some of the more street-wise Eagles tunes like “Life in the Fast Lane” or “In the Long Run”. The central character is Anus, a happy-go-lucky alien swinger from the planet Uranus who drops by Earth for a night of partying. Again, nothing too deep here, but it’s a nice bass-driven tempo and an enjoyable listen.

Engineer Alfred Beach builds the original New York City subway in “Sub-Rosa Subway”, the first of two songs about decidedly non-pop topics on the album (the other is “Little Neutrino” with its physics theme at the end of the album). Some trumpet and metal percussion adds a festive flair to suggest the opening of Beach’s work, although the lyrics reveal the public’s initial impression is less than favorable –

“As for America's first subway, the public scoffed, "It's far too rude";

One station filled with Victoria's age from frescoed walls and goldfish fountains....

To Brahmsian tunes”.

Apparently the subway fashion equivalent of wearing black after Memorial Day.

The “True Life Hero” is a beach lifeguard, the first man on the moon, anyone who takes a risk and makes an impression on those around him. Bassist Dee Long sings lead for one of the few times in the band’s brief career, and the result is a largely pop tune leaning toward heavy rock. This one kind of reminds me of some of the stuff Kiss did around the same time, although Long’s vocals are nowhere near as memorable as Paul Stanley’s. This one actually yielded an early video, although I’m not sure it was ever seen outside of Canadian television, or if it survives today.

“Doctor Marvello” features a rather exotic-sounding electric sitar and maracas, giving the song a unique sound that is not quite eastern, not quite psychedelic, but also a little bit of both. Like many Klaatu songs this one is heavy on the keys, featuring a Mellotron, Moog, and a Rhodes piano, along with some brass (trumpet I think) and acoustic guitar. This is a silly love song of sorts about a young couple who conjure up the shaman doctor to cure them

The vocalist on “Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III” sounds more like Grover from Sesame Street than a masquerading Beatle.

Except for a bass drum and acoustic guitar, all the sounds on “Little Neutrino” were created or enhanced with a Moog synthesizer (including vocals), overdubbed repeatedly to create a lush spacey tune about a particle – probably the only modern musical work around dedicated to the subject of particle physics! This song is more impressive for the level of studio complexity than for the actual music or lyrics.

This is a collection of trivial works that lean heavily toward pop, but have a place in the progressive world simply for the impressive studio shenanigans required to produce the wide variety of sounds and the eclectic topics. The next album “Hope” would show the band maturing their sound, and adding a unifying theme to that album as well, to produce a true classic of progressive history. 3:47 E.S.T. doesn’t quite rise to that level, but it’s close. I have a hunch many progressive music fans will at least find this a very nice and worthwhile diversion. 3.47 stars.


Report this review (#80792)
Posted Friday, June 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'll never understand people's unwillingness to consider Klaatu as prog, at the very least Art Rock, with the capital A. Early on when compared to Pink Floyd & the Beatles, they saw themselves more along the musical lines of the Moody Blues. Which, over their career, one can see the similarities more easily. On this sparkling debut, though, they created a prog masterpiece. Lengthy orchestral pieces bookend the album. Calling Occupants is probable one of the most intelligent & classic pieces of music to play on the radio. California Jam is a Beach Boys' - like summer dream, a condensation of sunny day fun & sun, carefree escape that once out of one's teenage years, we seem to be unable to imagine. Anus of Uranus, along with True Life hero are the rockers. The guitars' tone in Anus, are equalled only by Boston's 1st album from that period. And while Anus is not exactly prog, Klaatu weren't the only progressive group to rock out on occasion. With the slightly psychedelic lyrics about our protagonist's friend, it's a space celtic reel on ovedrive. For those who wanted to see this as the Beatles, Sub Rosa Subway & Dr. Marvello were Paul & John tunes. The first, a heavenly melody, with whimsical lyrics on the 19th construction of a metro, building to an orchestral crescendo celebrating Albert's success; the second one, Dr. Marvello, eerily echoing Lennon's sometimes spacey melancholic side, with its theme of a dream of a search for happiness. Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III, well, the Beatles did these kiddie type tunes to perfection, Genesis had their musical hall numbers, and Klaatu has this one. Harmless, enjoy it for what it is. Finally the piece de resistance - Little Neutrino : an atomic subparticle's story of its' voyage through the universe. Or is it a tale of loneliness ? Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, just imagine floating through space. I hear bits of VDGG in the arrangement, but the song just screams serious music. For those who hated the hype & carried their hatred or disappointment over to the group, please remind yourself that it was the media, not the group who was responsible for that. And enjoy it for what it is - a marvelous Art Rock Opus that song//arrangement/production - wise stood as an equal to other so-called Rock High Art from the mid 70s.
Report this review (#113412)
Posted Saturday, February 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Was it The Beatles? Does it really matter?

This release marked the first of Klaatu's carreer, and it set the stage for what their sound was. Luckaly, since I live in Canada, and radio air waves must be filled with a certen amount of Canadian music, you can hear the first track on the album 'Calling Occupants of Interplanitary Crafts' once in a while on some classic rock radio stations. I jump for joy when it does happen, since it's a beautiful song. The other longer song on the album 'Little Neutrino' paints a very lovely picture, being one of the darkest songs musicly written by Klaatu. The atmosphere of the song alone is enough to give one shivers. These two songs are instint classics to me, and my music library would not be complete without them.

The other songs on the album are less then classics, but still some what enjoyable. Anus of Uranus and Sir Bodsworth Ruggesby III are very 'fun' songs, complete counters to 'Little Neutrino', being half it's length, and bouncie little songs. They are increadibly fun to listen to and blast at parties if you want to get people to look at the stario and wonder 'what is he playing?' They're just plain fun.

The rest of the album is rather forgettable. They sound like the songs from 'The Beatles' albums that are there for filler. This is probibly why alot of people mistook them for 'The Beatles' back in the day (only a Canadian three pease band can be confused for the 'Fab Four'). Each of these four songs are more of the 'pop rock' you find on a soft rock radio station, so it will please most poeple with not being 'too deep'.

The first album by Klaatu definitly opened doors for them, and still to this day is one of my favourit bands. When the songs are good, they're great. But you'll find youself skipping over every other song.

A very solid three stars.

Report this review (#174163)
Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Canadian Beatles?

Yes, this is the band, back in '76 when they released their debut effort, 3:47 EST people started proclaiming that they were The Beatles reformed under an alias. It certainly isn't hard to see why when listening to the album - you have some good, wholesome rock mixed with a bit of psychedelia elements and the vocals actually do sound closer to The Beatles than one could expect possible at some points. Beatles comparisons aside, this is a good first effort from the Canadian group that apparently made for an amazing follow-up when they released Hope a few years later. This effort is something of an 'immature' one, the songs bounce between being dead serious and being so off-the-wall strange that you'd think someone like Zappa could have written them (only without the perversion).

Where Klaatu really makes the best of their time is the songs that are most akin to prog on the album. While many of the other songs on the album are a bit shorter, bluesier or rockier they just don't measure up to the book-ending excellent tracks that are on the album. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft sounds creepily like The Beatles combined with David Bowie while at the same time having the same kind of space rock qualities of Floyd. Little Neutrino is the final track on the album and the song which really makes the album into a solid one. Its also the lengthiest track, clocking at just over 8-minutes. The use of vocal effects and subtle instrumentation really makes for a big build to the tune which explodes at moments to make the fullest effect of the song.

Some of the shorter songs on the album are quite good as well. California Jam is a rocky tune with some good melodies, and Sub-Rosa Subway has some excellent moments as well between the chorus and guitar riffing. The even more rock in flavor, True Life Hero has some excellent guitar parts to match the vocal parts, and actually makes for a rare moment on the album where it turns almost into pure rock thanks to the distortion. Dr. Marvello really does enforce that Beatles sound once more with the use of eastern sounds and the vocals, once again. It also calls to mind acts like The Moody Blues with its sombre atmosphere.

Unfortunately there's a couple of songs that do hold the album back from greater things. It would seem that the band really didn't know what they wanted out of the release, and so the album ping-pongs between that serious mode and the more sarcastic mode, which can be a little frustrating when you're listening to it. Anus Of Uranus is the better of the two more annoying songs, it has a grumbly and bluesy guitar riff but there's just something about it that makes you go, ''eh?''. Still, a good tune that doesn't break the momentum, unlike the completely whack-job Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III which almost sounds like, It's A Wonderful World thanks to the voice, but it's not. Nothing particularly impressive about the song, and the 'sailor boy' harmonies at the end of the song are quite painful. Best just to reach for the skip button on this song, particularly when it's followed up with something as fantastic as Little Neutrino.

An uneven album that certainly has some fantastic ups and some really downing downs, but overall it's an album worth getting for anyone who likes a little rock in their psychedelia, or who really believe that The Beatles never broke up, they just moved to Canada.

Report this review (#200935)
Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The opening number from this work is really an engaging and very promising one. But, unfortunately, what follows can't compete with "Occupants...".

"Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" is a symphonic number which combines fine orchestrations, cool vocals, a very pleasant melody and excellent arrangements. A truly sophisticated song which is the absolute highlight form this debut album.

The band is also essaying to integrate some good old psychedelia in their music. "California Jam" is such a track: again, the vocal harmonies are very well crafted (but this is a trade mark from "Klaatu"). The fake audience at the end of the song was probably not at all necessary though?

If you fancy a rockier mood, "Anus Of Uranus" or "True Life Hero" are available as well but these are nothing memorable to say the least. Better skipped IMO. To get back to better stuff, just listen to "Sub-Rosa Subway": it is definitely of another calibre and has a lot to share with the great "10 CC". This is really a song to listen to with headphones. There are so much to discover in there!

Great arrangements again and a superb production; but this is almost valid for each track from this album: "Doctor Marvello" is another example. And I guess that "Sir Bodsworth?" could have been written by Ringo Starr (to give you some hints about the level reached here).

Another long and symphonic piece closes the album: "Little Neutrino" is a fine achievement as well and a decent response to the brilliant "Calling Occupants?".

In all, this is a good album that features some very good songs and a couple of below average ones. Three stars.

Report this review (#230100)
Posted Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The shop assistant at my local HMV was openly laughing when I bought this album for a knock down price.

He was off course remembering the persistent rumours that this album is in fact a Beatles album anno 1975. John, Paul, George and Ringo reformed and released this album under the pseudo name Klaatu. A very funny story. Unfortunate, this rumour is not true. Klaatu shifted a lot of extra copies of this album on this rumour alone.

Those who bought this album under the illusion of this being a Beatles album could not have been disappointed if they just listened to the music and not the laughter from their family and friends. The music is very The Beatles anno Sgt Pepper........ but with some added elements. Maybe the elements John and Paul, with a push from George, would have added to their sound if they had released an album five years after Abbey Road. We will never ever know. A song like California Jam is the Beatles anno Sgt Pepper, with some help from The Monkees. Paul and John would not had been ashamed of the excellent Calling Occupant either. My guess is that it would had been a John Lennon song with some added help from Paul McCartney and Phil Spector. Dr. Marvello is a George Harrison song throughout.

But the band is actually Klaatu and the recording was never aided by either Paul, George, John or Ringo.............. I believe. But this album still sounds like what I believe would had been The Beatles anno 1975 if Paul McCartney was reigned in by John Lennon and George Harrison. The music on this album is actually very good, although it is difficult to concentrate on the music when you are getting constantly bombarded with The Beatles references. The above mentioned songs are the strongest here. There are also some space rock like songs here too. This is a good album throughout and an album which has made me pretty curious about the rest of the Klaatu albums. This is a three star gem.

3.25 stars

Report this review (#263757)
Posted Monday, February 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Interesting and variable album. There are songs like Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft & Little Neutrino that are what we can call Prog.

There are also more Rock songs Anus of Uranus & True Life Hero, these sounds really, but really like typical Rock band from middle 70's with everything that is connected to this style.

However it's strange how they can move on to Beatlesque songs Doctor Marvello & Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III. because these sounds really interestingly good and I could imagine Bodsworth sitting next to "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" or "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" with its funny toning.

And also mixed songs California Jam & Sub Rosa Subway that again, leaves me confused, same as everything here on this album.

4(-) but I'll be indulgent.

Report this review (#281088)
Posted Sunday, May 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Who is Klaatu?

Klaatu are a strange band who encompass a range of styles and cannot work out what type of band they want to be. "3:47 EST" is a peculiar oddity from Klaatu that really is a mixed bag of styles that range from utterly brilliant to utterly dull.

It begins with the absolutely awesome calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, that we may have heard covered by The Carpenters. I prefer their sunshine vocals with all the effects; the DJ addressing the chilling whispering aliens on the radio was an inspiration that jolted me as a teenager. This original version is still very good with excellent harmonies and creative time sigs and melodies. It is the best thing on the album by a mile.

California Jam is a terrible 70s flower power thing with harmonies sounding like early Sweet or the worst of the bubblegum pop scene of the 70s.

Anus of Uranus has an infectious little riff driving it. The vocals are subdued and thin, but there is a tough guitar motif. It becomes a little repetitive and tedious after a while. No variation in style or melody really, and in need of a makeover. The lead solo is Ok but nothing special.

Sub Rosa Subway is an upbeat track, with Beatles like vocals, a strong melody and harmonies. It is a bit corny with the brass section and rather sugar sweet harmonies and silly lyrics.

True Life Hero has a tough riff and some very cool vocals. One of the highlights of the album, it pulses along a strong riff and defined vocals. The instrumental break is just plain weird, with strange time sig and odd blend of keys and guitars. This one grows on you on every listen.

Doctor Marvello may be one of the reasons people were of the opinion that the band were the Beatles in secret. This one sounds like John Lennon's vocals even featuring the sitar and quirky lyrics; "and now we're fine". The harmonies are Beatles like as are the brass embellishments. It even has the Strawberry Fields flute sounds; a real psychedelic oddity and another highlight.

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby 3 is a strange title for a track but it is actually an innovative ditty with quirky music and old style raspy vocals, sounding more carnivalesque than anything on the album. Think Mack the Knife in a carnival atmosphere and you might be close. It is a real fish out of water here, quite Monty Pythonesque and OK for a first listen, but not one I like to return to. Skip to:

Little Neutrino is the longest track beginning with creepy alien sounds, and continues gently with very soft keyboard sounds and wind howling effects. The synth melody is OK, but it is the bizarre robotic vocals that jolt on this one. It sounds like Stephen Hawkings singing. It ends the album on a relatively sombre note, once again completely different sound than anything else on the album and too long for its own good.

In conclusion, this is a wildly experimental album and features some innovative moments that are hampered by dull spots and simply silly ideas. It is worth a listen for at least 4 great tracks so deserves at least 3 stars.

Report this review (#397254)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I consider myself a prolific progressive rock fan who has already covered most of the classic years material and am now looking forward at the movement's future. With that in mind, I was quite surprised when a colleague at work asked if I knew a little '70s act called Klaatu. After a quick search on ProgArchives it turned out that Klaatu had indeed somewhat of a following, especially their second album Hope which seemed to stand up as their masterpiece.

Since I found the 1999 two album compilation called Two Classic Albums From Klaatu on Spotify, that featured Klaatu's two first albums, I decided to hear them in the chronological order. 3:47 E.S.T. starts off with the gorgeous ballad titled Calling Occupant Of Interplanetary Craft and it's quite understandable why most people associate Klaatu (or The Carpenters) with this composition. California Jam and Sub Rosa Subway prolong my enjoyment for a few more minutes until we finally dive into the sea of completely forgettable material. It's not that songs like True Life Hero or Doctor Marvello are hideous in any way and a few more spins made me discover some of their charm. Unfortunately the album as a whole doesn't manage to hold together all that well due to constant shifts between the Beatles sounding compositions to pure rock & roll numbers. It's clear that Klaatu still haven't found this style on 3:47 E.S.T., luckily it wasn't long until they actually did!

Even though I can't feel sorry for the fact that Klaatu arrived too late to a scene that was flourishing in the early '70s and that was almost completely dead by 1976, their debut has a few great tracks that most fans of the '70s sound will enjoy. Still, it's really no use to pity such a great act, especially considering how well they managed to bounce back with their followup release!

***** star songs: Calling Occupant Of Interplanetary Craft (7:14)

**** star songs: California Jam (3:01) Sub Rosa Subway (4:36) Little Neutrino (8:25)

*** star songs: Anus Of Uranus (3:16) True Life Hero (3:25) Doctor Marvello (3:37) Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III (3:22)

Report this review (#505415)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Does this album really have such good ratings on a prog site? That makes me wonder, because I found this BOTH non-proggy AND mostly terribly bad and irritating late 60's style pop/rock in the vein of Beatles, with some 10CC or SPARKS-like twist. (I'm using the word bad subjectively: these guys are technically very skilful musicians.) The best song is obviously the scifi-themed opener 'Calling Occupants' which was some years later made famous by The Carpenters (and it suits pretty well for them), and the only truly progressive one is the closer 'Little Neutrino'. The shortish songs in between didn't manage to make any other impression on me than frustration. So, two stars from me. Luckily the other album (Hope) that I know is much better and also notably more progressive.

The rumours of this Canadian band being actually Beatles still shapes the way Klaatu is remembered today. The liner notes on the double edition CD including this album and Hope (1977) list many details (titles, cover art, etc) that could be seen as a connection to the Beatles. The writer of the text is so lured by the story that actually he says next to nothing about the music itself. Maybe something similar happened at the time of release...

Report this review (#731378)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars One of the most succesful Canadian Pop/Rock bands, Toronto-based Klaatu started in 1973 as a studio duo of multi-instrumentalists John Woloschuck and Dee Long with a couple of singles released on GTR Records.The duo soon recruited drummer/vocalist Terry Draper and Klaatu signed a deal with Daffodil Records and its president Frank Davies.A couple of singles followed before they enter the studio to record their debut ''3:47 E.S.T.'' with the help of Rush'es producer Terry Brown.This was eventually released in August 1976.

The fact that no musicians were credited in the original vinyl release made people believe that Klaatu were The Beatles under a fake name, which time prooved to be totally untrue.Except for the opening and closing tracks the whole debut of Klaatu is filled with easy-listening Pop/Art Rock tunes with an intense Beatles-que vibe at moments, especially in the Psych/Pop approach of ''Sub-Rosa Subway'', which led to the aforementioned misunderstanding.From simple rockers to Orchestral Pop flavors and from Art Pop ballads to catchy tunes, most of the tracks are following the easy, commercial path of Rock music with an intense psychedelic nature of the 60's.Well-crafted but too simplistic musicianship with no particular surprises.The closing and opening cuts though are more demanding but not equally good.''Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft'' is a very nice piece of Orchestral Proto-Prog with obvious THE MOODY BLUES and PROCOL HARUM overtones, delivering a soft but lovely atmosphere and offering some good keyboard/Mellotron work by Woloschuck and Long.''Little Neutrino'' is decent but way too long for its own good.It reminds me of the early ANTHONY PHILLIPS albums.Distorted vocals supported by a dramatic keyboard tune and passionate acoustic guitars lead the track from its opening to its closing second with no particular changes, which unfortunately transforms it from nice to decent.

A good debut for anyone wanting to taste some easy-going Psych/Pop/Rock music with a late- 60's feeling, ranging from THE BEATLES' to PROCOL HARUM's works, but rather simplistic and flat for the average proghead...2.5 stars.

Report this review (#853958)
Posted Friday, November 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Canadian progressive rock outfit Klaatu released their debut 3:47 EST - referring to the time that the alien emissary "klaatu" arrived in Washington DC in the 1951 film, The Day The Earth Stood Still - in 1976 to a rather interesting response. Rumored to be a secret reunion of The Beatles, Klaatu received a fair amount of commercial attention due to these speculations. While this rumor did obviously turn out to be proven incorrect, the style of psychedelic pop heard on 3:47 EST is very likely to appeal to fans of the Fab Four's later material.

While this album may have been released in 1976, almost everything about it brings late-sixties' proto progressive rock acts like The Beatles, Procol Harum, and The Moody Blues to mind. In addition to the organic production, the tracks here have a psychedelic and mildly progressive flair that sounds rather different from what other bands were doing by this point in time. Though 3:47 EST has a few hard-rocking tunes like "True Life Hero", Klaatu shines brightest in the more progressive songs like "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" (a superb sci-fi epic that was clearly influenced by The Moody Blues) and the Beatlesque "Sub-Rosa Subway". Speaking of The Beatles, "Doctor Marvello" sounds almost eerily like something from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - the use of backward tape loops, trumpet lines, vocal harmonies, harpsichords, and Indian instruments make this track sound like pure Beatles worship.

Being a fan of the Fab Four, I don't have much of an issue with Klaatu's strong Beatles influence throughout 3:47 EST, but I feel like the listen is rather inconsistent as a whole. While the band does try some unique things here, especially in "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft", it seems like they borrow ideas from The Beatles as a bit of a crutch. The record's abrupt changes from moody space rock to rather generic hard rock and psychedelic pop, and even strange theatrical stuff on "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III" makes for a somewhat disjointed listen, but Klaatu thankfully have penned solid enough material to make this recommendable to fans of progressive pop music. It's definitely an interesting curio from a band with a lot of promise, and I'll be interested to hear to the rest of Klaatu's discography in the near future.

Report this review (#904265)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars A couple of decades ago or more, I heard a funny song somewhere. Perhaps it was on the radio or maybe on a compilation CD borrowed from the library. "Anus of Uranus". It could have been a MacLean & MacLean song with a title like that. Jump ahead to 2005 and I get my first lap top and it can burn CDs. Hooray! I had been a mixed tape kind of guy since the 80's. Now I would be able to burn mixed CDs. I had a theme in mind: a space song mix. And as I considered songs for the playlist, I recalled that silly anus song. A friend had introduced me to a web site where songs could be downloaded free. I always like to purchase music on CD but in this case, for one song, I got it from that site. Later I read that the band, Klaatu, were Canadian. Always interested in supporting home grown bands, I decided to keep Klaatu in mind.

Now we reach 2015 in my story and I was making a playlist of seventies Canadian bands, and Klaatu popped up from my memory. I checked them out on Wikipedia and was surprised to see them classified as pop prog. Prog? It's been my observation that Canada mostly missed two important periods in the evolution of rock music: the early first generation of heavy metal between 1968 and 1973 (not many bands that I know of) and the seventies prog movement (Harmonium, Rush and... Saga... and... ?). So this suddenly became a band I needed to hear. I ordered the anus album, "3:47 E.S.T.".

Now there's a funny story about this album and Klaatu. When the first couple of singles were released, there was an American DJ who heard the song "Subrosa Subway" and thought it sounded remarkably like the Beatles. He looked at the album and found that there were no names given and no photos of the band members. It was just Klaatu. "Could this possibly be," he surmised, "a Beatles album? That the Beatles have reformed and released an album under an alias?" He boldly announced his supposition to the public and enticed his listeners with supposed hints that his theory was true. The American label found that this was a great publicity stunt and would be good for boosting album sales and went along with the whole thing. The band, however, simply denied the story when asked. In the U.K., a music reporter pulled the plug on the story, saying that there was an American DJ foolish enough to not be able to distinguish the Beatles from this band. Nevertheless, Klaatu rarely performed live and recorded their second album and released it without any personnel mentioned by name, keeping an air of mystery about them.

The album is quite work of progressive rock with strong pop melodies. It does indeed resemble the Beatles often, especially the songs with John Woloschuk on lead vocals. Though the music is never really complex, there's a strong formula of simple and catchy melodies and a clever use of rock and symphonic instruments to create music that goes beyond the standard pop song. Dee Long's "Anus of Uranus" (about a space man who picks up the song's narrator and takes him around the solar system) and "True Life Hero" are more standard rock songs but with interesting lyrics. Other musical themes include the experiment that was done to contact alien spacecraft through the transmission of a welcoming thought by thousands of people at once. You can read about the song "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" on Wikipedia and find the link to the real life story. This song was covered with great success by the Carpenters a year later. There's also the story of New York's first subway in "Subrosa Subway", one of my two favourite tracks on the album. I also really like "California Jam" which shifts through various themes like a musical number.

The last three tracks have as yet failed to really captivate me. "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby" is a humorous song about a ship's captain who disappears at sea but seems to have returned, stating "I'm the only one who ever went to Hell and came back alive". It's done in a funny, Pirates of Penzance kind of way and has a female back up vocal group that make the musical effect even better. "Neutrino" is musically simple but beautiful, but also a bit weird with distorted vocal effects meant to emulate an imaginary neutrino voice. There's a story about the band experimenting with sound effects in the studio in Toronto when Mick Jagger walked in wondering what the heck they were doing in there. "Dr. Marvello" is also a bit show tunesy. Some songs remind me a little of It Bites' album "Once Around the World" and the song "Hunting the Whale".

Klaatu concocted some really wonderful music on this album. Some might not like it because it's not complex enough, too much like the Beatles, or too sweet in pop melodies. But I have been enjoying the first five tracks immensely over the last two months and keep coming back to them again and again.

Report this review (#1436256)
Posted Tuesday, July 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I remember back in the day as a teenager hearing about KLAATU on the radio and how many felt that they were THE BEATLES posing under a different name. All not true of course but it certainly helped in selling their albums. There are two songs on here that were on the radio here in Canada back then including the excellent "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" along with "Sub Rosa Subway". I was more familiar with THE CARPENTERS version of the opening number which was faithful to the original and well done I must say. KLAATU were a trio with elements that made THE BEATLES comparisons inevitable including the vocals, harmonies and horns. There is a lot of variety on this album though and for my tastes not all of it works but I have to say overall that this is a solid debut album by this band.

"Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" is such a great song with the subject matter, reserved vocals and horns early on as the mellotron rolls in. Love this song! "We are your friends" is a line that seems lame to me though. Processed vocals around 3 minutes followed by piano as it picks up. I like the vocal arrangements here. A calm after a dramatic section before 4 1/2 minutes. "California Jam" is BEACH BOYS-like just not nearly as good in my opinion. Harmonies galore. It's okay. "Anus Of Uranus" has silly lyrics and lots of abrasive guitar, it rocks pretty good. "Sub Rosa Subway" was the other song on the radio here back then and it's a feel good THE BEATLES-like tune with lots of horns and harmonies.

"True Life Hero"is an uptempo rocker, it's okay. "Doctor Marvello" is the other song besides the opener to have mellotron on it. It does have an interesting sound to it with the vocals, beat and mellotron. "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby" reminds me of the lame and silly songs that ELP liked to throw on there albums. Not a fan at all. "Little Neutrino" is the longest tune at 8 1/2 minutes and it's different from anything else on here. An eerie start as processed vocals arrive after 1 1/2 minutes with strings, a beat and more. The processed vocals will continue throughout this experimental track.

This record reminds me of some of the best SAGA albums I have in that there are a few really good songs and a bunch of average or below tunes. Well worth the 3 stars of course and I will always enjoy "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft".

Report this review (#1564887)
Posted Sunday, May 15, 2016 | Review Permalink

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