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Klaatu - Hope CD (album) cover



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5 stars One of the most creative concept albums of all time. The melding of musical styles is complex and remarkable. A true gem that has gone virtually unnoticed. A must for those who want to experience the sweeter side of progressive rock.
Report this review (#4268)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
4 stars Possibly the most unappreciated album in history. "Hope" is not only one of the best concept albums ever created, it is arguably among the best-produced albums ever created: the production is simply breath-takingly impossible. Yes, they "channel" the Beatles, Floyd, Supertramp, 10CC et al. But they admit that, and what they come up with is clearly more "influence" and tribute than "rip-off." The musicianship, songwriting, arrangements, harmonies, production, etc. are all first-class (if not better). And to think that only three people did all of it!! An absolute must-have for any prog-rock collection.
Report this review (#4262)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars For a long time, I (and many others) was terribly deceived at this album since by now it was obvious Klaatu were not The Beatles, and this album was not really rock as there were too many passages downright symphonic, or other kind of music, but not rock or pop as such. While I (and a few others) stayed blind to the merits of this album - it stayed un-played on my shelves, just keeping it because of the superb artwork sleeve - I finally caught on some six or seven years after its release. This is mainly due to the fact that the album is definitely not as immediately pleasing, and can be a little dense from the outside.

Nowadays I can tell you that as teen-agers we make quick and unsubstantiated judgments, dismissing such outstanding works as this masterpiece, but the fact that progressive rock and concept album were quickly becoming unfashionable at the time of this release. The fact that I was 14, getting into my metal period (Rainbow, Priest etc..) and that punk (Stranglers and Clash) were peaking made me forget quickly this bizarre album. Even if there are still some slight Beatles-influences (mostly on the first two tracks), this album is an awesome chef d'oeuvre in songwriting, musical execution and very deeply personal, showing that these guys were just as worthy of the group they were confused with. Actually if you could blend The Beatles, Queen and 10 CC together, you might just amount to something like 60% of the worth of this album alone.

Based upon the concept (already developed in their previous 3:47 EST album) of the Klaatu planet, its inhabitants had developed sophisticated communications much the same way on our Earth today. Politzania was a country that believed itself to be superior to others and open warfare nearly but all destroyed the planet as a result, blowing fragments into open space. Only surviving Klaatu people a lonely lighthouse keeper keep the laser beam working to warn of the danger. His message for other planets, after the disaster of his, is: HOPE!!! The superb artwork is in my top 10 artwork and certainly fits the music perfectly, both in majesty and in excellence - you can see the link to their debut album on the cover of this one with the "sun" in the foreground.

To describe the songs individually will be too long or too complicated as there are so many things happening in this album, to even mention the first 10% ? Just know that most of the second side is symphonic orchestra dominated and absolutely superb. Those of you that have read my many reviews know that I am rather wary of such (often ridicule) concept album and furthermore incorporating classical music, but here, this is undisputably a masterpiece of the genre, a flabbergasting and awesome progressive gem, too often forgotten. The music ranges from Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody in a operatic passage of Loneliest Creature) to the implacable beauty of 10 CC harmonies, the synthesisers are mostly the ones from the first part of the 70's, their musical dynamic range is close to Yes or Genesis and the music is as theatrical as Ange or Gabriel could have ever imagined it to be. These three guys blended classical musical and rock instrumentation so well, that it sends Emerson, Wakeman or Lord back to school. Not everything is perfect on the album, but whatever flaws there are they are minor and few (the end movement of Long Live Politzania should have been kept symphonic rather than have the trio have a go at it), and Terry Brown's production (of Rush fame) is simply perfect.

With such a complex album to promote, it was also impossible for this still faceless and nameless band to go on tour and reproduced such an uncanny oeuvre without costing millions, so Klaatu remained in anonymity, for yet another album. With Third Army Suit, they will show their faces and names (both hidden in the artwork and in the inner sleeve) and to everybody's amazement, they were only a trio. Unfortunately, the music was not quite as good as on this album. But Hope is an apex in terms of concept albums and is a must for every proghead.

Report this review (#4264)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yet another jem from KLAATU with continued strong symphonic song writing very much in the vein of BEATLES and ELO. Once again musicianship is very high and this album has great character to it with some of the most memorable music ever written. Another essential buy...!!!
Report this review (#4265)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars If my house were on fire and I could save 3 cd's out of my collection, they would be "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "The Wall" and Klaatu's "Hope". The trio outdo themselves in the presentation and delivery, but they never slacked concerning the lyrics and storyline. I would call this work their masterpiece.
Report this review (#4266)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Better than watching a movie, equal in experience with Aphrodite's Child - 666, and Jeff Wayne - War of the Worlds. Truly a complete masterpiece and evidently a one time only for Klaatu. Well worth owning. "Hope" will coax you out of your depressions.
Report this review (#4272)
Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars A true concept album that sounds unlike anything I have heard before or since. True, it is filled with pop-like melodies, but the arrangements and quality of recording was way ahead of its time. This album carries me away into a dreamlike state. For me, the second side is the better one, with Lighthouse Keeper and my favorite song on the album, Loneliest Creature. these guys only toured once that I am aware of, and I was fortunate to have heard them. They did not disappoint. Sadly, they are long disbanded, but aside from the dismal album "Endangered Species" I can recommend any of their others wholeheartedly, especially if you like a bit of melodic pop mixed in with your prog.
Report this review (#4273)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars A good Art rock album, bearing similarities with Renaissance, Supertramp, ELO, Queen and Beatles influences are heard throughout the album. Mostly melodic rock, with cheerful tunes, classic music intermingled with the rock melodies, good instrumental passages, and fast changes in melodie and mood. A Fabulous album.

Side one of the album, is starts with popish melodics, with nice piano's (Renaissance/Elton John/Beatles style), and Elo type of orchestration and vocals, but the synthesisers add a little dark atmospherics into the music. A very good first half of the album.

Side two is a four part epic, starting with 'The Loneliest Of Creatures' a fabulous tune, developing from a piano opening, classical music and fabulous vocals, very uplifting, but also desperate loneliness in some parts, if the singer isn't the loneliest of people than who can he be, thus is introduced the Lighthouse keeper, the sole survivor. Great song and opening of side two. followed by 'Prelude' again symphonic classical music, very good developed, and an exciting song, a bit fanfare elements. naturally progressing to the centre piece of the epic 'So Said The Lighthouse Keeper' a soft voice introduces himself as the loneliest creature, being the lighthouse keeper, soft melodicly the music gets more intens, which leads us to the enclosure of the epic. 'Hope' The final, slowely melancholy it progresses, the final is a bit disappointing considering the beginning of the epic.

Unfortunatly Side two of the album dies a bit in the end, like they were out of inspiration, but everything up to that point is fabulous soft classical inspired rock music, so if you like Renaissance, Supertramp, ELO, and the beatles, you might like it a lot, as I do.

Recommended on the strength of the first half of the second side, great fun, but don't expect a miracle. 3,5 stars, rounded up, since I think the band deserves it.


Report this review (#39926)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hee hee, of course the proggers love this Klaatu album the best -- honestly, I always had a hard time getting into this concept album, but then I came to the band as a fan of the "art-pop" music on the quite different albums they made immediately before and after this one.

As individual songs go, the first two are the best -- "We're Off You Know" is a rollicking "Magical Mystery Tour" sort of launchpad song, quite catchy and uplifting. "Madman" is a hard rocking number (written by guitarist Dee Long, Woloschuk wrote most of the material) with the finest guitar solo you'll hear on any Klaatu LP, almost Ace Frehley territory!

Taken as a concept album -- this is actually as emotional and moving a "rock opera" as I've ever come across. It's sort of depressing, yet invokes the sad mood for the specific purpose of uplifting the listener by providing . . . . HOPE.

This is definitely the Klaatu album for serious proggers (perhaps the ONLY Klaatu album for serious proggers) . . . though personally I rate their first 3 albums all quite highly. One of my favorite obscure bands of all time!

Report this review (#50679)
Posted Saturday, October 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Besides this entire album being completely nuts, does anyone ever hear the spiraling horse steps in Long Live Politzania? (listen on headphones) This album bugs me out for many reasons. Were off you Know is one of the most interesting songs for many reasons. Not only is the melody uplifting, but also the beat is basically a hip- hop beat. The use of strings and horns (especially in the end of the song) are well aranged and writen. This is just the first track. Listen to it and enjoy. Scale= Definately Buggin!
Report this review (#62519)
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars So, probably almost everybody knows the story here. A group of faceless musicians puts out a quirky little Sgt. Pepper-sounding album with no credits or liner notes to speak of, including a progesque opening tune ("Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft") that sounds suspiciously like the B-word (ie., the Beatles). Next thing you know the guys have an album on the pop charts, loads of magazine press speculating on which one of them is Lennon and which one is Ringo, and the Carpenters cover their only hit and take it to nearly the top of the North American charts. What a feel-good story.

A year or so later, with the myth somewhat debunked but still believed by most conspiracy theory-obsessed troll-fans who were off their meds, along comes yet another album by these guys. This one has no credits either, sending the trolls off the deep end and looking for a grassy knoll in Nevada to investigate. Good publicity stuff, that.

Hope is a concept album of sorts, about a former planet (between Mars and Uranus, I believe), where two races basically destroy each other over some inane disagreement of some sort. One man survives, and he sets up a lighthouse to warn others of the dangers of, well of being human I guess. He's a lonely, pitiful slob who just wants to know why we can't all get along. The album closes with the sappiest and most completely endearing song of hope ever, appropriately entitled "Hope". So there's the Cliff Notes version.

Only a few may admit it, but just about every serious progressive music fan has a copy of this one stuck away somewhere warm and safe. This is their 'get out of a blue funk free' card.

The album opens with "We're off You Know", which makes it fairly apparent why the Beatles rumors persisted. This reminds me of the peppy tune that kicks off the adventure in 'James and the Giant Peach', only in this one we are being swept away to this mystical land between the planets known as Politzania (or points nearby).

The destruction comes quickly, or more likely occurred before we ever arrived to observe this terrific and terrible place. The madness of human discord has already wrecked havoc -

"Weep now for the children of your children; it's not for you but they we sing. Do it, and when you realize that you blew it, you will look in the eyes of the madman".

"Around the Universe in 80 Days" is a combination of "Space Oddity" and 'Space Balls', a goofy little tune about a hitchhiker's guide to the universe (or something like it). Silly lyrics, carnival tune, kind of fun nonetheless.

Professor Charles Pamplemousse explains the anthropology of the Politzanian race and the reasons for their demise in "Long Live Politzania". Pretty much what you'd expect - a self-described superior race where dissenters were effectively 'reprogrammed' by government operatives, in this case through brain removal. Quite subtle, yes?! The Politzanian National Anthem closes the song:

"Politzania, brave, strong and true; Politzania we all love you. We'll smite our foes for we are right, and God is on our side. Politzania, red, white and green; Politzania reigning supreme. Victors in war, champions of peace - onto eternity. We're the Masters of the World!" Despite the color change to make a rhyme with 'supreme' work, this sounds suspiciously like our Canadian Klaatu friends just to their southern border. Coincidence? Probably not.

Hang on, the cheerful part is coming...

The back half of the album launches with "The Loneliest of Creatures", a plaintive self-absorbed lament by some unnamed individual who feels themselves to be the most lonely person in the world. Turns out they are incorrect, as is pointed out by the bodiless choir who shout him down "Oh no! You're not the loneliest of all creatures in the universe - oh no!". Turns out the winner of that title is the sole survivor of the Politzania self-induced genocide. This is the guy I mentioned earlier who is sitting in the interstellar lighthouse lamenting the bad form of his former race.

The "Prelude" is a prelude to, I suppose, the end of the song. This is an instrumental that sort of acts as intermission music, or maybe a bridge between the history lesson of the previous songs, and the grand finale of when we meet the lighthouse gentleman. Anyway, the lighthouse keeper is lonely, true, but he is also determined to come up with the most profound prayer that will spare ours and future generations from befalling the same fate as did his:

"So said the lighthouse keeper, as he wiped a teardrop from his nose, upon which his spectacles rose and gazed out to the stars. And like a portrait still he stared, and sighing to himself declared, "I must invent the perfect prayer. Not yours, not mine, but ours."

And that prayer is:

"Let us feel Hope, and feel the sunrise in our minds. To give Hope is to enlighten all mankind. But lose Hope, and life seems black as blind. When faith gives way to fear, when motivation disappears -

all is lost if one abandons Hope."


Report this review (#75293)
Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first memory of this album was reading a review of it in a Canadian Stereo / Audio mag of the time. It called it the ultimate melding of a rock band & orchestra. And the thing is, the orchestra is present when their presence is called for, & absent when it would simply double other instruments lines. The opening & ending tracks bring back warm memories of melodies, happy & melancholic that such grand artists such as the Moody Blues & the Beatles. The Beatles were always the "weapon" some negatives would use to dismiss this group, likely because of the media's hyping the untruth that this was in fact the Beatles. Yet, while an influence, Klaatu never rips off the Beatles. Surprising to some, including me, is when I read that they felt their more obvious influence was the Moody Blues. But in between We're Off You Know & Hope lies a succession of such beautiful progressive music that I am at a lost to understand its' lack of standing, especially among a prog community such as ours here at PA. Around the Universe in 80 Days, Loneliest of Creatures, So Said The Lighthouse Keeper ... if it were any other group, another act that didn't have that Beatles hype albatross around them, I wonder . Would that make the difference ? Would people actually sit down & listen & see why this opus belongs among the great prog albums of the 70s ? Alas, some minds have set themselves in stone. But those who have listened & heard it as it should be heard, with an open-mind, with no thoughts of influences, media hype, they know the jewel that is in their hands. But ... remember ... All is lost if one abandons Hope. I haven't abandoned it in regards to giving this record the accolades it rightly deserves.
Report this review (#117349)
Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hope, the sophmore effort from obscure Candaian prog roock out Klaatu, remains a highlight late 70s progressive rock for its classical structure and rock sensabilities. Personally,, Klaatu melodies are more akin to Barclay James Harvest, (Everyone is Everybody Else, Time Honoured Ghosts era). Many argue Hope is one of the first concept albums which actually tells the listener a complete story, however, both The Lamb, Tommy, and to a lesser extent Pawn Hearts share structured storylines. However, the themes in Hope deal with loneliness, isolation, and fear. The albums itself includes a number of memorable tunes, my favorite being the "The Loneliest of Creatures," This album and 3:47EST illustrate the creative genius of Klaatu. Unfortunately, Klaatu would release number of unsuccessful pop/rock albums and ultimately release Magentalane, which would be considered a dismal attempt to capture past glories, ala 3:47EST and Hope. I would advise prog fans who enjoy The Enid and early Barclay James Harvest to give this album a listen.
Report this review (#125355)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I very rarely give an album the full 5 star treatment, but this album deserves it.

'Hope' starts where 3:47 EST left off. Quite literally, it starts with the small mouse squeak that ended the first album. It only takes a few spins of this album to really get into the music. It's the only concept album by Klaatu, and their only true Masterpiece. 'Hope' has so many things to say and the story the album tells is one of my favorite stories ever told. It presents very rich sounds out of every song and every movement. There is not one point in the album that I find dull. If you have not heard this album before, I suggest you give it a spin.

'We're off you Know' starts the album off on a light and bouncy side. It captures the beginning of the story well and the whole concept of 'hope', and will need to be remembered come the end of the album, when hope is needed. 'Madman' is more of a rocking riff song, and being the shortest song on the album is only here for a taste of what's to come later.

'Around the Universe in 80 Days' is my favorite song written by Klaatu, and starts the journey of the true story of the album. It sounds similar to 'Little Neutrieno' from their first album, which is fine for me. It's a very mellow drifty song that feels like you're travailing around the Universe. In 'Long Life Politzania' we start to see the story unfold, giving us a setting and history of what happened to this poor planet. It follows 'Madman's rockish feel at times, and exhibits the first song's bounce at times, while capturing 'Around the Universe's mellowness.

Then we enter the second half of the album, three songs blended into one in a very "Back in NY City- Hairless Heart-Counting out time" feel from 'The Lamb' by Genesis. 'The Loneliest of Creatures' is a very nice soft song, getting into the minds of those in the story and introducing the milestone character of story 'The lighthouse Keeper'. 'Prelude' has everything a good middle song needs: great sounds, great changes, covering all emotions and a marching band! At one point I swear it sounds like an electric violin. It provides enough uplift and atmosphere to change from 'The Loneliest of Creatures' to 'So said the Lighthouse Keeper'. This song is the key of the story of the album and we learn all there is to know of this Kurtz like figure (It's from Heart of Darkness). This is the song that brings it all together, keeping in touch with the mellow atmosphere and hard riffs theme that was presented in 'Madman' and 'Long Live Politzania'.

Then we come to 'Hope'; the final Lament of the Lighthouse Keeper. His final words and final wish left for all to find. You really can capture a whole essence of the story and album in the one word. This brings the album and story to an end and with it the beauty it presented.

A true masterpiece; never to be repeated by the band. If I were to pick one story from an album to turn into a movie, this would be it. Just remember the last and final word of the Lighthouse Keeper, and keep Hope.

Report this review (#174173)
Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars To depict what's available in here is almost as difficult than to describe the great "Sheet Music" from "10CC".

There is the same extravaganza, the same taste for superb vocal harmonies, excellent arrangements and tons of inventiveness. But "Klaatu" won't reach the same glory than the illustrious English band.

The huge amount of orchestration used in this album can also evoke ELO sometimes, and the weird phrases in the start of "Long Live?" reminds me Tull, while Ian was introducing "The Hare" part in "APP". At times though, and especially during this long track, the music is somewhat pedant, pretentious and even overloaded.

The same hilarious style (but moving as well at the same time) is fully present during "The Loniest Of Creatures" available on the original B-side of the vinyl. But loads of orchestrations are a bit too much for my taste like in "Prelude". The best melody is probably "So Said The Lighthouse Keeper". A pure jewel, a kaleidoscope of vocal and musical harmony,

The very positive and poignant "Hope" is another of the beauties featured here. Very much ELO oriented, thanks to its brilliant melody again. And we all know how great was Jeff in writing catchy and wonderful songs. Only second to the ones you know (see the other reviews for more info).

I'm not desperately in love with this album, but due to the limitation of the rating system here at PA, I will upgrade this work to the four stars achievement. This album has been re-edited in the CD format which also holds their debut album (for only 11?, shipment included). An excellent deal.

Report this review (#230857)
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Beauty, that's what this music is. Then, because we're reviewing on Prog site, we're hoping in that this album will have enough Prog elements to rate it highly. But I almost forgot, because we're now in Prog-related realms, so no holds barred, I can let my imagination go wild, can't I ? Of course, there's this first track, surprisingly not completely different from the rest of album. Yes, it's Beatle-esque, but this can be advantage as well, not just burden that this record will carry to Prog doomsday, where all its qualities will be judged and rating will be pronounced. We're Off You Know is playful, even more than The Beatles (while having Art Rock elements, but I know that this trumpet really can remind famous Fab Four to some. But as an intro, it serves well, even not being the most proggiest song ever. I like it, but if this one was very good, then the rest is completely charming.

Madman is eccentric song that reminds me some of these half nice, half weird bands of early 70's. Ends quickly however and I don't complain, because the main attraction is still ahead of us. Ladies and gentlemen, let's welcome Around the Universe In Eighty Days, slowly built symphonic with touch of electronic synthesizers later on. Sets the definitive mood of this album. Long Live Politzania with intro in classical style (synth) with overacted spoken vocals, well then providing electronic singing instead, they're not so nice (can stand very well this part), but this song is long enough to cure its mistakes. What it is, romanticism ? Renaissance maybe. And wait for interesting choir in the end

Symphonic orchestra as main element here is something I always like (well, mostly). "The Loneliest of Creatures" is nice again, let's just wait for their vocal work. Prelude isn't normal prelude you would except. It's a song that can live on its own and still be of interest to let's say The Enid lovers, but in this concept work, it's important song. So Said The Lighthouse Keeper is realization of some kind. Yes, I can hear words, I can understand what he's singing, but not what he's singing about, the meaning is still slipping out of my mind, sadly. But I hope I'll like it even more and will take this challenge to understand story behind this album by myself. It will be great reward after all. This slowly roaming motif that wanders through most of tracks here is finally fully realized, in the ending part of this song. Glimpses of this act has been seen before, but it's complete now. What can then Hope offer ? Something little bit different, even more bombastic (theatrical to be honest) ending with dreamy backing vocals and optimistic atmosphere, which fully corresponds with its name, HOPE.

5(+), this is Prog Related ? Oh, I wish all of them were like this one, nice, symphonic.

Report this review (#270945)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars A shameless attempt at creating an original album whilst plagiarising ELO, the Beatles, Yes and Queen with a bit of Floyd thown in for good measure.

Things begin off promisingly enough with 'We're off you know' which is like watching one of those horrible religious channels on TV where everyone has smiles the size of water melons, doing the 'bouncy-bouncy' and waving their arms in the air.

On 'Madman' - the guitarist has evidently been listening to too much Floyd. Those guitars are straight off 'Animals' in a second rate manner. 'The Loneliest of Creatures' is just too silly for words - with lead vocalist John Woloschuk trying his hardest to sound like Jon Anderson from 'Yes' with added overblown Queen style overdubs chucked in.

'Hope' is an album that's all over the place stylistically. Clear musical influences are recognised literally every minute. It's all quite toe-curlingly bad and thoroughly embarrassing throughout its duration. Take for example the 9 minute 'Long Live Politzania'. From the outset you've got 3 Canadians forcing excruciating Edwardian England cod upper class vocals, which has my eyebrows furrowing in annoyance. Lyrics include such classics as 'Long live Politzania we all love you, we'll smite our foes for we are right and God is all.' Did Billy Graham lend a hand here?

Klaatu are a parasitical non-entity, ready and willing at the drop of a hat to emulate their contemporaries without any shame at all. The music simply isn't very good and the less said about the lyrics the better. The only reason this gets two stars is the fact that it's actually very well engineered and produced. God knows why they were given the time in a professional studio to produce this exceptionally unoriginal album.

Report this review (#300190)
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars There are a few famous ficticious planets in the world of prog rock; Gong has its own self-titled planet, Magma has Kobaia, this Canadian group conceptualised this doomed planet known as Politzania. Klaatu took painstaking strides to really try to hit home with the concept including the intrusion of a symphonic orchestra to spew the emotion out.

HOPE has garnered much attention from prog rock fans towards a band that is more of a fringe act. I could understand Klaatu being a prog rock band, but I've not been impressed with the group through HOPE. A large amount of pompous orchestra pop music is here, and while it gives HOPE sophistication, the cheese factor is also incredibly high.

The first few numbers remind me of the Beatles that spent too much time in the theatre. I like theatrics, but hearing tracks like ''Madman'' make me cringe. ''Long Live Politzania'' has some of the goofiest vocalisations I've ever heard including the ''Politzania'' lines that make the vocals sound like guitars; simply awful.

The second half fares better with ''The Lonliest of Creatures'' having a ''singing in the round'' with a classical march sound to it. It's easily the best track off the album; progsters will enjoy the orchestra infestation on ''Prelude'', but it lasts a bit too long for me. The others simply don't have the spark with ''So Said the Lighthouse Keeper'' again having squirm-inducing vocals. I know they help advance the plot, but the vocals could've been done more tastefully.

The cover is great to stare at for a long period of time; easily one of the greatest ever. Cover aside, the music here too plot-centred and has too much goofy pop for me to enjoy. Fans of the Beatles, Queen, 10cc and ELO style of pomp pop will like HOPE as well as those in the symphonic prog arena or those looking for an emotive, grandiose concept pop-prog album.

Report this review (#345233)
Posted Monday, December 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars I did mention in my review of 3:47 E.S.T. that Klaatu made quite a few improvements over their debut on Hope but I forgot to say that those changes made it into one of prog rock essential masterpieces!

It's actually quite interesting how much this album has divided the opinion between progressive rock fans and the mainstream audiences that Klaatu had acquired after the release of their debut album. Maybe it's because most listeners expected the followup album to be more of the same while the band went the ambitious route of creating a concept album and incorporating a symphonic orchestra into the arrangements. The musical approach to Hope might be seen as a continuation of Days Of Future Passed, released a decade after the ground breaking 1967 record's glory days. It's really quite a pity that the audiences attention to these type of ambitious projects began to fade in this new age of punk music revolution since Hope is quite the masterpiece in its own right.

It doesn't really matter if you find the concept aspect of the music appealing since it's the music that does most of the talking here and there are quite a few highlights to pick from! The album starts with another quirky flirt with the Beatles sound on We're Off You Know, but that's pretty much all that we get of this previously well established approach. Madman is where we get introduced to the symphonic direction that Klaatu was aiming for with Hope and even if those results can be considered a bit shaky by some, Around The Universe In 80 Days is where they deliver the goods. This is one of the many wonderful symphonic ballads that make up the bulk of this concept album and if you're like me then this would pretty much be the definition of essential masterpiece right here!

Long Live Politzania is the longest composition here and it might feel a bit alienating at first, due to the different section that the music goes through leading up to the anthem-like conclusion, just give it time and it will grow on you. Side two is my favorite of the two since this is where we get the sad and beautiful epilogue to the story and compositions like The Loneliest Of Creatures and So Said The Lighthouse Keeper really make it a pompous journey there. Everything culminates with the title track, which wasn't originally a huge favorite of mine but the repeated listens managed to solve this minor problem.

Hope is pretty much a perfect concept album that got the unfair treatment due to the fact that it was released at the time when prog music was pretty much out of the picture for most people and so not many have had the chance to experience this magical release. Luckily it's magnitude has not been lost in time and it still remains a great piece of symphonic prog music that I strongly recommend to everyone who cares to listen!

***** star songs: We're Off You Know (4:02) Around The Universe In 80 Days (5:00) The Loneliest Of Creatures (3:45) So Said The Lighthouse Keeper (5:51) Hope (4:44)

**** star songs: Madman (2:39) Long Live Politzania (9:12) Prelude (5:45)

Report this review (#507246)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Klaatu's Hope illustrates perfectly why people at the time speculated that they might be a sneakily reunited Beatles - between the vocal harmonies and the whimsical compositional style they sound uncannily like late-era Beatles with mildly updated instrumentation and production values. Few bands can pull off the Beatles' particular style of whimsy without sounding like irritatingly twee tryhards - hell, even the Beatles themselves couldn't pull it off 100% of the time - but here Klaatu nail it. Even when the album becomes saccharine and annoying, it does so at exactly the points the Fab Four themselves would have become saccharine and annoying. With a Phil Spector-like wall of sound approach applied to the production with skill and finesse, the better portions of the album put me in mind of a version of Let It Be that actually works, and for that achievement at least they deserve recognition.
Report this review (#975385)
Posted Monday, June 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Somewhere out there in the annals of prog history, there is an album that combines the Yellow Submarine/Magical Mystery Tour Beatles with Bohemian Rhapsody Queen and adds a touch of Final Cut Pink Floyd all performed in a way that sometimes sounds like a children's fantasy movie for adults. This quirky production belongs to Klaatu, a trio of musicians to emerge from Canada with a sound that was so uncannily like the Beatles at times that in the beginning that they were mistaken for a secret reformation of the legendary band under the guise of an obscure alias.

"Hope" is the simple title of this musical number and it is either two stories that are part of the same tale or two separate stories told over the course of eight tracks. Two of the first three songs, "We're off You Know" and "Around the Universe in Eighty Days" are about space travel, a theme already covered on their debut album. The track in between these two, "Madness" could be related either to these two or the story that comes after.

The main story here is the tale of an ancient advanced civilization called Politzania which seems to have existed on another world from ours. They were a proud people who thought themselves the highest of all civilizations but fell in some disastrous war with another race, or so I gather. The track "Long Live Politzania" is told mostly by a stuttering archaeologist who speaks like a dithering British professor without the accent. This can bit a bit detracting from the music at times, especially the part about reclaiming the brains of non-believers in Politzania's superiority, but the music is very dramatic with orchestra and band. Different voices and different styles of music make this seem like a musical soundtrack. "The Loneliest of Creatures", "Prelude", "So Said the Lighthouse Keeper", and "Hope" all help tell the story through lyric and music, and the whole package is quite a decent production.

The one track that will stand out is "Madness" which has what I've decided is "Flying V rock". This is because each time the music gets heavy and the electric guitar comes rocking in, I imagine that the guitar is a Flying V. I can't help but imagine that this kind of music must be played on a Flying V. It's my favourite song on the album, too!

A little bit cute in a way, this is an impressive performance nonetheless. There are some who call this one of the little known must have albums. Maybe picture "The Neverending Story" or "Dark Crystal" or something like that with Muppets but about a lost civilization on another planet. Some great music here and imagination, too.

Report this review (#1534074)
Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2016 | Review Permalink

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