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Steamhammer - Reflection CD (album) cover



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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!

Steamhammer's debut is clearly entrenched into the second wave of British Blues Boom along with TYA , Savoy Brown , PG's Fleetwood Mac and others. However , this album has enough progressive overtones to indicate that the next albums will be of more interest for the scope of the site.

There are many fine moments on this album full of good interplay and good songwriting making this album a sort of example of progressive blues and proto-prog. The two part water is actually book-ending the album and some tracks such as Junior's Wailing , Even The Clock and 24 hours are very enjoyable. Hardly essential listening in the Archives's scope , this albunm remains a very pleasant spin in your deck. much better is to come, though.

Please note that this album came out with different sleeves back then and that all Steamhammer records have been reissued on the Repertoire label in the early 90's, although never in the mini-lp format as here on the Italian label Akarma.

Report this review (#40215)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Steamhammer's first album is one of their most bluesy efforts. Kieran White's voice resembles Ian Anderson's, making me think what would have happened if Mick Abrahams stayed with Jethro Tull for another album. Martin Pugh's guitar is fluid and is generously featured in short, bluesy solos. Rhythm guitarist Martin Quittenton, bassist Steve Davy and drummer Michael Rushton are discret and efficient through all this album, allowing full space to Pugh and White to shine. White and Quittenton wrote almost all songs, leaving space to B. B. King's "You'll Never Know" and Eddie Boyd's "Twenty-Four Hours". A brief instrumental "Water" splitted in two parts, begins and ends the proceedings. IMO, the best songs are "Junior's Wailing" (their first single), "Lost You Too" (the most ambitious blues- rock piece in this album) and "When All Your Friends Are Gone" (with a superb, fierce guitar solo by Martin Pugh), along with the two blues covers mentioned above. I would give 4 star to this album, but only progheads which are also interested in blues-rock would welcome "Reflections" as an excellent additon to their collection.
Report this review (#42005)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The best term that describes this record is...prog blues, or prog related blues. The basic influence is the blues of famous artists like Freddie King and early Jethro Tull. The lead vocals remind a bit Elvis Presley himself. Some guitar solos also remind Jimi Hendrix: the guitar sound is just excellent for the early year! Steve Joliffe, who contributed for the Tangerine Dream's Cyclone album, plays here some excellent flute parts a la Jethro Tull, a la early Solution or a la Focus. There are some visceral & typical harmonica parts. The tracks are a bit catchy, and some of them retain more particularly the attention. The melodic and galloping bass has a loud & bottom sound. Unlike MKII, Reflection unfortunately has no sax parts, and it is also slightly less progressive. This is a surprisingly good album for 1969.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Report this review (#124329)
Posted Saturday, June 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Steamhammer has been a part of my life for the past twenty years and I'm very glad for it. Starting out as an almost orthodox bluesrock band they evolved over the course of their four albums. Each new record brought new elements and it all ended in the glorious "Speech" in 1972. Having said that we will now delve into the first incarnation (soundwise, anyway) of this spectacular group. I feel they are a bit underappreciated. Perhaps they failed to make enough of an impact at the time and certainly failed to make much of an impact later.

Anyway, "Reflection" starts off with a wonderful little instrumental of just 50 seconds, "Water (part one). The flowing water over a gentle, slightly jazzy guitar is beautiful. This is all changed with their biggest "hit", "Junior's wailing". 3 minutes and 17 seconds of pure blues rock heaven. However much I like blues rock as a genre it is from a progressive perspective perhaps more of interest as a precursor to the mighty prog movement and while "Reflection" consists of music very much in the vein of "Junior's wailin" there are exceptions that points to the direction (or directions) to come. "Lost you too" is a wonderful ballad with a strong jazzy bottom. "She is in the fire" is also a slightly jazzier track with an amuzing trumpet intro. "Even the clock" is driven by flute and jazzy drums, "On the road" is another slow track with great feeling and a guitar solo played backwards. It all ends with "Water (part two)" which is, if possible, even more exquisite than the first part. The two "Waters" constitutes a great opening for the album and an even better closing.

From a strict progressive point of view "Reflection" is interesting mainly of the same reasons that Jethro Tulls "This was" is. It shows the eclectic approach to blues rock, adding hard rock and jazz and folk, eventually turning it all into, you guessed it, progressive rock. If I was to point out a prog album to a newcomer I wouldn't go for "Reflection" but if you're into prog with a jazz and blues bottom, not unlike Colosseum for instance, or like Steamhammers later output I would very much recommend this album. As far as prog is concerned I have to give this album three stars but as an album as such, a blues rock album with jazzy undertones, I'd give it four.

Report this review (#2039213)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2018 | Review Permalink

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