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THE IMPERIAL HOTEL

England

Symphonic Prog


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England The Imperial Hotel album cover
3.03 | 12 ratings | 4 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Imperial Hotel (24:39) *

Total time: 24:39

* recorded in 1975

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Webb / keyboards, vocals, Moog bass
- Jamie Moses / guitars, vocals
- Mark Ibbotson / drums, vocals

Releases information

CD PROG 001 (2006)
(A free issue released by Club Citta and Strange Days Records under licence from Garden Shed Music)

Thanks to Joolz for the addition
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ENGLAND The Imperial Hotel ratings distribution


3.03
(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(8%)
8%
Good, but non-essential (75%)
75%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ENGLAND The Imperial Hotel reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This an interesting little gem if you can find it, a Prog 'epic' originally recorded in 1975 but not released until resurrected for a Japanese tour by the revived band in July 2006 [actually, a couple of dates at Club Citta in Tokyo!] and issued as a free handout to concert-goers to mark the occasion. England's only original album was released in 1977 - a melodic-symphonic classic - so this represents an earlier phase in the band's history. Compared to The Garden Shed album, this is a single track of pure Symphonic Prog, full of twists and turns, mood and tempo changes forming a very satisfying whole based on discrete interconnecting sections - musically more Supper's Ready than Close To The Edge though!

While its aspirations are clear, The Imperial Hotel is less sophisticated than the later album with some glaring shortcomings: songwriting is not strong enough, especially an ability to construct memorable melodies and hooks; the band members can play their instruments well enough, but in several places are let down by a weak arrangement or lack of decisive editing - the later album [recorded the following year] would show a quantum leap in basic grasp of song dynamics and construction; vocally, it doesn't hold a candle to the rich tapestries of harmony on The Garden Shed; though remastered in 2005, sound quality is no better than 'acceptable', sometimes being a little muddy especially in the bass [I believe the basslines are recent additions to the recording].

Despite its obvious flaws, this is an entertaining disc containing a wealth of ideas that provide an insight into England's early development, though a little over-ambitious and naive for a fledgling band to attempt such an adventurous project. Oh, and don't expect a blast of Mellotron - organ [presumably Hammond] is the all conquering keyboard here!

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Review by GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars England. This is the band that got stuck in the middle, like the novice soldier fighting the hordes of Punk all by himself, armed with a cosmic flower, a vison and died trying. (How the hell punk managed to draw all proggers to their own bosom is beyond me but that's the story. Punk slaughtered prog, if one is to believe what is said.)

England was surely an able band and one of my favorites. The were aböe to produce one marvellous album in "Garden shed", leaving an album's worth of high quality material and (as if that is not enough) managed to draw from the misty paths of time an unreleased track of 24 minutes, boasting all the characteristics of prog. On top of that it is a good one.

"Imperial Hotel" is a track to marvel at. The band wrote and recorded this nearly 25 minutes long epic AND it ended up on the shelf for 30 years. Good thing someone didn't throw it out in the bin. The first feeling I get is overwhelming amazement at the high level of musicianship and ideas put into this song. That is in itself very impressive. After a couple of listens I realize, though, that the song, no matter how enjoyable, sometimes loses some of it's momentum and drags on. It is an uneven balance between the great bits and the good ones. (There are no bad bits, actually.)

At times the music is more raw and rough than the material on "Garden shed". There is a higher degree of hard rock in this one, alongside all the symphonic parts. Though lacking the mellotron there is enough Hammond organ to make my eyes water from delight. I suppose that this is some sort of demo and that explains the rough edges, the so and so sound quality. That is something one has to accept and that really must be ignored and not be a part of the review.

When all is said and done, the fat lady has sung her anthem and someone has eaten the last piece of custard pie what remains is a great song, epic even, that really all progheads into old school progressive rock ought to lend an ear to. It is not 100% all the way through but it is a fantastic achievement worthy of (at least some) praise. The end result has to be three stars but that don't mean I do not love it. Because I honestly do.

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Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars England was a short-lived British Prog band, hailing from Maidstone, Kent, led by drummer Mark Ibbotson.Just before settling to a regular four-piece operating line-up, Ibbotson recruited keyboardist Robert Webb and guitarist Jamie Moses.The same year they recorded one ambitious 25-min. long piece at the Marquee Studios in London, which was never officially released.During a brief reformation some thirty years laters, including visits at the Baja Prog Festival and a short Japanese tour, the band handed out a number of CD copies with that song, titled ''The imperial hotel''.

At the time of the recording with no bassist on board, Webb played the bass lines through his Moog bass and ''The imperial hotel'' suggested a young band, heavily inspired by the British Prog bands of the time, basically GENESIS, YES and a little bit of KESTREL.Their sound was largely symphonic with many interesting keyboard parts and a few fiery guitar solos, sounding close to the likes of GENESIS circa-''The knife''.Rhythm changes and bombastic parts are definitely close to YES, but the melodies and omnipresent Hammond organ flashing reminds me a lot of TONY BANKS.''The imperial hotel'' is a super-tight composition, not actually on par with the best material the band recorded over its limited career, but the lust for long instrumental parts, multiple thematic variations and the undisputed talent of the trio resulted an overlooked prog epic, which sounds a bit raw at moments, still reveals a great potential.Poetic and theatrical singing lines to go along with more normal vocal arrangements, some fantastic organ executions, smooth piano backgrounds and a mixture of dramatic vibes and melodious orchestratins offer a nice listening experience in a Classic Prog vein.Of course they sounded pretty similar to their idols and hadn't matured enough to deliver the same monumental ideas, but this is nonetheless an easy-flowing prog piece with series of interesting instrumental and vocal stuff.

The free distribution of this archival piece makes its discovery quite a hard case.If you are lucky enough to detect a copy, be sure to love the classic years of GENESIS and YES.Recommended.

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Latest members reviews

3 stars A twenty-one minutes long gem for the Genesis & Yes fans out there. England was a band who successfully made Genesis sound their own at their brilliant classic album Garden Shed. An album no Genesis or symph prog should live without. The twenty one minutes epos The Imperial Hotel was written ... (read more)

Report this review (#456526) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, June 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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