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PSI-FI

Seventh Wave

Crossover Prog


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Seventh Wave Psi-fi album cover
3.53 | 28 ratings | 2 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Return to Foreverland (3:47)
2. Roads to Rome (3:12)
3. Manifestations (5:41)
4. Loved by You (2:45)
5. Only the Beginning (7:58)
6. Aether Anthem (1:29)
7. Astral Animal (3:08)
8. El Tooto (2:11)
9. Camera Obscura (9:01)
10. Star Palace of the Sombre Warrior (6:25)

Total Time 45:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Ken Elliott / vocals, multi-keyboards, synthesizers, pedals, percussion
- Kieran O'Connor / drums, multi-percussion, vocals

With:
- Hugh Banton / organ, Mellotron & ARP synthesizer (3)
- Steve Cook / electric bass (1,3)
- Rob Elliott / vocals (1,2,4,5,7,9)
- Tony Elliott / bongos (5), vocals (3,10)
- Brian Gould / organ & Crumar Stringman (5,10)
- Pepi Lemer / vocals (3)
- Pete Lemer / ARP synthesizer, RMI & Crumar piano (3,5,6,8,10)
- Tony Utah / multi-percussion (4)

Releases information

Recorded at Chalk Farm Studios, London.

Sleeve Design: John Pasche
Cover Photo: Phil Jude,
Made in England 1975.
A division of Gull Entertainments Limited, London.

All tracks written by Ken Elliott.
Produced by Neil Richmond.

Thanks to ZowieZiggy for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SEVENTH WAVE Psi-fi ratings distribution


3.53
(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
11%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
57%
Good, but non-essential (14%)
14%
Collectors/fans only (14%)
14%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

SEVENTH WAVE Psi-fi reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I did not really know which album to choose for my 1,000th review. Thought of the great "Floyd" DVD "P.U.L.S.E" or Kansas's one "Device, Voice, Drum" or the wonderful triple DVD set from "The Who" which holds both live renditions of "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia" Or the latest live CD set from "The Doors" : "Live At Boston".

And while I was re-arranging my discography in accordance of the new genre distribution within the ex Art Rock, I saw that a band called "Seventh Wave" was integrated into Cross-Over genre. Since I couldn't really believe that it was the "Seventh Wave" I knew I did read their bio and I was confirmed in my surprise. Yes, it was the "Seventh Wave" from my (late) teenage days.

Since this album belongs to the ones that have influenced me a looooong time ago, I decided that this would be the one. Of course, I guess that no-one has ever heard of the band (except Micky who adds the band to PA and whom I thank very much for this). But I can't really tell how I came to buy this album somewhere in 76. Maybe a laudatory review in the fanzine "More" (which was the only one available in Belgium by then).

What I was going to discover was a totally new type of music. Of course, at times some "Floyd" or "ELP" influence can be noticed but most of the time this album sounds as a truely "Seventh Wave" one and nothing else. Be ready for a very special journey when you embark "Psy-FI" which could also be titled "Sci-Fi" for its intriguing cover featuring a kind a friendly extra-terrestrial creature. It has always attracted me. Can't really tell why !

This second album has no much things to do with their debut one. From a two-man band, the line-up will be joined by several musicians who will help to give more heart and sould to the work even if like for "Things To Come" Ken Elliott is doing all of the songwritting. Both Bob and Tony Elliott (probably his brothers but I am not sure of this).

The opening track shows the way "Seventh Wave" (or Ken Elliot who IS the band) has chosen to investigate. "Return to Foreverland" is an incredible mix of pop, and electronic music. Extremely catchy chorus. Strong beat and so unique vocals from Ken. Difficult to describe. I guess that the same applies than with David Surkamp ("Pavlov's Dog") : either you can stand and like them or you will just hate them. My choice (for both of them) is the former.

"Roads To Rome" has a very special mood. Almost decadent (like the ancient Rome maybe). Pompous as well (an aspect that the band already had shown in their debut album and which can relate them with ELP. But these elements will be too scarce to really say that it is a major influence). This decadent feeling is also probably due to Ken's vocals. He sounds as if he was coming out a Berlin cabaret before WWII which adds some apocalyptical or end of the world sound to this song. Bombastic keys are featured as well.

Hugh Banton (from Van Der Graaf Generator) holds the keys during "Manifestations". This song is similar in spirit to " Return to Foreverland" : crazy beat, gorgeous keys, great vocals (good backings as well). A very good pop and catchy song. A bit futuristic and harrowing. It sounds as a new-wave song and a band like "Magazine" must have listened to this song.

"Loved By You" is so funny, so parodic that I can not believe that the band was too serious about it. It is sung by Ken's brother (Rob) and is a mix of soul, soap opera as well as retro style (the fifties) music. Irresistable.

One of the best song from this album (but it is already the third one so far) is the long "Only the Beginning". Spacey intro, hypnotic and electronic beat, close to the funky moods. Again the high-pitched vocals work very efficiently. I guess that the band invented the electro-funk. Rich keyboards, lots of synth (there will two guests backing Ken with organ and piano). Backing vocals provides additional strenght as well. A great way to close the first side of the vinyl album.

After the short and pompous "Aether Anthem", we'll get back to the decadent mood again with "Astral Animal". Another efficient electronic funk tune. Weird vocals combined with ambient music provide such a great feeling!

One of my fave since the very first time I have been listening to this very good album is the intrumental "El Tooto". Spacey and dramatic atmosphere. Beautiful melody, fully keyboard oriented with nice but very much in the background percussion work. Another highlight.

"Camera Obscura" is also one of my fave. It is a piece of opera on its own. Orgy of synths of course, complex, mostly instrumental, psychedelic and spacey for the closing section. It leaves the casual listener probably lost or at least perplex. It needs several spins to be accepted.

After nine minutes, the song merges nicely into "Star Palace of the Sombre Warrior". This passage is the closest one to "Floyd". Fully space rock oriented. It is the most emotional one of all. Dark, bombastic and again this fabulous (to my ears) vocals from Ken. Another highlight (one more). I really like this song and the whole album is like an enchantment. Thanks to PA to have revived this band in my memory.

This is an highly creative album. Totally original and so different from anything you could think of. I had never heard such music before. And actually, I know of no other band that has produced anything close to this work later on. It is not easily approachable. But if ever you get hold of the CD version which holds both of their LP's do have a listen. Maybe you will be charmed as I have been over thirty years ago.

Thousand words for a thousandth review. Sorry about this. Four stars.

Review by Matti
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The British band Seventh Wave made only two albums, Things to Come (1974) and Psi-Fi (1975), but their history goes far beyond that. In their teenage years in the mid-60's, keyboardist-vocalist Ken Elliott and drummer Kieran O'Connor founded SECOND HAND, an innovative and highly original psychedelic proto-prog act whose keyboard centred music was bizarre, complex and rather hard to digest. For their third album, after some line-up changes, the group name was changed to Chillum (an eponymous album in 1971 before disbanding) . When the two met again in a south London pub, O'Connor said they should do a synth & drums album without any band or touring. Things to Come was the result. (The name Seventh Wave refers to "Papillon", in which the seventh, biggest wave of the ocean is hoped to sweep the prisoner away.)

For this second album the two chose to invite several guest musicians, the best known of them being undoubtedly Van der Graaf Generator's organist Hugh Banton. As a fuller band work Psi-Fi comes a bit closer to "conventional" progressive ROCK than the preceding album, but still there's a certain unconventional vibe to it all. A unique mix of commercial flavour and an adventurous, at times almost other-worldly approach emphasized on synths. My introduction to Seventh Wave was the very adventure-spirited final track of this album, 'Star Palace of the Sombre Warrior', on a prog compilation box, and it impressed me quite a lot with its massive,multi-layered synth sounds and the emotionally effective nature of the song itself. Years later I purchased the 2-cd set including both SW albums, but frankly I've listened to it extremely rarely. One could use the sad word disappointment.

First, I don't like Elliott's sticky voice, which strangely didn't really bother me in that mentioned song. He sounds a bit like a bad version of Todd Rundgren. The opening song is a catchy rocker with an electronic music flavour. 'Roads to Rome' is slightly more elegant composition. Often this album reminds me of the hilarious art/glam-rock of early ROXY MUSIC, only with lots more synths. On fast-paced 'Manifestations' the female backing vocals of Pepi Lemer improve the Roxy-like atmosphere. The synthy instrumental tail of the song almost feels like a brief individual piece.

'Loved by You' is an openly commercial-styled song, a sort of a parody, not so far from what Rundgren has made. The 8-minute 'Only the Beginning' has a funk flavour and it grows into a hypnotic, spacey groove. Several of the following tracks are among highlights too (although some songs are not that good), reaching the climax in 'Star Palace...'. In fact, now I find much more to enjoy in this album than I thought there to be.

This may be a case of love and hate, starting from the vocals. There's surely both in my own reception. If you like Todd Rundgren and early Roxy Music and are fond of adventurous synth work, give it a try!

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