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EARTH & FIRE

Symphonic Prog • Netherlands


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Earth & Fire biography
This top notch Dutch band from The Hague had their pinnacle during the early Seventies when they delivered some outstanding 24 carat symphonic rock albums. EARTH & FIRE was founded by the twin brothers Chris (guitar) and Gerard (keyboards) Koerts in '68. Soon bass player Hans Ziech, drummer Kees Kalis and singer Lisette joined them. Unfortunately Lisette had to give up singing because of a serious eye-disease and Kees Kalis left. They were replaced by Ton v/d Kley and the beautiful, very sexy Jerney Kaagman. She was a discovery by GOLDEN EARRING singer Barry Hay, they knew each other from the blossoming rock scene in The Hague.

When EARTH & FIRE had a hugh success with three Sixties poprock oriented singles "Seasons", "Ruby is the one" and "Wild and exciting" (in '70 all reached the Dutch Top 5), the band decided to become professionals. Gerard Koerts bought a Mellotron, this instrument changed the Dutch progrock history because EARTH & FIRE used it for a more lush symphonic keyboard sound. Eventually they developed a very unique progrock style (a bit similar to the French progrock band SANDROSE and UK band JULIAN'S TREATMENT featuring lots of organ, Mellotron, strong and sensitive electric guitar and distinctive vocals from Jerney Kaagman. And EARTH & FIRE remained successful with their single releases, the Mellotron drenched "Storm and Thunder" ('72, #6), "Memories" ('72, #1), "Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight" ('73, #3) and "Love of Life" ('74, #2) all reached the Dutch Top 10. Also the albums in that era sold very well and gained worldwide recognition: "Songs of the Marching Children" ('71, reaching #12), "Atlantis" ('73, reaching #6) and "To the World of the Future" ('75, reaching #7) are considered as 'progrock classics', especially in Japan EARTH & FIRE is even more popular than FOCUS! Gradually their sound turned into more poppy, culminating into the success of the very commercial song Weekend, reaching #1 and remaining 13 weeks in the charts! Also the following albums "Gate to Infinity" ('77), Reality Fills Fantasy" ('79, reaching #2)), "Andromeda Girl" ('81, reaching #12)) and "In a State of Flux" "82) lost most of the symhonic ingredients.

The albums "Song of the Marching Children" and "Atlantis" belong to the best of the Dutch progrock history. The epic title tracks from both albums (between 16 and 19 minutes) are recommended: the sound is very warm and melodic with lots of changing atmospheres, accelerations and surprising breaks. The one moment you hear a mellow organ, twanging acoustic guitars and a fairy-like voice from Jerney, the other moment there are bombastic eruptions with majestic Mellotron, heavy floods of organ and some fiery electric guitar work, topped by the powerful voice of Jerney. By the way, she has been married for almost 30 years with Bert Ruiter, former bass player from FOCUS...!

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

Earth & Fire official website

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EARTH & FIRE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

EARTH & FIRE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.37 | 57 ratings
Earth and Fire
1970
4.07 | 139 ratings
Song of the Marching Children
1971
3.35 | 79 ratings
Atlantis
1973
3.62 | 59 ratings
To the World of the Future
1975
2.62 | 33 ratings
Gate to Infinity
1977
2.12 | 24 ratings
Reality Fills Fantasy
1980
2.08 | 20 ratings
Andromeda Girl
1981
2.10 | 14 ratings
In a State of Flux
1982
2.80 | 9 ratings
Phoenix
1989

EARTH & FIRE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

EARTH & FIRE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.53 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits - Clips, Interviews And TV-Specials
2004

EARTH & FIRE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 5 ratings
Superstarshine Vol. 2
1975
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Best of Earth and Fire
1975
3.52 | 4 ratings
The Story of Earth and Fire
1976
3.08 | 3 ratings
The Best of Earth and Fire
1979
3.00 | 2 ratings
Greatest Hits
1980
3.93 | 12 ratings
Song of the Marching Children / Atlantis
1987
2.00 | 2 ratings
The Very Best Of
1991
2.25 | 3 ratings
The Singles
1995
3.06 | 6 ratings
3 Originals
1998
3.15 | 4 ratings
The Universal Masters Collection
2002
3.52 | 3 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2003

EARTH & FIRE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Ruby Is the One
1970
4.08 | 3 ratings
Memories
1972

EARTH & FIRE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 139 ratings

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Song of the Marching Children
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by MyDarling95

3 stars Another hard time for me. I discovered this band back at my 16's, and being that it was on the Greg Walker's greates prog albums lists, I didn't hesitate on giving it a try. But what a disappointment I had! First (but maybe least) cover art is awfuk while inner art os gorgeus. Maybe that was the intention ("watching through the broken seal, saw the tree of life"). The other thing I really can't stand is Jerney Kaagman. Many people love her voice, but for me it sounds boring, dry, dull, like she didn't want to be there. Also the mellotron is at times excesive for me (it is not one of my fave keys really). Also, and please let's face it, none of the musicians here neither are really good musicians nor good composers. And so let me tell you that the first time I listen to this record it was in a 9-hour flight, but combined with the vocals, the instrumentation and of course the cover art, I couldn't help to fall asleep. And so I begin: Carnival of the Animals opens the record. I really don't like this one, especially the part when Kaagman tries to sing high notes (gawd my ears!). Ebbtide wins some points because of the flute, this one is a nice tune. Storm And Thunder is not a great song, once again vocals are bad, this once would have been a good instrumental maybe. In the Mountain IS instrumental, and is the other song I kinda like from side A, features good guitars (finally!). Side B is a mixed bag. It is a side long suite that preceds CTTE and Supper's Ready for instance. There are parts where I think Kaagman vocals fit perfectly (wow) but there isn't really nothing new here, just a longer reprise of side A. This is one of those albums that I know I should like, but I'm unable to like. It just lacks spirit, it lacks energy, smoething. I know this album is good, but I just don't feel it, don't appreciate it. But well, let's not blame the Netherlands, remember Focus, Finch and Supersister.

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 Gate to Infinity by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.62 | 33 ratings

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Gate to Infinity
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars If you're wondering about the cover, it's a real place. This cover depicts the Azadi Tower in Tehran, Iran, which at that time was known as the Shahyad Tower but renamed Azadi after the 1979 revolution to remove any legacies of the Shah.

Anyways, this is basically where progheads jump off the boat as far as Earth & Fire is concerned. They're now a pop/disco act, and I can't deny the disco influence, but in all fairness, side one isn't all that bad. There's that disco element that's sure to scare off progheads, but I'm actually surprise of the proggy approach of much of this side. As a matter of fact, I don't find it any worse than the title track of To the World of the Future, which itself is an odd disco/prog hybrid. Right in between "Recognition?" and "A Princess in Egypt" is a bit of a shot experimental bit. There is also some small amount of Mellotron, but since real strings are used on the album, it's little surprise tron is used so little on this album (but surprisingly, their next three albums, Reality Fills Fantasy, Andromeda Girl and In State of Flux still uses the Mellotron, albums you'd think they'd completely abandoned that keyboard). I actually love side one, might not be quite on the level of Song of the Marching Children or Atlantis, but what is? Side two justifies the reason so many people dislike this album. "78th Avenue" (did Jerney Kaagman have trouble saying "seventy eighth", so she ended up saying "seven eighth"?) is a disco-funk type of song that was released as a single. Not too bad, but I doubt progheads will have much patience for it. "Smile" and "Green Park Station" are just plain awful, the former a cheesy ballad, the latter a lame disco number about a station in the London Underground. "Dizzy Raptures" isn't too bad (which isn't instrumental despite the album credits saying it is), and I thought the closing song, "Driftin'" was rather good, in that similar spirit to "The Last Seagull", but with vocals. I swear I hear Mellotron on this one, but given the album is full of real strings, it's hard telling (most of the rest of the album at least they don't hide it's real strings). One of those albums to get on the cheap. I should know, I got mine for cheap. Following albums, of course are worse. Three stars because side one is actually pretty good, as well as "Driftin'".

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 Atlantis by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.35 | 79 ratings

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Atlantis
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars ''Song of the marching children'' sold very well and so did its promoting singles, Earth & Fire had to do nothing else than keeping the stride of progressive grandieur within their music.Their next album ''Atlantis'' was recorded at the Phonogram Studios in Hilversum and presented a concept work about the rise and fall of a lost civilization called Atlantis.Polydor had no intention to leave the band move away after the good selling numbers and the album was released in March 1973 again by the specific label.

Not only did they kept their excellent symphonic style of their sophomore effort, but Earth & Fire decided also to exhibit the same structure considering the pieces on the album, so ''Atlantis'' opens with the eponymous sidelong track, which sounds a tad less dramatic than ''Song for the marching children'', but its equally good in terms of musicianship.First and foremost Gerard Koerts' powerful KING CRIMSON-ian Mellotron strings are on full display and Chris Koerts's slightly raw yet melodic guitar solos carry the symphonic vibe all the way in a track, that also contains lots of light organ themes, certain Classical influences and Jerney Kaagman's unique vocals.16 minutes of intense Progressive Rock, great composition in the tradition of Classical Music, featuring thematic changes and variations and a nice atmospheric depth.The rest of the way is a bit more conventional with slight Psych-Pop elements sneaking in between the orchestral moments.The keyboard work now sounds somewhere along the lines of THE MOODY BLUES and EKSEPTION, featuring plenty of Classical-spiced organs and more dramatic Mellotron parts, like on the great ''Fanfare'', the element that was rather discreet in the sidelong piece.At this point they also remind me of FOCUS, the two bands shared the same taste for ethereal Symphonic Rock and grandiose keyboard orchestrations with electroacoustic changes and instrumental pomposity.

Beautiful work.I can't really say its on par with the previous album, ''Song of the marching children'' sounds more of a complete work, but ''Atlantis'' is also a strong and melodramatic Progressive Rock effort.Especially if this one pops out as your first experience of Earth & Fire's music, you'll love it.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 139 ratings

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Song of the Marching Children
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by progpig66 (arnold)

5 stars A masterpiece of early Dutch symphonic rock. The beautiful voice of Jerney Kaagman, added to the fantastic mellotron-sound of Gerard Koerts and the beautiful fat Gibson Les Paul sound of Chris Koerts'guitar, determined the great sound of Earth & Fire. They delivered some fantastic symphonic rock music, before drifting off to a cheaper sound in the late seventies.

Song Of The Marching Children is their number one masterpiece, which is filled with a brooding gothic atmosphere. Apart from the first two songs and the instrumental "In The Mountains"(can't have been in Holland), all songs carry the same dark atmosphere. "Storm & Thunder" (a true symphonic rock single, that topped the charts!!) is one of the many highlights. I have the Esoteric Record version and that has the original single version as one of the bonus tracks. This edition also provides the best mastering.

Title suite "Song Of The Marching Children" is an oasis of mellotron sounds, that will also appeal to those who loved "In The Court Of The Crimson King". A sombre and depressing march ends this true symphonic epic.

A must in the collection for all those into early mellotron dominated symphonic rock ! As you will see at the end of the rating line, this album was (again) not appreciated by the proggophobic clan of daemacho, waeguk, purplefloydfish, marfish and other sad persons, who all at the same time decided to reward this album with their two star ratings. Again, we wonder: why?????

progpig66.

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 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 139 ratings

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Song of the Marching Children
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars Not what I expected.........It's much better

Despite the years I've been listening Symphonic Prog, never played special attention to EARTH & FIRE, mainly because the reviews I read spoke about a strong KING CRIMSON influence, and to be honest that's not my cup of tea. But about a year bought several old albums for a very good price, among which I found Song of the Marching Children, which I recorded in my cellular and didn't listened.

Last month I was in a plane and while playing with the phone, found this album and played it...What a great surprise, the sound was simply delightful from start to end, the delicate fusion between Psychedelia and Classic Symphonic caught me from the start. Of course the organ sections by Gerard Koerts impressed me, but the highlight of the album lies in the composition and the delicate voice of Jerney Kaagman.

To be honest I couldn't find any KING CRIMSON reference (thanks God for that), but a slightly JEFFERSON AIRPLANE with Baroque fugues and that acid Hammond so reminiscent of the mid 60's, just a perfect combination of the best of two decades.

The whole album is impressive, but if I have to select my favorites, will start with the magnificent Carnival of the Animals, a song that represents perfectly the essence of the band, being that the music is oriented towards Symphonic while Gerard Koerts with his Hammond and Kaagman take us back to 1965 with such delicacy that I couldn't find any collision of genres.

Also have to mention Ebbtide and that haunting Hammond intro that reminds the listener of Bach. But about the mark of 2:29, Kaagman takes the lead and transports us again to the 60's in Carnaby Street? Baroque and Psyche perfectly blended.

Of course, no review of this album would be complete without mentioning the 18:20 minutes Song for the Marching Children, a brilliant suite that has everything a Prog listener wants to listen, but also the moment in which Jerney Kaagman discovers she's not only a Psych singer with hints of Grace Slick and Mama Cass, but also a fantastic Symphonic vocalist with one of the most solid voices I ever heard.

The rating is easy, 5 solid stars for an almost perfect album.

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 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 139 ratings

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Song of the Marching Children
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Earth and Fire's Song of the Marching Children finds the Netherlands outfit playing in a style reminiscent of the first three King Crimson albums. In particular, the title track's suitably march- like rhythms can't help but remind me of the "Mars, Bringer of War" references on In the Wake of Poseidon, and indeed the album has the same combination of lofty symphonic goals and psychedelic counter-culture hippyism that seems to characterise Wake of Poseidon and Lizard. Whereas Crimson only occasionally tipped their hat to the psychedelic in this phase though (see songs like the whimsical Happy Family on Lizard), Earth and Fire seem much more comfortable with it, creating a mashup of Crimsonian majesty and hippy-trippy playfulness which sets them apart from their influences.

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 Atlantis by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.35 | 79 ratings

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Atlantis
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Although still a fine quality album, the third Earth and Fire album `Atlantis' is a little bit unmemorable and slightly dull compared to the stunning two albums that preceded it. The Pink Floyd and Jefferson Airplane influences have had a pinch of the dark majesty of King Crimson thrown on top, and although the album has a gorgeous production, typical talented playing and the usual fine singing from the stunning Jerney Kaagman, it all comes across as a little tired, as if some of the life has been sucked out of the band. Whereas `Song of the Marching Children' showed a huge progression and newfound maturity from the debut album, `Atlantis' seems like `more of the same that worked last time', even if it is still pleasantly listenable.

This time beginning with a side long piece, `Atlantis' is full of imperial sounding guitar and constantly reprised Mellotron themes, jazzy and upbeat sunshine folk, Genesis-like reflective flute and skipping organ, hazy ragged psychedelic pop and grand orchestral arrangements. Lovely Jerney sounds so confident and varied on this! But although certainly ambitious, the piece sounds like a bunch of fragments joined together with no real cohesion or purpose. All those fragments individually sound fine, but it's more like an unsuccessful attempt to recreate what they did so well on the long title track from the previous album. It also has a total dud ending, with no big work up to a suitably powerful climax that the piece really needed.

Despite lovely thick organ, funky wah-wah guitar and a stomping drumbeat, I don't have much love for `Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight'. I find the chorus extremely cheesy, so it's lucky there's some nice instrumental moments in the brief Brian May/Queen inspired guitar solo in the middle and a little Mellotron in the finale. Not my favourite of their poppier pieces, and I usually really dig those.

Better is `Interlude', a loving restrained and tasteful Mellotron breeze with gentle Pink Floyd-like guitar touches. Truly wonderful! `Fanfare' fades in from this piece with slightly threatening Rick Wright styled organ and downbeat bass, a ghostly and serious vocal from Jerney calling from the background. Slow and heavy commanding guitar riffs punch through the dreamy and sinister Mellotron fuelled atmosphere. There's mucky circus trumpets and snapping percussion similar to King Crimson's `Lizard' on this one too!

The Koerts brothers provide us with another terrific (but far too short!) instrumental in the brooding and dramatic `Theme From Atlantis', full of regal churning heavy guitar melodies. The album wraps on the pretty `Love, Please Close The Door' which alternates between Crimson `Cadence and Cascade'-like dreamy ballad and quirky upbeat diversions. It kind of awkwardly hangs together, but the placid classical acoustic guitar and affectionate vocal from Jerney disguise what is a rather messy and strung-together piece.

My LP copy is actually called `Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight' and confusingly swaps the first and second sides! The fact that this version is named after the catchy single from the album suggests the record company was really pushing the album based on the hopeful success of that piece! I wonder if it worked?

Although not as good as the previous two albums or the next one `To The World Of The Future', `Atlantis' is still a solid progressive album by a wonderful band. By all means add this one to your collection after those other three, and you'll still have a good quality work that compliments them well, even if it lacks a little of the true Earth and Fire magic.

Three stars nonetheless!

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 Song of the Marching Children by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 139 ratings

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Song of the Marching Children
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Metamorphosing into a confident and symphonic progressive rock band, `Song of the Marching Children' sees Dutch band Earth and Fire moving on from the punchy pop/rock of their debut album for something more grand and sophisticated. Lead singer Jerney Kaagman stepped up from being the tough sexy seductress to transform into a gothic chanteuse displaying endless variety and maturity, while the Koerts brothers added layers of thoughtful arrangements and emotional depth. With several shorter songs and one side long piece, this album is usually considered the band's greatest musical statement, and it probably remains their most popular album.

`Carnival of Animals' sounds the closest to the previous album, with that same thick organ and a prancing 60's melody. Jerney plays the fairytale princess here, with circus-like melodies and nonsense `Alice In Wonderland' style lyrics reminding again of the Jefferson Airplane comparisons from that wonderful debut.

`Ebb Tide' also recalls the debut album, a soft and atmospheric slow pop/rocker with breezy flute, gentle organ and hazy guitar effects. Like much of this album, there's some oddly unnerving and bleak lyrics. But just listen to how Jerney's voice seems to be right behind the speakers, purring directly into your ear. We can dream, right?

"The blackbird sings her song at dawn...". Brrr...The richly gothic `Storm and Thunder' shows that above mentioned style shift to great and commanding effect. A somber and serious ballad with lush orchestration, Jerney is a dark mistress with haunting vocals (especially powerful on the chorus sections) recalling vivid words of surreal isolation. It's a stirring and grim work of sinister desolation, fuelled by doomy Mellotron, and I'd like to think this track influenced other somber female fronted modern acts like Paatos and Portishead, with the cinematic styled strings heightening the drama and tension in a similar style to much of those artists' work.

Instrumental `In The Mountain' reminds of fellow Dutch proggers Focus, with tasteful virtuoso organ displays and a dreamy floating melody. The guitar work sounds a lot like Andy Latimar with that lovely fluid guitar style he uses in Camel, and strangely, little parts of this track remind me of the psychedelic Beatles track `Flying' and the gentle washing Beach Boys instrumental `Cool, Cool Water'!

The side long epic title track is full of somber symphonic passages and a hazy psychedelic air. A delicate moody introduction, before booming Mellotron strings and oppressive organs blast the listener. There's plenty of pitch-black lyrics, with Jerney's urgent and threatening vocals pleading. Listen to how confident and commanding her voice has become! Marching percussion, bubbling spacey synths, murmuring bass, reflective acoustic segments and a grandiose and dramatic finale - this track really has it all!

Check out one of the CD reissues with the bonus track `Lost Forever' - ever wondered what Black Sabbath might have sounded like with a ballsy and sultry female singer? Look no further! It's got sludgy chugging dirty guitar and classical metal riffs, and sounds like nothing else on the main album. Extra track `Invitation' is a 60's leftover rocker that switches between slightly moody and downbeat verses with a playfully upbeat and sexy chorus.

Like an unholy alliance of King Crimson and Jefferson Airplane, `Song of The Marching Children' is an exciting and intelligent work by a talented band with a hugely charming lead vocalist. The experimentation and symphonic leanings would progress even further on their next two albums, and it remains a hugely important and well-renowned Dutch progressive album. I still hold more love for their energetic debut, which is a very special album to me, but this is anything but a dud follow up! It's a near faultless album, and Mellotron freaks or fans of female-fronted prog bands need look no further!

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 Earth and Fire by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.37 | 57 ratings

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Earth and Fire
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars One of my favourite debut albums, the self titled `Earth and Fire' LP is a riff-heavy, guitar and organ dominated pop rocker with powerful male/female vocals. While the band would later become a more sophisticated and symphonic progressive rock band, at this point they were more of a psychedelic acid-rock unit, like a crunchier version of Jefferson Airplane, with brief Pink Floyd-like hazy atmospheres. Every track has a punchy and energetic sound, female lead singer Jerney Kaagman is a commanding, tough (while still remaining very feminine and sexy) and hugely charming focal point of the group. There's so many catchy riffs and psych touches scattered amongst the tracks, all full of memorable melodies and rough charm.

From the opening seconds of `Wild and Exciting', hard rocking riffs and Jerney's confident vocals punch you straight in the face! A melodic opener that grabs your attention right away with it's power, a catchy and addictive rocker full of wailing guitar solos!

The upbeat `Twilight Dreamer' is hazy and psychedelic, with a stoned acoustic guitar and male/female diversion in the 'There comes Lydia...!' moments! Lovely shimmering organ, and I especially smile in the quiet cymbal and flute breaks.

Cheeky `Ruby Is The One' is a kind of super-sexy lesbian anthem - or at least that's my interpretation of it! A kick-ass adrenaline charged pop-rocker with a killer chorus and a sleazy strut, no surprise it was picked as a single from the album, backed with an equally naughty B-Side `Mechanical Lover'!

`You Know The Way' is all over the place! Beginning with eerie chanted male vocals, the song soon drifts into a dreamy and reflective acoustic ballad with a superb lead vocal from Jerney. Her words are sadly romantic, but with just a hint of slightly more upbeat moments when electric guitar and organ drops in.

The riff heavy `Vivid Shady Land' is one of my personal favourites, with aggressive groovy guitar and forceful male vocals. The middle section is very influenced by late 60's/early 70's Pink Floyd with mournful organ and spacey guitar effects creating a very floating and ambient break. I love the awkward English translated lyrics like `Leaves all smashed on the river side, the trees are burning and they're crying bright', and the upbeat `making love with our minds' chorus bit! It's all full of very uplifting energy.

Both `21st Century Show' and `Seasons' feature Jefferson Airplane/Peanut Butter Conspiracy duel male/female vocals. The frantic guitar driven `Show' has maddening organ, pumping bass and rapid-fire drumming before a jazzy acoustic detour in the middle with beautifully atmospheric flute.

`Seasons' heavy acid pop sound has grumbling bass with a very moving solo spot about three minutes in where it's just Jerney, flute and acoustic guitar together. Her lovely wistful vocal carries the song through to a thoughtful conclusion.

The dirty sexy strutting 7 minute `Love Quivers' has more chunky riffs, machine-gun drumming, playful group vocal chorus outbursts and two mind-blowing spacey organ outbursts that will knock you down - think those early albums by Eloy, Jane and Grobschnitt for similar organ attacks! The whole band gets lots of loose jamming standout moments on this one, and it's probably the piece that most hints at the symphonic progressive direction the band would next head in.

The album ends on a lovely acoustic acid folk ballad `What's Your Name' with fragile male vocals and gentle flute. Positive vibes all around this one.

Although I'm reviewing the LP version, many of the CD reissues have lots of terrific bonus tracks (for once!) that highlight their shift from psych/acid/rock to a more progressive style. `Hazy Paradise', `Mechanical Lover', and the Mellotron fuelled `Memories' are especially impressive, and they compliment the debut album perfectly. In my opinion, the bonus material is strong enough to stand as an album all it's own. So as much as I'm a vinyl junkie, definitely look into one of the CD releases.

Fans only familiar with the later albums from Earth and Fire should not be dismissive or put off by the different sound present on this one. The album is full of terrific playing, exciting arrangements, hugely charming vocals and boundless energy. Every track heads in different directions, there's a real toughness and sense of fun to the performances, and fans of 60's acid rock and psych will finds lots to relish here. To my ears it's an essential album that truly showcases a band with so much promise and potential, and it's one of the first albums I think of recommending to new listeners. Along with Curved Air's `Air Cut' album, `Earth and Fire' is one of my favourite female fronted prog-related albums, and I love spreading the word about this high quality debut, a total classic in my opinion!

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 Reality Fills Fantasy  by EARTH & FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.12 | 24 ratings

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Reality Fills Fantasy
Earth & Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by HolyMoly
Forum & Site Admin Group Forum & Site Admin

2 stars Earth and Fire's sixth album was a pretty big departure for them. After enjoying pretty good sales of their first few albums, the band struggled for a couple of years, apparently hitting a commercial low point with Gate to Infinity (an album I happen to love). Disco and Europop had already started to infiltrate the band's sound, but with this 1979 album they went headfirst into commercially-minded pop music. If the very thought of that turns you off, chances are you won't be very sympathetic to this album. But put it side by side with, say, Boz Scaggs' "Silk Degrees", and you'll see it holds its own pretty well in that arena.

And this approach worked for the band. They earned the biggest hit of their career in "Weekend", a track that's admittedly hard to stomach -- very light, fluffy faux-reggae with some of the sappiest lyrics you will ever hear -- but after a couple of years I'm willing to accept it as an occasional guilty pleasure. It's not that typical of the album, either. Sure, every song is silky smooth, slick LA-styled studio pop, complete with disco beats and saxophones. But Earth and Fire never really lost their gift for a good melody and a good chorus, and there is still evidence of that on this album. "Can't Live Without it Anymore" and "Season of the Falling Leaves" are sweet and melancholy, music that takes me back to the summers of my youth. The opening track "People Come, People Go" shows some remaining prog rock inclinations, stretching out to 11 minutes through an elongated intro that slowly builds into the song, and the rest of the song at least tries to build some dramatic tension - though I'd be hard pressed to honestly call this a "prog song" overall. But at least it acknowledges their proggier past.

Overall, not one of their best albums, even from my drooling fan-boy point of view, but it's decent pop music. It doesn't sound the least bit like their early 70s work, so tread carefully if you're coming from that angle. But it's an enjoyable low-calorie listen, with the possible exception of "Weekend". I'm giving it 2 stars, mainly to distinguish it from my 3-star rating of their next album Andromeda Girl, which I enjoy more.

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