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PIRANA

Crossover Prog • Australia


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Pirana biography
Australian band PIRANA was formed in 1970, founded by Stan White (keyboards), Jim Duke-Yonge (drums), Tony Hamilton (vocals, guitar) and Graeme Thompson (bass) as a new musical venture for the latter three following their tenure in pop band Gus & The Nomads. Their first recording were as a backing band for a solo album by Greg Quill, but in 1971 they were signed by legendary record label Harvest and soon got busy making their debut album.

Pirana hit the shops in 1971, and while the album didn't exactly set the world on fire the band quickly established themselves as a popular live act. This first effort of their owed more than a bit to Santana in overall style, and Pirana were at their best when performing one of his songs, Soul Sacrifice, on stage.

Stan White left the band shortly after the release of their first album, replaced by Keith Greig. And with White out of the band guitarist Hamilton had a more prominent place as a songwriter for Pirana's second effort Pirana II, issued late in 1972. A direct result of that was that the band started moving slightly away from their latin-inspired sound. They never managed to hit the big time with this second effort either though, not even a superb performance at 1972's Sunbury festival gave the band a true commercial breakthrough. Indeed, the latter actually cemented their reputation as a Santana-influenced act, and while their credibility as a live unit soared their merits as a studio unit wasn't by far as heralded.

Grieg left the band in 1972, and a flurry of line-up changes followed for the next couple of years, until Pirana fizzled out to disbandment in late 1974.

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Pirana IIPirana II
Import
Radioactive 2007
Audio CD$18.98
$17.98 (used)
Curruption by Pirana (2012-05-22)Curruption by Pirana (2012-05-22)
Ais
Audio CD$82.34
Pirana/Pirana II by PiranaPirana/Pirana II by Pirana
Progressive Line
Audio CD$73.60
PIRANA - PIRANA / PIRANA II : 2 ON 1 by Pirana (0100-01-01)PIRANA - PIRANA / PIRANA II : 2 ON 1 by Pirana (0100-01-01)
N/A
Audio CD$65.86
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PIRANA discography


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PIRANA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 11 ratings
Pirana
1971
2.85 | 9 ratings
Pirana II
1972

PIRANA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PIRANA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

2.76 | 8 ratings
Pirana/Pirana II
2005

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

PIRANA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pirana by PIRANA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.58 | 11 ratings

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Pirana
Pirana Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Part of the surprisingly awesome Australasian scene, Pirana were an energetic Sydney-based quartet who first appeared in 1971, issuing two albums on the Harvest imprint before the usual lack of success truncated their all-too- brief career. For the interested, both of their albums are easily attainable on CD, yet, rather annoyingly, original vinyl copies of each are now worth a small fortune - around $400.00 as of 2016 - and they don't pop up very often.

Despite it's proximity to the rest of the world, Australia, and latterly New Zealand, did manage to cultivate a small scene of psychedelic and progressive groups, mainly gathered around the clubs and bars of Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne. The likes of Spectrum, Rainbow Theatre, Bakery, Ticket, Mantis, Sebastian Hardie, Band of Light, Ayers Rock, Tamam Shud and Tully showcased a vibrant selection of styles, whether it be acid-licked blues-rock or jazz- influenced symphonic rock, and much like Pirana, original vinyl copies of most of the above are now worth ridiculous sums of money(as of writing, their is a single copy of Memento's 1972 effort 'Bakery' for sale on Discogs for just under $2,000).

With a sound influenced by latin rock outfits Santana and Chango, Jimi Hendrix, British prog and late-sixties garage- rock, Pirana's debut is all heavy guitar-and-organ interplay and colourful instrumental flourishes, though multiple listens also reveal a debt to such non-prog luminaries as Chicago and even early Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Featuring a line-up comprising Tony Hamilton(guitar, vocals), Stan White(keyboards, vocals), Graeme Thomson(bass) and Jim Yonge(drums), the first album is arguably the stronger of the two, yet truth be told the difference is minimal. The same line-up would begin work on 'Pirana II' in 1972, but just a few days into recording keyboardist Stan White was replaced by Keith Greig, which goes some way to explaining the second album's guitar-heavy sound.

Unfortunately, despite backing from EMI, neither of Pirana's albums made much of a mark on the Australian charts, or anywhere else for that matter, and following the lukewarm reception of 'Pirana II' and the constant struggle to find gigs and make a resonable living, the band split in early 1973.

The Australian scene may have been small, and very far away, yet it produced a remarkable number of excellent albums in a very short space of time. Pirana, with their spicy organ runs, busy guitars and energetic jamming make for an excellent entry point for those wanting to take the plunge, and both their albums are highly recommended.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2016

 Pirana II by PIRANA album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.85 | 9 ratings

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Pirana II
Pirana Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars Pirana ultimately were remembered as no more than Santana copyists. Appearing in the film of Sunbury 1972 (over-hyped as Australia's answer to Woodstock) performing a note-for-note cover of Santana's Woodstock showstopper "Soul Sacrifice" didn't help, and neither did this second album. They eschew the cheesy pop influences that were present on parts of their first album, but also most of their songwriting ability, and pretty much any musical influence other than Santana. "Here It Comes Again" is the only really memorable song here, with a great Latin groove, memorable hooks, and some great soloing from both organ and guitar. Elsewhere they rely a lot on groove and soloing to cover up for their lack of songwriting effort, and in the few places where they bothered to write vocal parts, you almost wish they hadn't (eg "Thinking Of You").
 Pirana by PIRANA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.58 | 11 ratings

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Pirana
Pirana Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars Pirana's first album mixes some cheesey turn-of-the-decade pop with some more credible extended numbers on the lighter side of prog. They are now remembered primarily as antipodean Santana copyists, but this album shows a more diverse influence. The Santana influence is most audible in the appropriately titled opening track "Elation", in the short middle section of "Sermonette", and in the long lively jam during "Stand Back". These are generally the most prog-friendly tracks, particularly "Sermonette" which packs several changes of mood and style into it's relatively short running time. I don't mind all the pop stuff - I like sunny major seventh chords as much as anyone - and "The Time Is Now" does the sunny seventh chords pretty well, with a nice modulation in the chorus - and then a Wurm-like change of pace at the end to appease the prog fans. "The River" is very reminiscent of the Beatles "Don't Let Me Down" - maybe a little too much. "Find Yourself A New Girl" is probably a bit too sunny, OTOH; and then "Easy Ride" with it's soldier lyrics takes the cheese quotient a bit too far.
 Pirana/Pirana II by PIRANA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
2.76 | 8 ratings

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Pirana/Pirana II
Pirana Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars Two for the price of one.

This CD serves up both Pirana's albums without any omissions or added bonus tracks.

Pirana was an Australian band who started out as bit of a split personality between 1970s pop and Santana like jazz. The first album, track 1-7 if I am not wrong, tells that story. This album has a split personality, but still an excellent hammond organ sound which saves this album from a disaster.

The second album, track 8-16 if I am not mistaken, is much more a Santana copy. Both the Santana the band and Carlos Santana, the solo artist. This album does lack any identity and charm though. Charm the first album, strangely enough, had in abundance. The band played a couple of big gigs and then split up because of the lack of commercial success. Listening to this compilation, I have sympathy for that decision. Pirana is not the worst band in the history of prog rock and this compilation is OK if you like Santana. I think two stars would suffice.

2 stars

 Pirana II by PIRANA album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.85 | 9 ratings

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Pirana II
Pirana Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars The second and final album from this Australian band.

The first album was pretty much a rock and pop affair with some excellent hammond organs. Pirana changed direction on their second album and went Santana. Well, make that in the vein of a blend of Santana the band efforts and the Carlos Santana solo albums. There is also some pretty good guitar based fusion on this album. Pirana changed hammond organ player inbetween their two albums. The new one, Keith Grieg, is more reined in than the hammond organ player on the first album. The guitars is more in the forefront on this album.

The problem is the lack of any good songs here. The only good thing about this album is the fusion stuff. But this album totally lack any identity. Well, almost lack any identity. The final song here, Move to the Country, is as horrible as a mix of rock and fusion can get. I will remember that song for a while, yes. And for the wrong reasons. The rest is acceptable, but dull. I understand why this band, despite given all the chances, never got a commercial breakthrough. I guess a life in obscurity for their albums beckons despite of recent re-releases on CD.

2 stars

 Pirana by PIRANA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.58 | 11 ratings

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Pirana
Pirana Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Talking about obscure records.....

But thankfully, this album has been re-released together with their second/final album as a two for one package on CD. It is reasonable available. I only bought it because I thought it was the metal band of the same name. I then binned it until I spotted this prog rock band being included in PA. So the albums was dusted off again.

On their debut album, Pirana is not particular progressive. Take the worst of the pop music from the early 1970s and you get the idea. There are a lot of The Eagles, even Bay City Rollers and some other pretty dire pop music here. This in addition to some very good hammond driven rock in the vein of Santana and some space rock bands. The best stuff on this album is very, very good and can best be described as a mix of Krautrock, space rock and latin jazz. Santana in other words. Stan White's hammond organ sound is generally excellent. When he is let loose here, this album takes of into an infectious swinging album. The pop stuff on the other hand.......

It seems like this band tried to please everyone on this album. It is an album of it's time. The sound is good. The vocals is good and the musicians is good. The pop stuff is a two star. Stan White's hammond driven rock and space rock songs is a four stars effort. There is no outstanding songs here so I am therefore landing on a barely three stars album. I also quite like this album too. The two for one package is well worth pursuing for those into this type of sound.

3 stars (barely)

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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