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EGG

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Egg biography
Formed in 1969 in London, UK (as Uriel) - Disbanded in 1972 - Reformed in 1974 only for recording sessions

One of the first bands from the Canterbury School (SOFT MACHINE or HATFIELD AND THE NORTH), EGG was a trio consisting of... Dave STEWART on organ, piano and tone generator, Mont CAMPBELL on bass and vocals (also organ, piano and French Horn), and Clive BROOKS on drums. The music is very structured and composed, with classical pieces (BACH) and some light jazzy influences. The band explored a variety of time signatures and key relationships, sometimes explored classical ideals, and even composed their own symphony.

Canterbury band that released three organ-prominent albums. "The Polite Force" was EGG's second release, and was better developed musically from their debut, a style that was carried on to the subsequent "The Civil Surface". If you like that, go on and get the other two eventually. (if you don't like it, then don't bother). Fans of organ-driven progressive rock with a perfect 70's atmosphere will eat it up. Although EGG is an essential part of any progressive collection. An historical band...!

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EGG discography


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

3.82 | 308 ratings
Egg
1970
4.13 | 449 ratings
The Polite Force
1971
3.91 | 230 ratings
The Civil Surface
1974

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

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

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

3.15 | 7 ratings
Seven Is a Jolly Good Time
1985
3.75 | 23 ratings
The Metronomical Society
2007

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

4.00 | 15 ratings
Seven Is a Jolly Good Time
1969

EGG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Egg by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.82 | 308 ratings

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Egg
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars In the notes of the disc that I am about to illustrate, one thing is immediately made clear: "This is music to listen to, not to dance, harmonically and rhythmically complex, made to be as original as possible, it needs the utmost attention from the 'listener". Words written in a booklet have never been more true: Egg's eponymous debut, dated 1970, tries to combine classical compositions with massive experimentalisms, which sometimes border the limit of listening. The style that comes out is a melodic progressive rock with jazz cues, which does not disdain to delve into dark and dissonant territories, centered on the organ tones of Dave Stewart, accompanied by the bass and the voice of Mont Campbell (writer of practically all pieces) and from the odd beat of Clive Brooks drums.

Although Dave's hammond is the pillar on which the songs are supported, Mont's voice is the protagonist of the first part of the album, thanks to truly convincing vocal interpretations and lyrics dense with that humor that will become a trademark of the Canterbury school. In fact, the singing marries beautifully with both rhythmic and changing episodes such as "While Growing My Hair" and "The Song of McGillicudie the Pusillanimous (or Don't Worry James, Your Socks are Hanging in the Coal Cellar with Thomas)", and with other more delicate ones like "You're Absorbed". The instrumental tracks alternate continuously with those described above and range from the classicism of "Fugue in D Minor" (cover of "Toccata & Fugue in D Minor" by Johann Sebastian Bach) to the sound experimentation of short interludes such as "Bulb", "They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano "and" Boilk ".

In the second part of the disc the "Symphony No.2" suite welcomes us; Mont and Clive retreat into the shadows to dictate increasingly unlikely times, while Dave, at the center of the scene, unleashes all his talent in continuous improvisations and organ digressions that do not even hesitate in the remake of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg, during the first movement. The classical arias are then interrupted with "Blane" and the air is immediately filled with unbalanced and disharmonious sounds, which contaminate the atmosphere making it dark and oppressive. The last two parts (of which the first is present only in the editions after 2004 because previously, together with the two final bonus tracks, it did not find a place in the normal version of the album, due to possible copyright conflicts deriving from the revision of some passages of Igor Stravinsky) bring the listening back to more familiar tones, concluding in the best way this piece which is certainly not easy to assimilate.

 The Polite Force by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.13 | 449 ratings

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The Polite Force
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Progressive was characterized, starting from the end of the 1960s up to the mid-1970s, by the presence of multiple subgenres; one of my favorites is the so-called "Canterbury scene", having been a real breeding ground for myriads of really interesting and precursor bands such as Caravan, National Health, Hatfield and the North, Soft Machine, Gong, Matching Mole, etc ... One of the many ensembles that shone in that period, between '69 and '72, is that of "Egg", a London trio who created a Prog that leans a lot on the Jazz side, while continuing to offer the classic sounds a little symphonic and a little avant-garde. Their album "The Polite Force", released in February 1971, contains, in my opinion, some of the most inspired episodes of their short career.

The initial "A Visit to Newport Hospital" is the most pleasant and at the same time sought-after (in terms of rhythms and harmonies) the Canterburian movement has produced, with its initial dark and severe riff which, however, unpredictably acts as an introduction to a quiet and dreamy ride, dominated by a skilful rhythm section and a persuasive keyboard, worthy of the sweeter Caravan or Camel. The voice of singer-bassist Mont Campbell in turn conveys calm and intensity to the overall atmosphere of the song. This piece is, for those who love the canterbury- sound, one of its undoubted peaks. We then move on to the crazy odd tempos of "Contrasong", in which you can also appreciate the wind section made up of two trumpets and two tenor sax. The third track "Boilk" explores the territories of the most avant-garde prog being a sort of sound experiment that can be compared to some works of "Krautrock" (Faust, etc ...) and that probably helped to inspire the Fripp of " Larks' Tongues in Aspic ". The second side of the LP is entirely occupied by a long instrumental suite called "Long Piece No. 3", actually divided into 4 parts that flow naturally into each other. Composition as an importance can be easily combined with a "9 feet underground", being a far-sighted example, as well as of excellent instrumental mastery, also of assimilation of various jazz, symphonic and experimental elements, with a valid, and at times perhaps successful, attempt to synthesize them in a "unicum", although it is still a progressive keyboard, in many ways comparable to the style of Van Der Graaf Generator and ELP.

We are therefore faced with a niche band, but ultimately historic that, at its peak, was important for the subsequent development of the Canterbury prog and, as I think, not only in that area. My rating would be about 4.0, but since there are fewer and fewer albums like this and, moreover, I often see that records are awarded full marks that frankly would not even deserve half a star, I feel I can gladly give them half a point, more.

 Seven Is a Jolly Good Time by EGG album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
4.00 | 15 ratings

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Seven Is a Jolly Good Time
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

2 stars What a coincidence, Eggs two worst songs are the A Side/B Side of their sole single release in 1969. One of my favourite bands, their first two albums have lacklustre songs like Clean Innocent Fun (Arzachel) and The Song Of? (Egg) yet manage to avoid being bad by having beautiful songs like Queen St. Gang (Arzachel) and I Will Be Absorbed (Egg). This single is the concentrated terribleness of Eggs worse distilled in two songs, Seven Is A Jolly Good Time and You Are All Princes.

Seven Is A Jolly Good Time has many very annoying vocal lines that are simply not captivating. Sounds like carnival music or old timey minstrel stuff when Mont Campbell sings the refrain, Seven Is A Jolly Good Time. The only not bad part of the song is the "Really doesn't matter".

You Are All Princes has nothing of merit, it is woefully forgettable. It's presence fails to bring this album out of the bad territory.

Overall this single is a solid 2/5, would not recommend, definitely listen to an Egg/Arzachel album instead.

 Egg by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.82 | 308 ratings

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Egg
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars I can see why Egg was compared to The Nice (or was it ELP?).

I like Egg a lot and never thought they sounded alike until I stopped cherry picking this albums highlights. Yeah, the music here sounds pretty much like The Nice. Mont Campbell actually sounds like a much less gruff version of the aforementioned bands lead singer. One thing I would like to say is that the music is definitely alot more Avant Garde due to the strong influence from Stravinsky on Eggs main composer, Mont Campbell.

Alright enough comparisons. Since I don't take originality into consideration for my reviews this album earns three stars based on its merits/faults. I think some of the short songs are pretty ugly 60s/70s psych and the suite is disjointed/dull/uninspired. I also think some of the ideas are neat like the bands lack of guitar, I Will Be Absorbed is an amazing song and lyrically Egg is quite lovely.

Overall I think this is a pretty meh debut that like the band's different name earlier album, Arzachel represents a point in time before these artists found their own sound. Fortunately, Egg released two follow up albums both of which are amazing works of art full of Eggs own identity.

 The Civil Surface by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.91 | 230 ratings

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The Civil Surface
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

5 stars Best Egg album.

An even affair. Germ patrol and Wind Quartet are very pleasant exercises that provide welcome respite's in-between the albums "meat". While prelude, eneagram, nearch and wring out the ground are wonderful Egg compositions. Honestly though what gives this album an edge over it's compatriots is it's absence of flaws.

Unlike the debut which has a mixed bag of vocal songs on the first side, Civil Surface posseses only excellent vocals a la I Will Be Absorbed/A Visit To Newport Castle on the magnificent Wring Out The Ground (Slowly Now). Unlike Polite Force there is no maddening Boilk (not even a bad song just meh, which is a flaw I can't overlook for a five stars).

Ultimately I love egg and the best Egg album is not best by a lot.

it's like getting an 100% on a test versus a 95%.

 The Polite Force by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.13 | 449 ratings

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The Polite Force
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

4 stars I like it. It's good music quite eclectic (great track variety) yet very listenable. I've been listening to it more and more lately as an album and I enjoy it best this way, it makes for a magical experience where the lines between songs erode and all that's left is beautiful music. In this regard it reminds me a lot of other 'Canterburry Scene' albums like Hatfield and the North. As of right now I have trouble giving it five stars because of certain avant 'songs' that I doubt stand alone. However the sum is again, very good, thus I shall bestow a four for now (Track 2/3 are fine/good, thus this album shall remain a great album at 4/5).

Ps the singer did a great job IMHO

 The Polite Force by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.13 | 449 ratings

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The Polite Force
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Egg is a Canterbury group that is basically a trio (bass, drums, keyboards) that was left when Steve Hillage moved on after their sole Arzachel album - which some consider to be an early Canterbury and space rock classic. Keyboardist Dave Stewart would also play with Steve Hillage on Kahn's 'Space Shanty' album (a favorite of mine) and is one of the better keyboardist of the genre. On this album we get to hear two great psychedelic and jazzy Canterbury songs that are instantly enjoyable and recognizable as top notch genre classics. Mont Campbell's vocals (who also plays bass) don't stand out, but its clearly enough to cast that dopey English vocal jazz sound that fits the music so well. 'A Visit To Newport Hospital' is a jazzy hardrock song with distorted organs and some strong instrumental sections. 'Contrasong' with its amazing rhythms and wind-sections is another bright and energetic high-light. After that Egg goes fully avant-prog on the listener with the plain boring soundscape 'Boilk' and the formless summation of ideas called 'Long Piece No. 3' (which fills the second side). Perhaps without the nine useless minutes of 'Boilk' this would have still been a worthy addition to most prog collections, but as it is; this record sounds way too unfinished and random to be considered that worthwhile. I actually wanted to like this much more than I do because of the fantastic recording sound and the love I hold for 'Space Shanty'. Do add the first two songs to your digital playlist though!
 The Civil Surface by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.91 | 230 ratings

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The Civil Surface
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars EGG's short career was riddled with problems and almost none of the trio of Dave Stewart, Mont Campbell and Clive Brooks' making. It had plenty to do with the Decca label which signed a whole list of artists and failed to promote any which meant EGG was just one of a long list of rather strange sound makers that didn't fit in with the mainstream. Add to that the band failed to score many live gigs and remained rather obscure during the band's original four year stint that lasted from 1968-72 no matter how critically lauded these musical maestros had become and no matter how cutting edge their musical style was in many ways. No, it would take several decades for a new progressive rock renaissance to reignite any interest in the music this trio so cleverly crafted.

With no solutions presented to rectify the hurdles placed in front of the band, the three members decided to call it quits in 1972. Stewart would rejoin forces with Steve Hillage of Uriel and join on as keyboardist for his new project Khan, whereas Clive Brooks joined Groundhogs. Campbell on the other hand was content to play as a session musician with a fledgling Henry Cow. These guys were getting their feet wet in new projects but EGG was highly prolific and produced more material than they were allowed to record. After a couple of years Dave Stewart had the itch to revive the EGG project so they could record and release some of the material that was supposed to have been included on a third album that never was.

The old gang returned to their respective roles and brought along a lot of new talent as guest musicians. THE CIVIL SURFACE was the answer to those forgotten compositions that lay dormant for three years and appeared in December 1974. Along for the ride were cameos from Steve Hillage on guitar, Lindsay Cooper on baboon and oboe, Tim Hodgkinson on clarinet, Jeremy Blaines on flute and the future Hatfield Northettes Amanda Parsons, Ann Rosenthal and Barbara Gaskin providing a sneak peak of the sounds that would evolve into the Hatfield & The North project. In addition to the EGG sounds of yore, THE CIVIL SURFACE also contained lots of wind performances with extra help from Maurice Cambridge on clarinet, Stephen Solloway on flute, Christ Palmer on bassoon and Mont Campbell expanding his talents beyond vocals and bass and contributing some French horn.

Given the circumstances and the other projects that took place in between EGG albums, it's no surprise that THE CIVIL SURFACE is a bit more eclectic than the band's first two releases. One of the most noticeable differences is the absence of vocals with only "Wring Out the Ground (Loosely Now)" having any lead vocals at all and that is the 5th of 7 tracks. The track also provides a sneak peak into the sounds that would be further explored on Hatfield & The North albums that would emerge the following years. Both vocally and compositionally this track is a virtual rough draft for the super group that followed. Another clear difference is that the band had moved beyond its dominate 60s organ shtick and embraces a much wider display of progressive musical compositional flow. Of all the tracks only "Germ Patrol" and "Enneagram" evoke a sense of the past with the organ dominated rhythmic flow, jazzy drum rolls and angular time signature rich Canterbury fueled melodies.

New to the band's sounds are two tracks entirely dedicated to wind instruments. Logically titled "Wind Quartet 1" and "Wind Quartet 2," the tracks sound more like something off of the first Gryphon album only with more of a Henry Cow take on avant-garde angularity. Only the crumhorn is missing. Another clear reference to the Hatfield years to come is on the rather detached "Prelude" which wends its way down angular alley only to break into the heavenly choir which would become known as The Northettes on the Hatfield albums. Despite these nascent origins, these girls already have their divine diva harmonies down pat and add an extra dimension to the album, one that should've been included on other tracks.

Overall, EGG delivered an excellent batch of loose fodder that would've forever been locked up in the archives for decades only to find a release some time in the 90s however due to the band's commitment to the project and the sublime material they crafted, the album found an actual release in the 70s. As expected THE CIVIL SURFACE hardly brought the band into the world of superstardom as it remained in the niche world of the avant-garde. While it has taken many decades to find a true audience, EGG has held up well over the decades with three distinctly different albums, each expanding the band's sound into a new paradigm. While i do think THE CIVIL SURFACE is a slight step down from what came before, it is also a step up as it jettisoned the mediocre vocals of Campbell for the most part and expanded the band's musical game into the modern world. The extra talent on board gave the album a much richer spectrum of influences and despite the tracks sounding a little disjointed still manages to deliver a strong set of musical compositions. Not a bad way to end the EGG brand with but also pales in comparison to the Hatfield & The North albums that Dave Stewart would be instrumental in creating.

3.5 but too good to round down

 The Polite Force by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.13 | 449 ratings

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The Polite Force
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars While the trio of Dave Stewart (organ, piano, keyboards, synthesizer), Mont Campbell (bass, vocals) and Clive Brooks (drums) began their musical aspirations with guitarist Steve Hillage in the psychedelic rock band Uriel turned Archazel, Hillage jumped ship to finish his studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury, while the other three guys had a great chemistry and decided to continue on but changed the name to the rather bizarre EGG which found them adopting a much more sophisticated progressive rock approach to the music. While Uriel was more pop based, EGG's debut displayed a parallel with the classically infused rock symphonic approach of The Nice which inevitably found their self-titled debut release being compared to the debut album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer since both bands emerged in 1970. However keyboard antics aside, EGG was quite a different beast than ELP.

Firstly EGG adopted the sounds of early Canterbury Scene pioneers such as Soft Machine and Caravan but also retained some of the psychedelic pop sensibilities of the Uriel days. The debut album found all these sounds coalescing all these disparate styles into a style that was all of EGG's own making with Dave Stewart's classically trained keyboard maestrohood leading the pack. For the trio's next act, the second album THE POLITE FORCE was released the very next year in 1971 and while the debut found too many comparisons to ELP's keyboardist Keith Emerson, this second time around EGG fine-tuned the compositions into even more extreme idiosyncratic territories. Lauded as the band's best effort and credited as one of the essential pioneers of the early Canterbury Scene section at the prog rock supermarket, EGG indeed crafted an audacious amalgamation of familiar sounds laced with the farthest reaches of avant-garde oddities.

THE POLITE FORCE was clearly a more distinguished album than the debut and although it contained all the yummy prog attributes such as compositional complexity, vintage organ workouts, Canterbury jazz fueled whimsey laced with time signatures run amok, EGG expanded its sound beyond the Mont Campbell vocal led psychedelic pop styles and opted for a mostly instrumental album that fleshed out the band's trajectory on steroids. The album's original pressing contained only 4 tracks but newer releases on CD break down the final 20-minute magnum opus 'Long Piece No. 3' into its respective four parts. Most notable on THE POLITE FORCE is a more balanced band approach where Stewart eschews the limelight and allows the others to integrate into his technical majesty rather than bringing things down to a generic level. With Campbell and Brooks up to the task, THE POLITE FORCE is a veritable slice of early prog paradise!

'A Visit To Newport Hospital' starts the album and is the only track that really connects EGG's sound to the previous album. While starting out with some organ thrusts (oooo baby!), the comp soon reverts back to the stylistic approach of the debut with a 60s psych pop melodic development brought about by Stewart's keys and the only track that displays any sort of vocal arrangements. While the vocals are still the weakest link of EGG's classic sound, these recount the tale of the band's ascent to the progressive days with references to the Uriel years and all the trials and tribulations of surviving in the realms of the music underground. The Canterbury flavors are strongest on this track and plants the seeds of the proto-Hatfield & The North styles to come. Starting with the second track 'Contrasong,' the band really jumps into the prog-o-sphere. The track immediately flaunts a series of jittery time signature frenzies and although also a vocal track seems to integrate Campbell's vox box much more successfully than the previous. The track adds not one two two trumpets and not one but two trombonists from guest musicians. This is where the album really takes off into prog bliss.

The third track 'Boilk' not only takes the title from the short snippet on the debut album but stylistically exudes the same avant- garde detachment only this time around weaves its sonic tapestry into a near ten minute mind expanding exploration of tones, timbres, time signatures and dynamics. Unlike the first two tracks, 'Boilk' is an exploration of atmospheres and ambient mood enhancers with studio tricks like backmasking and other psychedelic accoutrements to develop into utterly bizarre avant-garde sonicscapes that sound much more like an lysergic counterpart to the Third String Band than anything out of the Canterbury jazz playbook. Part progressive electronic and part John Cage, the track meanders with freaky industrial soundscapes, muddled vocalizations emerging from the din and probably was inspired by John Lennon's experimental creations in the form of 'Revolution No. 9' from The Beatles' 'White Album.' The track ends by allowing the Baroque melodies of Bach to bring the listener back to Earth with a little 'Durch Adams Fall Ist Ganz Verderbt.'

The grand finale comes with the 20-minute 'Long Piece No. 3' which is segmented into four 'Parts.' Stylistically they are completely contradictory and contrast greatly so it makes sense that newer reissues just consider them separate tracks. 'Part 1' jumps into a jittery high tempo dance of the bombastic drumming and organ freneticism. Yeah, the bass is in there somewhere. It's like the whole band has become Keith Emerson this time around! After the caffeinated moment subsides then the instruments take turns being hyperactive freaks. A melody and rhythmic groove anchor the madness. A few avant-garde piano tinklings add some spice before the original rhythmic bombast returns like a jackhammer at Chopin's house. 'Part 2' returns a sense of calmness with a reprise to the psych pop structures of the first track. Slow percussive drive, placid organ melodies and no hurry at all. It then completely changes into a formless butterfly shuffle through the breeze on the organs while the bass gently cusps the framework. Then it just gets friggin weird. Basically 'Part 3' and 'Part 4' alternate through more accessible passages and highly experiment formless efforts. It all ends with an energy that could almost be considered early heavy metal if only there was a Tony Iommi guitar stomp leading the pack.

While it's true that the dynamic trio laid their golden EGG with THE POLITE FORCE (if you think of the three albums as representing one letter of the band name then this is the 2nd 'G'), there are a few inconsistencies about this that bug me a bit. Firstly, the opening track is stylistically too similar to the debut album and doesn't sit well as leader of this more sophisticated progressive rock pack and while Mont's vocal style is perfectly integrated into the following 'Contrasong,' the opener just doesn't work for me in relation to the rest of the album which makes it all seem unbalanced no matter how great the album becomes. Secondly, the album could've been much more interesting if the sax and trumpets were on ALL the tracks instead of just the second. The jazzy vibes of 'Contrasong' should've been relegated to sally forth into the great unknown thus adding even more brass fueled textures to the avant-garde mix and thirdly, Stewart relied too much on the sonic organ textures of the 60s instead of expanding the possibilities into the more inventive styles that were at hand. Oh well, a critic some five decades into the future am i, but do not let me dissuade anyone from experiencing this absolute delight of Canterbury infused prog period piece from 1971. While not perfect according to me, it is nonetheless an excellent slice of music freak fineness and for that i am eternally grateful.

 Egg by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.82 | 308 ratings

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Egg
Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The oddly named prog band EGG actually started out as the other oddly named psychedelic rock band Uriel which was founded in 1967 by guitarist Steve Hillage, organist Dave Stewart, bassist / vocalist Mont Campbell and drummer Clive Brooks. It gets even stranger that Uriel released their only album under the Arzachel moniker in 1969 but after that album's release, Hillage left the band in order to focus on his new project Khan. The other three members of Arzachel decided to continue together but instead of keeping the name Arzachel or even Uriel which was often confused with "urinal," the band hatched up to the monosyllabic EGG and carried on as a trio. Already having a history in the music biz and playing the club circuits, the trio went into the studio and caught the bug of the current progressive rock scene that was taking England by storm in 1969 and by early 1970 released this first eponymously titled album on the Dream label.

EGG was one of the early pioneers of complex music in a rock paradigm. While bands like The Nice, The Moody Blues and Deep Purple were creating new exciting sounds by mixing 60s psychedelic rock with symphonic classical music, EGG took those early aspirations into a much more demanding field and into the arenas of the big boy's club with early bands like King Crimson, East of Eden and Marsupilami. EGG's debut was built around Baroque classical chops inspired by J.S. Bach as well as the overarching prowess of Igor Stravinsky but accompanied those classical workouts with a heavy groovy bass and a sophisticated jazzy drumming style that took EGG into its own world from the very start. The band's quirky whimsy as evidenced by the hilarious track titles such as "The Song Of McGuillicudie The Pusillanimous (or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas)" along with a healthy love of avant-jazz interpolations earned them a coveted seat in the Canterbury Scene due to Hillage's connection but this debut album at least comes off more as some fo the earliest symphonic prog.

With a trippy series of noises leading the way, the album then kicks off with Stewart's distinct organ talents as he riffs a rather accessible and hook filled run while Campbell adds a groovy bass line and lower register vocal style. The first two tracks set the groove of the organ led rock sounds (no guitar here whatsoever) but tracks like "Fugue In D Minor" and the sprawling 22 minute plus "Symphony No. 2" showcase Stewart's mastery of the classical musical universe however while dominate in those two still lingers beneath the surface throughout the album. Also adding some bizarre variations to the album are short little filler numbers such as the piano dominated "They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano," "Boilk" and the opening "Bulb" which offer some of the earliest industrial sounds that i've heard. While these short avant-garde snippets may have been added for an interesting contrast, it seems likely that many of the later Nurse With Wound type projects were possibly influenced by them. For the most part the album is based on organ fueled melodies with an accompanying lyrical vocal delivery. At least until "Symphony No. 2" where the big guns are drawn.

After the freaky industrial bleakness of "Boilk," which implements a concentrated delivery of avant-garde progressiveness, the final "Symphony No. 2" sprawls out for over 22 minutes with five individual suites that in reality are all separate tracks but are connected thematically. While "Movement 1" is a continuation of the Western classical interpretations with parts of Grieg's "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" and in all honesty wouldn't have sound out of place on one of The Nice's albums with the Emerson styled keyboards, by the books rock backing in the vocal free zone, "Movement 2" lets the experimentation begin. While Stewart focuses on classical organ runs to keep the melodic drive going, Clive Brooks delivers some stellar drumming styles that take jazzy rolls and rock standards and juxtaposes them into a mishmash of wizardry. The track works its way into a very strange atmospheric frenzy which paves the way for the next track "Blane" which deviates completely from the classical rock formula.

Unlike anything else on the album, "Blane" delves into the bizarre freaky world of electronic manipulation and bizarre experimentation. The track babbles and bloops and bleeps on for over 5 minutes and yet provides enough moments of melody to keep the listener grounded despite the intense industrial bleakness that ends it. "Movement 3" was removed from the original album released in 1970 most likely due to time limitations but is back in its original intended spot on the new remastered CD versions fo the album. Rightfully nixed due to the fact that borrowed too heavily from the Stravinsky classic (and had legal issues because of it) but still provides a decent series of organ runs, a stomping decent drum and bass delivery and sounds like something right out of Gustav Holst's playbook from his orchestral suites in "The Planets." "Movement 4" continues with a more rock based mix of drum and bass with the organs punctuated to add a bit of melodic delivery from time to time but this is the spot where Brooks shows off his drumming skills and he rock the house! The newer CDs have two bonus tracks "Seven Is A Jolly Good Time" and "You Are All Princes" which are well worth the inclusion as they include a wealth of off-kilter time signatures and fit into the original album's flow perfectly.

EGG is a phenomenal album considering all three of its members were only in their teens. Despite the youthful energy on board, this debut is surprisingly mature as if it was created by a band of seasoned professionals. The album finds the perfect balance between symphonic prog bombast, traditional classical interpretations, 60s psychedelic rock vibes and touches of otherworldly avant-garde mind freakery. While excellently performed the album does sound like a product of its time with those instantly identifiable sounds of the organ, mellotron and tone generators that pinpoint it to the 1970 timeline. If there is any weakness in EGG's debut, it would have to be the vocals. Mont Campbell gets the job done and in all fairness allows the lyrics to be focused upon that may not be so easily done had he been an operatically trained singer but nevertheless the dynamics of the music far exceeds those in the vocal department but in the end is quite ignorable due to the most phenomenal parts of the album being swallowed up by the instrumental technical workouts led by Stewart's amazing keyboard prowess. Despite EGG's debut being overshadowed by the admittedly better sophomore release "The Polite Force," this first chapter is by no means one to be missed. This is quite an interesting slab of early prog that offers lots of exciting twists and turns. One of 1970's finest moments for sure.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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