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EVERFRIEND

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Everfriend biography
The American progressive rock band Everfriend were the project of keyboardist Bill Rhodes (real last name Rupprecht), who was active in the 1970s-80s. The music generated was an eclectic mixture of styles, from space rock to classically influenced keyboard works. The Mellotron dominated the sound as well as a blend of symphonic prog with synth-fronted jazz-fusion. The band consisted of three artists: Bill Rhodes on keyboards, Mike Jacoby on drums, and Paul Kozub on bass. They produced some underground very obscure albums including "Tropicsphere" in 1980, "Sphere of Influence" in 1981, and "Snake With a Hat". Bill Rhodes and Mike Jacoby used to play together in the All Night Flyers band and worked on the Everfriend project which was their focus while they lived in the Metuchen New Jersey area. They picked up bassist Paul Kozub for the albums who also played in the All Night Flyers. The band underwent personnel changes over its short career spanning 1978-1981, and the album "Sphere of Influence" is hailed as a prog classic, albeit one of the most obscure acts in the United States.

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3.00 | 1 ratings
Tropicsphere
1980
2.00 | 2 ratings
Sphere of Influence
1981

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EVERFRIEND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tropicsphere by EVERFRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Tropicsphere
Everfriend Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Extremely obscure US group from the New Jersey area, active from late-70's to early-80's.Everfriend were led by keyboardist Bill Rhodes and drummer Mike Jacoby, both them previously played together in a band called All Night Flyers.Their debut album ''Tropicsphere'' was released in 1980 on the unknown Jazzical label.

A quite uneven album, ''Tropicsphere'' opens with a few cuts, where keyboard-driven Prog/Fusion meets commercial Horn Rock.Rhodes' work on electric piano and synthesizers comes in evidence with some really furious solos, the tracks have some complex themes and sudden changes, the sporadic female vocals are cool, but the slight air of mainstream vibes is evident throughout them.There is a notable STARDRIVE influence in most of these pieces.Side A suprisingly closes with a very symphonic-oriented piece, similar to HAPPY THE MAN, French HECENIA or even E.L.P. with a very technical keyboard delivery and fantastic bombastic breaks, despite the mediocre production.The flipside of the LP is certainly more consistent and propably a bit better than the opening one with a pronounced Classical flavor mixed nicely with jazzier interludes.While it opens in a typical Prog/Fusion realm, the rest of it shows Rhodes heavily armoured with organs, harpsichord and piano, producing very good Symphonic/Fusion along the lines of HAPPY THE MAN and E.L.P., full of intricate keyboard fanfares, double synth/organ attacks and complicated textures.One track is even led by his delicate harsichord work in a full-blown Classical mood and the amateur-sounding but rather limited horns is the only negative point of his whole effort.

Among the decent Progressive Rock oddities, ''Tropicsphere'' deserves some attention by all fans of keyboard-driven Progressive Rock because of Rhodes' tanted playing and his nice bunch of composing ideas.Recommended, although very rare.

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 Sphere of Influence by EVERFRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Sphere of Influence
Everfriend Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Everfriend are the sound of the 80s as prog was lying on its death bed. It is gratifying that at least some bands maintained semblances of prog that had the death rattles, but Everfriend decided to clone the ELP sound. What we have here is fairly much a very symphonic piano and synth dominated album.

'Ambience Won' has a lot of electronic tinkles, piano echoes, and tons of synth ambience from Bill Rhodes. It is a pleasant relaxing piece but forgettable as there is no catchy melody.

'Everfriend Overture For Piano And Electronic Orchestra' is the electrical answer to Beethoven. I remember all the albums churned out in the 80s of instrumental Moog with albums such as Switched on Classics, Moog Synth Greats or Synthesiser Themes; this sounds like one of those album tracks.

'Given The Time' has a nice piano motif and spaciness, with electric piano and sustained key pads. The bassline is excellent from Paul Kozub and Mike Jacoby's drums provide a strong beat. It switches time sig and launches into a jazz fusion rhythm. The drum solo leads to a similar melody to the previous tracks. This is perhaps one of the more accomplished tracks on the album.

'Music Means The World To Me' is a song that has some pleasant melancholy sounds. The rare vocals are rather subdued but I think this is one of the better tracks due to the classical nuances. I kind of like the sentiment in the lyrics as I agree with it. The vocals on the one song are okay but Lake did better, and they are often layered or processed to make them sound better. This is a good move as they are nothing to write home about.

'On The Fringe' has that ELP synth sound similar to 'Brain Salad Surgery' era. It is a decent melody but again offers nothing new to the table. The drumming is better and I kind of like the dramatic melodic vibe that it exudes. This is perhaps one of the best tracks overall with nice spacey atmospheres.

'Sonorplasm ' Birth' is a piano and synth instrumental with some spacey textures, not too bad in the scheme of things.

'Terra Firmus' is a rather naff track with lots of cheesy 'ba ba baba ba's' and a lot of 'oh oh oh oh oooohhhhh's' as we hear classical piano and synth maintain a weird melody. A real stinker. 'Theme of Peace' has fast ivory tinkling very well played by Rhodes. It is basically a solo on piano executed with dramatic staccato notes, and the synth lines augment the soundscape.

Overall this album has a few decent tracks but really is obscure due to the fact that the band does not offer anything new, the music does not progress, rather stays on the one classical note, and it is an example of a failed 80s recording. The album is a one off, the band are an obscurity, and they were never heard of again. No wonder it faded from the music scene as really the content is rather mediocre. 2 stars for the 2 or 3 good tracks.

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 Sphere of Influence by EVERFRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Sphere of Influence
Everfriend Symphonic Prog

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

2 stars By 1981, symphonic prog was all but dead. The big acts had started to dabble in pop rock and enjoyed the success, the lesser acts were trying to keep up the tradition but almost always failed miserably, and critics and fans had turned all of their attention to punk, new wave, and essentially anything other than progressive rock. Yet, a few rogue obscure bands still were determined to produce a quality piece of symphonic prog. While the early 80s did produce a few very rare gems of progressive rock mastery such as Bacamarte's Depois de Fim or Asia Minor's Between Flesh and Divine, I can safely say that Everfriend's debut and sole album Sphere of Influence was not one of those gems.

To get a feeling of what Everfriend, an obscure a little-known American prog band, sounds like, take Emerson Lake and Palmer's sound and do absolutely nothing to it, because Everfriend is, essentially, an ELP clone. While the album contains sprinklings of more jazz than Keith Emerson allowed in his own compositions and more 80s synths and other more "modern" twists, Everfriend bathes in the keyboard-led, baroque inspired, progressive rock tradition championed by Emerson Lake and Palmer. However, unlike ELP, Everfriend fails at capturing the organic and "original" sound that ELP was able to capture in their first few albums. While the fact that Everfriend's songs have more cheddar in them than a 2nd grader's view of the moon is discerning, it's the complete and utter lack of creativity that was put into the album that really gets me. While in this paragraph alone I think I've said it enough, this entire album sounds like it is straight from an ELP practice session - it's just that these are the songs that ELP wouldn't have even put on their albums. The pseudo-jazz piano/organ/synth passages led by Palmer-esque drum beats after Palmer-esque drum beats is suffocating to say the least, and the eight relatively short pieces have little to no flow or natural rhythm other than a pithy mixture of symphonic nonsense and forced progressive rock themes. The album is mostly instrumental, and this is a plus, as the sparse vocals aren't the best you can get - that is, the singer isn't good at all.

Overall, Everfriend's Sphere of Influence wasn't good. While the playing and production of the album was fine and the three guys had all the right intentions, the execution of their dried out uncreative songs was not the best the progressive world has to offer. It's no surprise this band dropped off the face of the earth after the release of this album, as there's really no music that could have possibly met wide appeal that would have prompted the band to go further with their efforts. Overall, the album may have one or two redeeming qualities, but this album is only for die-hard ELP fans desperate for more of the same or symphonic prog completionists who need every album they can find. 2- stars.

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