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I Talk To The Wind: Prog Blog and Reviews

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    Posted: January 13 2008 at 19:36
I Talk To The Wind - Orb's Prog Blog and Review Anthology

Since I'm not at all satisfied with my earlier attempts at rating ("Well, I suppose Love Beach isn't that bad. Not really... but... besides...well...  a little shambolic, but... Maybe a 4?") and reviewing (i.e. rambling) albums, I thought I'd inflict any new attempts on everyone here and try for a more considered and intelligible result.

Perhaps this'll develop into more of a proper musical blog thing than a long list of reviews, but I think starting simple's the best way to go. I'll try to give anything at least ten listens, usually more, before rating it, since some of my favourites (especially King Crimson's Cirkus and Gentle Giant's The Moon Is Down have emerged from apathy only after a fair few spins). I'll generally explain my background to the band. Feedback and criticism is more than welcome, as is discussion, [s]mockery, and death threats[/s] and correction. My personal musical background is, at the moment, limited to approximately "grade one" level piano and keyboards, so don't expect lots of technical discussion about time signatures and the like.

I've decided to start what is hopefully a new era for my reviews with a band I've listened to a lot, and known for quite a while (in fact, ELP are responsible for introducing me to Prog. Pictures at an Exhibition (version on Works Live) brought me into the fold), the great Emerson, Lake and Palmer. After I've exhausted my ELP collection, I'll move onto something else. I have, in some form or another, everything by ELP in the studio up to (but not including) Black Moon, as well as Works Live and the Fanfare For The Common Man anthology.

Reviewed so far:
[spoiler]
StarStarStarStarStarStar
Larks' Tongues In Aspic - King Crimson (Heart)
In The Court Of The Crimson King - King Crimson

H To He, Who Am The Only One - Van Der Graaf Generator

StarStarStarStarStar
Les Porches - Maneige (Heart)
Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night - Peter Hammill (Heart)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Nursery Cryme - Genesis
Selling England By The Pound - Genesis
Lizard - King Crimson
Islands - King Crimson
Caress Of Steel - Rush
Spectral Mornings - Steve Hackett
Close To The Edge - Yes
Tales From Topographic Oceans - Yes
Ys - Il Balletto Di Bronzo
A Passion Play - Jethro Tull

StarStarStarStar
Tarkus - Emerson, Lake & Palmer(Heart)
Brain Salad Surgery - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Asia - Asia
Trespass - Genesis(Heart)
Foxtrot - Genesis
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - Genesis
A Trick Of The Tail - Genesis
Wind & Wuthering - Genesis
Mirage - Camel
Daughter Of Time - Colosseum
2112 - Rush
In The Wake Of Poseidon - King Crimson
Red - King Crimson
Stand Up - Jethro Tull
Permanent Waves - Rush
A Farewell To Kings - Rush
Fragile - Yes
Per Un Amico - Premiata Forneria Marconi
Starless And Bible Black - King Crimson
Crime Of The Century - Supertramp
Black Moon - ELP

StarStarStar
Works Vol. 1 - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Works Vol. 2 - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
War Child - Jethro Tull
Very 'Eavy Very 'Umble - Uriah Heep
The Yes Album - Yes
Arena - Asia

StarStar
From Genesis To Revelation - Genesis
Sinister - John Wetton
Songs From The Wood - Jethro Tull

Star
The Problem Of Pain pt. 1 - Torman Maxt

Red and underlined = not quite sure of.
[/spoiler]

Review 1, 1970, Emerson, Lake and Palmer

StarStarStarStarStar
This self-titled debut is, in my opinion, the progressive supergroup's best. Of the six tracks, only one (Emerson's 'The Three Fates') suffers from any doubtful taste, and even that has a beautiful section. This is an even more astounding accomplishment given the sheer versatility of the music produced: a great folk ballad with a moog solo that never ceases to amuse me, the essential acoustic masterpiece, the heavier Hammond-based Barbarian and Knife Edge, the drumming-dominated Tank, and the various noodlings that comprise The Three Fates. Even though ELP have produced several excellent prog albums, this is the one I'd call essential.

Barbarian introduces the trio perfectly, with a growling electric guitar, a superb heavy Hammond organ, and tasteful drumming. The music's constantly shifting, yet retains all its rawness. And suddenly, there's an acoustic section with quirky, yet delightful, piano and drumming. And somehow Emerson escalates that back to the main tune's heaviness flawlessly. And it just gets better and better towards the end. Proof that a progressive masterpiece does not need to be long.


Next we have my all-time ELP favourite, Take A Pebble. It's just three musicians on acoustic instruments working together flawlessly, with gorgeous, flowing classical-inspired piano supported by Lake's delicate bass and acoustic guitar parts, tasteful percussion, inspired use of watery sound-effects, strong vocals (most reminiscent of Epitaph) with beautiful surreal lyrics. The band shifts moods between optimism, anticipation, grandeur and surprisingly heavy, dark moods seamlessly. Emotion oozes from the piano and the vocals. There are no weak moments in all the twelve and a half minutes of beautiful music.

Third in the album we have another heavier piece, Knife Edge. This took me a little longer to acquire than the previous two songs, but the excellent bass lines, mantra-like, almost-spoken vocals, slightly darker drumming with brief drum solos, and superb build-up and entertaining keyboard riffs and parts ultimately make for a great song. I particularly like the weird churchlike instrumental section in the middle. The lyrics are solid, and work very well with the music. It ends with a slowing-down effect and sort of clicks to a stop. As progressive as Barbarian, and though it doesn't quite reach the heights of the opener, it's still a masterpiece.

The Three Fates is a little more mixed. The organ-opener Clotho hasn't really made an impression on me, but it's well worth listening to through to move onto the beautiful piano solo, Lachesis. Delicate, beautiful, tasteful, mobile, and fairly symptomatic of Emerson's piano on the album as a whole. Atropo is another entirely different kettle of fish, with a combination of the instrumentation used earlier in The Three Fates and a little percussion, if I'm not mistaken. The build-up to a final explosion sound effect is quite good, and has a bizarre dramatic atmosphere that goes down quite well. Overall, this track's not quite as good as the rest of the album, but still interesting, at times masterful, and well worth listening to.

Tank is another oddity. Bass and drumming paves the way for another flippant keyboard (Moog, I think) part, sustained by the bass and brief bursts of solo drumming leading up to a longer (though not excessive), extremely good drum solo with a real sense of direction that many solos lack. It builds up extremely well and leads into the return of the bass and the moog. Yet another great, charming prog piece.

Lucky Man rounds off the album soundly. It's in a much less progressive vein than the rest of the album, but that doesn't really matter to me. The basic melody and the bass part is good, Palmer's drumming complements it nicely, you get to hear more of Lake's voice. And finally, there's a hilarious moog part. Emerson was apparently not taking the solo entirely seriously when he played it, but it's still brilliant. Although it's really more folk than prog, I still love this song.

In conclusion, I'm giving this album one of the easiest five star ratings that I'm ever likely to give. I love it. This is ELP at their finest, with electronic and acoustic instrumentation both used to their full effect. Accessible, yet a grower. As much loved as In The Court Of The Crimson King or Selling England By The Pound. Well worth buying, and also a good introduction to the band.

Rating: Masterpiece. Five Stars.

Favourite Track: Take A Pebble.



Edited by TGM: Orb - January 11 2009 at 14:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote everyone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 13 2008 at 22:49
You might try the Nice's album "The Thoughts of Emerlistdavjack."  This album was released before the formation of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  I can see through this album the beginnings of the direction that Kieth Emerson wanted to do as a musician.  The first ELP album is fantastic as is Brain Salad Surgery and Trilogy.  When you get all your ELP albums give an underrated album by Roger Powell called "Cosmic Fire" a try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kotro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 14 2008 at 05:59
Good job, Rob. Hope to see plenty of reviews from you. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TGM: Orb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2008 at 18:29
@ Kotro, many thanks Thumbs%20Up
@Everyone, I'll definitely check out those albums soonish. Heh, I prefer ELP to BSS, myself. Trilogy I'm not quite sure about at the moment, and I'm definitely going to need a few more listens to form a decent opinion about it. Tarkus is on the way. Just had a couple of computer problems (needed to deinstall and reinstall Open Office onto another drive to make way for music).

General comments:

Pt. 1
Just got 15 or so Prog CDs, of which Look At Yourself (Uriah Heep), though not the most proggy of the lot, is possibly the current favourite. The Power To Believe was also a great surprise. Lost subject. Found Van Der Graaf Generator. Definitely a good trade. I'm also, starting next week, getting piano lessons, largely because I want to end up with a better technical understanding of the stuff I listen to. I already play a little self-taught electronic organ thingy on the limited Yamaha thing we have at home, and I'm going to keep on with that too.

Pt. 2
More comprehensibly, I'm going for a bi-weekly usually Wednesday-Saturday review schedule. Next up (probably tomorrow) is ELP's Tarkus, Trilogy may be back-tracked to after Works. 1 or 2, since I have just about every track on it, but not all in the original release format, and I haven't listened to it in the correct order enough to get an overall impression. Love Beach will probably be omitted, since I don't have the inclination to listen to it 17 or 18 more times, and I've only got it on record, so I'd need to kidnap the record player thing from whoever has it at the moment. On the Saturday reviews, I'll probably name a personal album of the week, because I have an unnerving listing fetish.


Edited by TGM: Orb - January 17 2008 at 18:33
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Review 2, 1971, Tarkus � Emerson, Lake And Palmer

StarStarStarStar

Tarkus, though it doesn't (for me, at least) have the same consistent quality and emotional impact as their debut, is the album that really fixed the future of ELP, and the title suite is definitely vital listening for any progger. Although I can see where much of the criticism for the rest of the album comes from, I think it's not as bad as some make it out to be. Even the much-maligned �filler� Are You Ready Eddy and Jeremy Bender have charm, energy and sarcasm, which works for me, and only the fairly cold 'Infinite Space' and the organ intro to The Only Way fall down a little. Lake's sometimes guilty of producing dubious lyrics, and in particular the words to the atheistic The Only Way are too confrontational and feeble for me.

The second side begins with the whimsical Jeremy Bender. The light elements might grate a little with the dark, brooding title track just before it, but if you see the second side as a completely separate entity, it opens it nicely. Lake's lyrics are amusing enough, the piano is good. Palmer is obviously able to merge his drums impeccably with just about anything, and this track is no exception. Lake's voice is good, and the clapping doesn't spoil it at all.

Next we have a winner, the unfortunately named Bitches Crystal. It enjoys a twisted sense of humour, with the nursery rhyme introduction and reprise hilariously contrasted with the main drums, bass and heavier piano theme. Lake's voice, though not as sublime as usual, and occasionally overstretched, and bits of moog and overblown lyrics thrown in for good measure. It ends well, and is a great track in its own way, and perhaps the real proof for me that ELP did have a sense of humour.

The fourth track on the album is of a different sort. There's a classical organ intro, apparently Bach, but, as with most classical organ I'm not particularly fond of it. You then have a less showy organ part subordinated neatly to Lake's superb voice and slightly tacky atheistic lyrics (I don't care, if he can write Just Take A Pebble, he can do more than brief couplets and triplets :p). They're probably too strong/tacky for some people, I've learned to tolerate them. However, that's where it picks up. Palmer and Lake come in, and Emerson switches to piano, to create a beautiful, memorable trio. If it wasn't for the opening and lyrics, this would be ELP at their best. Still a great track.

The conclusion, infinite time and space is mostly a trio, with the briefest of drum solos, and a quick piano solo too, but, without Lake's voice, sort of cold. It also feels a little too deliberate at times, but Emerson's piano overlaying over an already stand-alone part nearish the end is quite neat. Compared to Emerson's usual prominence, it feels like Frippertronics. The song's got some character. Still good material.

Hammond organ, moog and drums drive the next song to a decent synth-and-drum based conclusion that sort of reminds me of some of Toccata. The lyrics are mostly nonsense, but sound good, and Lake's voice is again strong. Unlike in Bitches Crystal, the song is serious enough that Lake over-extending his voice to what basically is screaming doesn't help. The hammond riff is solid and overblown. The drumming here's particularly noteworthy, and the heavier keyboards provide a nice break from the acoustic-dominated second side. If you're a big BSS fan, this is probably the second-side track for you.

Are you Ready Eddy is a quirky rock and roll song with absolutely hectic piano, loads of energy, excellent drums and entertaining, sarcastic lyrics. It may not be the most complex, soul-searching prog song ever, but its fun (and partly inappropriate) to sing along to. The vocal effects only enhance this. This and Jeremy Bender sort of acts as bookends for the second side, and they give a relief from the pomposity of Tarkus much more effectively than some of their other light songs.

In conclusion, I like the second side. It's got a lot of great material, and nothing really intolerable. It's not as superb as ELP, or as progressive and overblown as Brain Salad Surgery, but it shows a lot of development in the band, and their musical direction, while never being really pretentious and humourless enough to lose the listener.

Oh, and the first side's quite good.


Rating: Tarkus is a masterpiece, the rest is good. Four Stars.

Favourite Track: Tarkus (surprise!), more specifically Battlefield

---

More seriously. And probably going to be part of the review I put up.

The Tarkus suite is really essential listening for any progger. It feels very deep, switches mood frequently, has Lake's best lyrics, nicely used vocal effects, great bursts of lead guitar on battlefield, changing Hammond sounds everywhere, moogs occasionally added in for good measure, and the unique drumming that fits this bizarre mix. Eruption begins with Lake's voice multi-tracked and slowly rising in number to meet the cymbal crescendo, Hammond organ to fit the track's name, moog that evokes the lava depicted in the album booklet. The bass is there, but only really as an atmospheric and rhythm section addition, and that works great for the song. This moves on the quieter hammond and bass section beneath Lake's beautiful vocals on Stones of Years. Everything is here, all working together, and nothing too dominant. The bass becomes a little more pronounced and provides the real rhythm while Emerson and Palmer overpoweringly provide the main tune. There's another similar vocal section. Iconoclast is solid and instrumental, while the following Mass is a bit acquired, but good once you get into it, and the trite Moog and low vocals defuse some of Tarkus' pretentious aspects. The instrumental section in the middle is great and Lake's guitar 'solo' is good.

Manticore is a fairly intense instrumental with masses of quirks, and music that suggest a battle more skilfully than The Gates Of Delirium (*beats off Yes fans with hammond organ*) ever did. Battlefield is the best section of a superb suite. Surprisingly emotional and dominant drumming, soul-wrenching lead guitar, beautiful singing with deep, war-related lyrics, and haunting organ-work that manages to somehow lead *as well*. Aquatarkus is a good return to the main theme, sprinkled with bits of moogage, and a great conclusion. This suite is essential prog listening.

---

Week 1 -
Albums reviewed: ELP - ELP (5 Stars), Tarkus - ELP (4 Stars)
Best album of the week: Look At Yourself - Uriah Heep
Best song of the week: Birth - Focus
Worst song of the week: Dreamer - Supertramp
Next week's reviews: Brain Salad Surgery - ELP, Works Vol. 1 - ELP


Edited by TGM: Orb - January 18 2008 at 16:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 18 2008 at 18:27
great reviews.... and you nailed the debut album...  maybe the best debut in prog.. period....
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Review 3, Brain Salad Surgery, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, 1973

StarStarStarStar

Some fans like to think of this album as ELP's magnum opus. It certainly shows technical skill, power, a complete disregard for musical conventions and grandiose pieces that don't wear too thin after a few listens. It also has the added bonus of relatively diverse musical choices (from the heavy electronic classical(?!) interpretation of Toccata to the soft tones of Still..You Turn Me On to the progressive beast that is Karn Evil 9). The biggest let-down on this album is that it doesn't really feel like an album, but rather like a collection of several very good songs. There also isn't really any single track that I'd consider absolutely vital to someone who isn't an ELP fan already (well, maybe Toccata). There's no weakness, and everything's great, but this album doesn't really have a Tarkus or a Musical Box or a Gypsy or a Schizoid Man to leave you gasping for more and riveted to your chair. Perhaps my favourite part of this album is Palmer's drumming throughout, especially on Toccata. It always annoys me to see Phil Collins, although he's good, getting way more votes than Palmer on all those best drummer ever polls.

The version of Jerusalem was a fairly ambitious choice. However, the arrangements are great, Emerson's organ backing Lake's triumphant 'Bring me my bow of burning gold...'. It's great entertainment, an original take, and a good opener.

Still... You Turn Me On is pretty obviously a Lake composition. Short, melodic and with gorgeous haunting verses interspersed with slightly awkward choruses that take a few listens to acquire. If you like Lucky Man, you should like this, if not, I can't see it being too annoying to listen through.

Benny the Bouncer is another short track, based on a weird club-style piano, light drums and Lake's half-drunken vocals. It's quite amusing, but nothing really superb.

Toccata is a driving reinterpretation of a classical composition. The drumming; chimes, electric drums and all is absolutely amazing, the Moog is hectic, screeching and energetic, and, most importantly of all, the atmosphere and direction is always there.

Karn Evil 9 may not be every progger's piece of cake, but is definitely something most ELP fans should enjoy. The concept is the enslavement of humans by computers, which at times has superb lyrical results, and at others lines like 'no man yields who flies on my ship'. The first impression pt. 1 is opened with a good vocal part, together with Emerson's Hammond organ, and has a moody energy, great keyboards and foreshadowing perhaps weakened by an occasional moment of tacky lyrics and vocals.

The First Impression part 2 is a big improvement on that, full of energy and bursting with lightness, and the bass is supporting suitably silly keyboard parts that take the serious edge off the song. Lake's vocals are as good as anything he's done, and the lyrics aren't bad, per se, and the instrumental section is as polyphonic as you could expect from a three-piece band. I love the thing that sounds like a great guitar solo, but could be a keyboard solo. I particularly like the brief moments when Palmer's left alone. He can both hold up the rhythm section throughout the song flawlessly and also develop on that any time he wants.

My criticism for the second impression is that it is really nothing except good music. I can't see any real relation to the concept, or musical ties between the pieces. The music is all very cooperative, and usually seems to have all members of the band playing. The random yipping after the opener only improves it, and Palmer's drumming is eclectic and sounds like steel drums. The second part of it has some echoes of Toccata and excellent drawn out atmosphere with bass and piano together with the occasional hollow tap on a percussion instrument. The shift to a slightly heavier and more pompous piano part doesn't come off too well. It goes back to some variations (I think) on the opener section, and there are some brilliant moments. Unfortunately it still overall feels to me like a bunch of random ideas thrown together into a bit of a mess. It changes abruptly and obviously to an overblown third impression.

The third impression starts well with bits of pseudo-classical organ interspersed with light moog, a good sung part continuing the concept. The 'computer's lyrical parts were obviously the good ones, and its . The instrumental section is again the real triumph here, though the keyboard parts sometimes seem a little brainlessly or ostentatiously added. Additionally it doesn't really, for me, evoke the idea of a battle. As hard as I try, I can only think spacey or confused when listening to this. When the vocals kick in again, it's to good effect, and the computer's final duet with Lake is pensive and impressive, and shows why I don't dislike the concept overall. Although I've come to accept the ending, as is the case with King Crimson's In The Wake Of Poseidon, its feeling is ruined by the inclusion of bonus tracks.

Of the bonus tracks, there's not much to say, they'll get a fuller mention on the Works II review. Brain Salad Surgery itself has an almost spitting drum-part, silly keyboards, basically random lyrics, and a generally laid back feel. There's a good 'lead' guitar part in the background and the quiet bit in the middle, which is always a nice change from pure keyboard-domination. Not brilliant, but good.

When The Apple Blossoms Bloom is basically a nice jazz fusion piece, with eclectic keyboards, good percussion and a quiet bass part. It's great. The excerpts just irritate me. I can only listen to the opening of BSS itself once in a sitting before it annoys me, and I get equally annoyed if I have to dash to the stereo just to turn it off at the exact moment WTABB ends.

Overall, a very strong four stars that only misses the fifth because of a lack of overall direction and personal nitpicking in Karn Evil 9, as well as too much keyboard dominance on that song for me. I'm one of the unconverted heathen who likes polyphony and thinks that In The Cage is vastly overrated, and proud of it. Despite the high rating, I wouldn't start an ELP collection with this. It's not massively accessible, and if you just generally don't like ELP, I can't see this having anything really which you'd like.

Rating: Almost. Almost. Four stars.
Favourite Track: Toccata

-----

Just about on schedule.
@Micky, many thanks for the kind words.
@Everyone, looks like Works 1's up next.


Edited by TGM: Orb - January 23 2008 at 16:21
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Review 4, Works Vol. 1 (double-CD), Emerson, Lake & Palmer, 1977
StarStarStar

A much harder album to analyse than their previous studio albums, because the band is no longer a three-piece band, but a three-piece band with an orchestra and with Sinfield and Lake collaborating on the lyrics to Lake's side and Pirate. This combination is at times winning (Emerson's Toccata Con Fuoco, Lake's Closer To Believing and Palmer's Tank), and at times quite annoying (Pirates, Nobody Loves You Like I do). The album consists of three solo sides, of which I prefer Palmer's, and a group side, on two CDs. I do enjoy most of it, and there are a couple of excellent tracks, but it's a far cry from ELP's earlier material, and it's probably too varied for one person to like all of it.

Keith Emerson's classical piano concerto is basically too fluid for me to describe fully. It has an essentially anarchic and dramatic opening that doesn't particularly impress me, after this moves to a crescendo, the music slows down into a lush classical piece, with violins leading onto a slightly darker horn and bells section, and then constant shifts in mood and instrumentation. Whenever the piano comes in, it's usually to good effect, and, though I'm not a big fan of violins and some other elements of the orchestra, everything seems to work together quite well. I enjoy the flute parts especially. The first movement does continue and end much better than it starts.

The short second movement has a great piano part, and the orchestra seems to be supporting it well. The third movement opens very dramatically with aggressive piano and classical drumming as well as a continual build-up despite the fluent musical changes at any moment. The sheer beauty of the lone piano after the fire dies down for the first time is amazing. There is not a weak moment to the third movement, and even the orchestral sections are good. Furthermore, the music really does evoke the fire ('con fuoco') that is the focus of the movement. Despite an uninspiring start, Emerson's contribution to Works 1 is overall pretty good.

Lend Your Love To Me Tonight is an acoustic ballad that moves to a better orchestra and drum backed acoustic-ballad. Sinfield's lyrics are quite decent, until 'confuse me, abuse me, misuse me'. It's overall a decent effort despite occasional tackyness and generic moments.

C'est La Vie is amazing: tragic, strong lyrics, real atmosphere, and the ability to almost reduce me to tears every listen. It's basically driven by an acoustic guitar with beautiful orchestral additions. The only (and very annoying) weakness here is the accordion solo, which takes a bit of getting used to. I prefer the Works Live version, though.

Hallowed Be Thy Name is a complete contrast, though also good. It's a fairly energetic number with biting, entertaining Sinfield lyrics. The drums and piano are great, and the horn and violin additions are also very strong. Lake's voice is, as usual, amazing. I think the fade could happily have been replaced with a proper conclusion, though.

Nobody Loves You Like I Do has a great start, with acoustics, electrics, piano and drums leading it. Unfortunately, it then has a pathetic chorus with an irritating harmonica sound. The vocals and lyrics are cheesy. The brief moments of excellent instrumental work are instantly replaced with irritating chorus and frivolous violins and that bloody harmonica. I dislike it, but it still shows promise.

Closer to Believing is much better, a tragic, sweeping ballad with beautiful lines like 'From the opium of custom to the ledges of extremes'. Not repetitive, not weak, and with both strong music and enough substantial lyrics to allow Lake to sing throughout without wrecking the song. It ends the first CD beautifully, and the orchestra is perhaps used with more finesse here than it is in any of Lake's other pieces.

I've always found The Enemy God... a little difficult to stomach. A strong reinterpretation of a classical piece, certainly, but it's really a one-mood song, and the fact that it's not in and of itself on a cohesive album/side makes that mood less easy to achieve. The drumming underlying the piece is very strong, and the orchestra is well used. The drama is really here, and it has atmosphere. A great track when you're in the right mood, but you do need to be in the right mood to appreciate it.


LA Nights begins with bass, drums and synths cooperating moving into a great jazzy sax part, a superb guitar solo and the occasional bit of piano with good drum and bass backing. The full-out continuation is superb, even if the opening doesn't strike me as much above-average.

New Orleans is another jazzy piece with really unusual hollow drumming complimenting more conventional percussion and occasional jazz guitar and brass. The drumming essentially acts as the backbone of the music, and various other things are basically added on over it.

The rendition of Two Part Invention in D Minor is beautiful. Some people don't like the idea of reinterpreting a classical piece without going into electronic overdrive, I love it, and the percussion focus is an excellent change to conventional classical instrumentation.

Food For Your Soul is one of my favourite pieces from the album, with brief drum solos interspersing various instruments, and seems at the same time quite anarchic and yet directed. The drum solos do grate a little, but they're short, and the power and ideas of the music more than make up for it.

The orchestra-including revision of Tank basically has all the (many) strengths of the original, except that the drum solo is a lot briefer than that on ELP and the ending section seems a little more developed, though Emerson's still adding the keyboards to the end section. A great re-working.


The classical drum and keyboard opening of Fanfare For The Common Man is promising, and the unexpected leap into a freer bass-and-drum-with-keyboard-soloing section does follow up on this, and the piece basically continues in this mould, and the jam section is good. On the plus side, there is a feel that the band collectively had fun making it, on the minus side, some of the keyboard noises aren't clean enough for my liking, especially over a longer track. Not my favourite, but a good collective piece.

Pirates has a lot of fans, probably more than detractors, but it's doesn't really dazzle me. There are certainly some great moments, and Lake's voice, as always, is perfect. Unfortunately, the lyrics seem to alternate between entertaining and creative and bland and stereotypical. The music is similarly a mixed bag, from seemingly random, light orchestra-based moments to a few superb highlights. The ending also leaves a little to be desired, for me, at least. In the end, this is listenable, and sometimes enjoyable, and I usually end up singing along, but it just doesn't have the consistency of Tarkus or Take A Pebble that turns an epic with some great moments into a masterpiece.

Concerning the bonus material, the live version of Tank is essentially decent, but the sound quality isn't great, on the other hand, I do like some of the changes on the drum solo (the Works Live version is better, though), even if it still retains some of the basic problems of a drum solo, and the direct shift into The Enemy God... is a nice touch. The version of Nutrocker is a little different from the studio version on Pictures, but it still, appropriately, rocks, and what sounds like a bit of decent improvisation is always fun.

Overall, the effort is commendable, and there are some stunning moments. Palmer seems to have an idea of exactly where he wanted to go with each track on his side, whereas Emerson and Lake occasionally don't quite know what they want to do with their material. The group side is palatable, but really I think that it doesn't bear much of a relation to their earlier efforts, and it's not up to par with them, either.

Rating: Overall, good, with some very strong and some very weak moments. Three Stars.
Favourite Track: Disc 1: Closer To Believing, Disc 2: Food For Your Soul


-------

Well, this is a little late for a couple of reasons, one being that it's a double CD, another that I don't know it as well as their earlier albums, and a third that I've been otherwise busy. Although I didn't give enough time to the group side, probably, I don't think I'd end up adding more real substance or opinion to it. if I expanded it.

Week 2 -1/2
Albums reviewed: BSS - ELP (4 Stars), Works Vol. 1 - ELP (3 Stars)
Best album of the week: Birds of Fire - The Mahavishnu Orchestra
Best song of the week: Arrow - Van Der Graaf Generator
Worst song of the week: Dreamer - Supertramp
Next week's reviews: Works Vol. 2 - ELP, Asia - Asia
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2008 at 16:25
Great reviews again Rob... and for what it's worth... your review of BSS is a carbon copy of what mine would have been if I devoted more time to reviewing and less to general forum spamming and mayhem.  I would knock Toccata up to essential ELP... or absolutely vital as you phrased it.  In my humble opinion probably the best single piece of symphonic prog out there...  if it was good enough for Ginastera...what meer mortal could argue with that hahhaha.

and the negative points of KE 9... ...dead on Clap... as big a fan of the group as I am.... the piece does not hold together well... I LOVE the 2nd impression from a musical standpoint....... but makes NO sense within the context of the larger piece.

Never got much into Works Vol. 1.. .only when I want to satisfy my carnal lust for all things Carl Palmer.  His side was the only one I really enjoyed.. or want to really listen to when I reach for the album.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2008 at 17:05
Tocatta, even though not an ELP original was what hooked me on ELP.  I may not be particularly eloquent here, but what the heck.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2008 at 23:38
Originally posted by Slartibartfast Slartibartfast wrote:

Tocatta, even though not an ELP original was what hooked me on ELP.  I may not be particularly eloquent here, but what the heck.


LOL you want eloquent... I'll give you eloquent...



this is ELP we are talking about... eloquence? pfffff... go see the dancing singing  flower and the insomnia curing backing band hahahhaha.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TGM: Orb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2008 at 13:20
*general growl in the direction of Genesis-haters*

Otherwise, the comments make this all worthwhile, and it's always good to see other people who actually agree with me on some of my more outrageous ELP views. To be honest, Works 1 has never gotten that much playtime for me, either, and when it does, it's usually just one CD at a time. I don't have the energy and/or emotional contortionism to listen through all four sides in a row. I quite frequently listen to some of the individual tracks when working, though, and there was an embarrassing time (my early prog days, in late 2006...) when Pirates was a very frequent listen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2008 at 13:31
Pirates NEVER caught to me for some reason

sorry about the Genesis shots.. sometimes I am a bad boy and can't resist.

Looking forward to your next reviews. Especially the Asia one.... no review for the imfamous Love Beach hahaha
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TGM: Orb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2008 at 20:29

Review 5, Works Vol. 2, ELP, 1977

StarStarStar

The much-maligned Works Vol. 2, while not progressive, is still, for me, good fun and an enjoyable album. The jazz pieces are all uplifting and cheerful, the fusion-y pieces are generally interesting, Lake's ballad really doesn't match up to the standards of those on Works 1, but So Far To Fall has its good moments. The opener and the closer, Tiger In A Spotlight and Show Me The Way To Go Home, are strong. Certainly the album has a couple of moments that most fanatical proggers won't like, but there are a couple of peaks to make up for that.

Tiger In A Spotlight starts with a light drum part and fast bass, as well as Lake singing essentially random, but decent lyrics. Unfortunately, the opening and the first keyboard solo feel a little too light and lack-lustre for me, though they really do develop into a much better piece, with great screeching synths, an excellent rhythm section, and uplifting vocals.

When The Apple Blossoms Bloom is opened by the drumming, and continues with basically different keyboard parts and riffs laid over changing percussion and a quiet bass part. The instrumental 'chorus' of this piece is very strong, and all three musicians shine on their respective instruments through to the conclusion.

Bullfrog is a fairly eclectic fusiony piece, with bizarre and conventional percussion placed side by side, and keyboards and saxes occasionally thrown in for good measure. The change to a more exotic atmosphere and more layered music at around the two minute mark is good, and I love the short bass solo here before it moves back through an anarchic section to a much better variation on the opening section. I think the unfortunate issue here is that the sum of the parts is worth more than the end result, which is too hectic and uncoordinated for my liking.

Brain Salad Surgery is a short and concentrated burst of silly keyboards, spitting drums and bass, with nonsensical lyrics. The opening riff is great. Good if you're in an appropriately sarcastic mood, and definitely musically directed.

If Emerson's Barrelhouse Shake-Down can't cheer you up, what will? This is mostly made up of infectiously cheerful piano and brass parts. Not massively adventurous and diverse, but still fun, and my addiction to piano-and-drums is suitably satisfied.

Watching Over You has two essential problems: firstly, lyrics that don't interest me and a singing style that does nothing to relieve this and secondly, a ballad acoustic guitar part, of which the good variations' quality is obscured by the weakness of the main theme. The occasional presence of keyboards is simply not enough to lift the song up. Oddly enough, I find the (thing that sounds like) kazoo solo most amusing. Not Greg Lake's finest moment.

So Far To Fall doesn't really grip me, generally, though at times its energy is contagious. The lyrics are a little shaky, the vocals are at times irritating. The music is pretty up-tempo, but difficult to describe. Palmer's drumming is (as always) excellent, and the keyboard and sax parts are good, once the band get past the fairly dubious opening.

The orchestra-and-piano version of Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag is winning, but short. If I'm not mistaken (and I could be), Emerson's playing very adeptly on a harpsichord. The drumming and band parts are equally excellent.

I Believe In Father Christmas is another ballad, though much better than Watching Over You, mainly because of the lyrics (which are excellent, and targeted at the negative effects of commercial Christmas) and the Prokofiev theme. There is a delicious irony in this song's appearance around Christmas every year. The keyboards, when added, are to good effect, and I like the main acoustic tune.

Close But Not Touching is another jazz piece, this time Palmer-penned, and with an excellent drum performance, as you might expect. It's basically a big band piece, and pretty hectic, throughout, with a couple of tunes repeating and mostly unconnected soloing. The lack of direction sometimes takes away from the enjoyment (for me), but it's still a decent track.

Honkey Tonk Train Blues is a (n excellent) jazz cover. The piano and percussion keep it going throughout and yet run off on their own spontaneously, while the brass additions over the top keep blaring out. Again cheerful. Again good.

Show Me The Way To Go Home is an exceptional rendition of the traditional song, with club piano, relaxed vocals and orchestral additions leading into a brief instrumental trio, followed by a couple of brass parts leading seemlessly into the faster not-quite-ending section with more soulful vocals, catchy harmonies and a quiet and almost lamentful end. This doesn't fall short of what I expect from earlier ELP, and is probably the best song on the album.

Onto the bonus material: the three live renditions aren't really that great, with average production, a performance of Tiger In A Spotlight (though I prefer the studio version) is always good. Watching Over You is a track I don't like, so a second version (even if it is an improvement, since it feels slightly more emotionally charged) isn't an overwhelming plus for me. Lastly, Show Me The Way To Go Home - an excellent performance, with good improvisation on the opening clouded over by poor sound quality. I miss the vocal harmonies, but it's still a good version of an excellent song, and distinctly different from the studio version.

Overall, this is still an album full of enjoyable material, and while it doesn't hit the experimental and powerful peaks that Tarkus or ELP did, I'll still give it the occasional listen when I'm not in the mood for something heavier or just want to relax with a bit of background jazz. An optimistic three stars, though I can understand why it's sometimes rated lower here.

Rating: Three Stars. Good fun.
Favourite Track: Show Me The Way To Go Home

----------------

Week 3...ish.
Albums reviewed: Works Vol. 2 (ELP) - 3 Stars
Best album of the week: 2112 - Rush
Best song of the week: 2112 (especially Soliloquy) - Rush

Reviews coming up: Asia - Asia, Wind And Wuthering - Genesis

I'm not very satisfied with the Works II review, but I'm looking forwards to the controversy of Asia, which should be up tomorrow.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike Giles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2008 at 23:20
A Tarkus is a tattoo? I mean the animal (tatoo)??

Star

Nothing he's got, he really needs. Twenty first century schizoid man.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TGM: Orb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2008 at 09:57
Eh?

I thought it was just an armadillo/tank hybrid.


Edited by TGM: Orb - February 12 2008 at 09:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TGM: Orb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2008 at 12:58

Review 6, Asia, Asia, 1982 (PR)

StarStarStarStar (Star)

I bought this album at the same time as my first Yes albums (CTTE and The Yes Album), knowing only that it had Palmer on the drums, and without that many expectations. Both those buys proved excellent, though the differences couldn't be more extreme: on the one hand, you have the layered sounds, cosmic themes and build-up of Yes, and on the other, the short, catchy tunes, clean and fluid music and amazing plain rock of Asia. I think a lot of prog-men expected a Yes II with a couple of Crimson elements to emerge from the supergroup, but I think this end result should satisfy anyone (excluding those more given to the classical or jazz elements of prog) who approaches it with an open mind.

From the first chords of Heat Of The Moment, right through to the fade, the group's musicianship and dynamic (something not, it would seem, to extend through to their next album) is obvious. Palmer's drumming is superb, the short instrumental parts are fantastic, the vocal harmonies are great, the lyrics may not (a theme to the album) be the best you've ever heard, but they suit the music, and the end result has grown on me with each listen.

Only Time Will Tell is a beast of a different nature: much darker, beginning with a keyboard riff and continuing with a couple of different moods expressed by excellent music. Wetton's vocals support this, and the drum crescendos are extremely powerful. As strong as the opener, though it takes more getting used to.

The bass-and-drum introduction of Sole Survivor signals the start of yet another great rock song, this time going to complete nonsense lyrics, but with energy and style and enough small variations to keep me interested.

One Step Closer has a decent opening, but the continuation (especially the chorus) is a little too pop-based for me, and the lyrics (appalling. Really appalling) don't alleviate that. The tune and components (lyrics/vocals excepted) aren't that bad, but the end result does nothing for me.

Time Again is perhaps the fastest of the album's songs, very energetic, and with stronger lyrics ('Fate looks certain, but then nothing's guaranteed/You want for nothing, but is nothing what you need?') than the rest of the album. Howe's guitar solo here is perfect, and the drumming is Carl Palmer at his finest, and the bass is very strong, and the keyboards fit in very nicely.

Wildest Dreams is the closest thing to prog rock on this album. It's a protest song with mind-blowing verses, but instrumental sections and choruses that don't (for me) reach the level of those on the rest of the album (not quite sure why, but occasionally it seems over-indulgent or overblown in a way that the rest of the album doesn't). Still an excellent song

Without You is as highly rated by me as any of the huge progressive epics that are so loudly trumpeted around PA. The lyrics are strong, the moody keyboard opening and vocals are haunting and echoey, and the composition can take a complete turn when you least expect it. The entire song is absolutely perfect: a great combination of emotion and technical skill.

Cutting It Fine has its moments, one of Howe's catchiest melodies, a superb opening and an emotive instrumental close (mainly piano), although the lyrics aren't anything exceptional. The energy is infectious, and Downes' tasteful additions to the guitar-bass-drums dominated song proper give it enough material to be replayable.

Here Comes The Feeling is the optimistic end to the album, uplifting and genuine verses, and the chorus is less annoying than One Step Closer, with stronger melodies and particularly strong keyboard and bass parts. A great closer, with a very abrupt end.

Asia's debut, in my opinion, is superb - an amazing rock album with a couple of irritating pop moments. Unfortunately, it seems to suffer ridiculous over-reactions (1 star?!) based on what the band could have been, and a refusal to actually engage with the music individually. Highly recommended, but it seems that the experience of this album differs from person to person.

Rating: Four Stars (Five, but I'm not awarding masterpiece ratings to PR or proto-prog albums)

Favourite Track: Without You

---

Week 3ish. A little later than predicted, but I wanted to collect my thoughts on why I liked the individual tracks, rather than just the album as a whole. Just ordered 10 or so new albums from Amazon, which should be here sometime tomorrow.

Discussion:
Anyone want to defend a 1-star (lowest of the low) rating for Asia? I don't mind people rating things differently to me, but 1-star seems really quite extreme and reactionary for this album, and, glancing at the reviews, I haven't seen one that justifies such a low rating and actually considers the music, rather than just throwing around words like disappointing and AOR. It's quite interesting that later Asia albums seem to have *higher ratings*, although I get the impression that most Asia fans actually think that Asia is the best thing they've released.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2008 at 13:55
now that is a yummy review Clap... and you have to forgive the numbnuts who rate albums  with terms like disappointing and AOR and not actually reviewing the album.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TGM: Orb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 16 2008 at 18:45

I may have said that Wind And Wuthering was next on the agenda. I've since changed my mind and decided to go through Genesis chronologically up to W&W, including a complete workover of an embarrassing Foxtrot review, which I may or may not have posted. So, from the beginning:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Review 7, From Genesis To Revelation, Genesis, 1968
StarStar

A rather weak album, in my opinion: a load of pop songs, none of which are very compulsive, and the few flashes of excellence are soon obscured by massed string/horn parts and appalling choruses. However, it's occasionally good for background music, and, apart from The Conqueror, I wouldn't consider any of the tracks irritating. The concept in itself is feebly done (producer Jonathan King's fault, since he suggested it) and the lyrics vary from terrible to passable. I prefer a couple of the stringless mixes to those included on the album, and the original 'She Is Beautiful' floors the reworked version 'The Serpent'.

Where The Sour Turns To Sweet has a fairly nice melody and vocals, but the lyrics are a little poor, and for no real reason, the end result doesn't make a real impression. The string and horn overdubs here are generally tolerable.

In The Beginning begins with a promising chaotic sound into a bass part into a song dragged down by the poor sound quality and slightly pretentious lyrics. I like the components, but the recording isn't very clear, and you can't really hear anything except Gabriel properly: Rutherford and Philips are good musicians (at least, they are later), but it seems that here, as on the rest of the album, they can't be heard properly.

Fireside Song goes on too long with too little variation, and the lyrics are pretty ineffectual. Gabriel's unsteady voice and the whiny strings do nothing to alleviate this. However, the starting piano theme is passable, and the acoustic parts are sometimes good. The end result is dull and cheesy, sadly.

The Serpent starts off quite well with a sort of hollow drumming thing and excellent acoustics and a decent bluesy rocking guitar part, then it moves to a rework of what was originally 'She Is Beautiful', not bad, with a decent bass part and bits of organ if you listen hard enough, as well as good electrics, and enjoyable drumming, but the vocal harmonies (aaaa) (aaaa) (aaaa) everywhere really make it difficult to listen to the music, and the lyrics are feeble, compared to the original piece.

Am I Very Wrong has one of the highlights of the album: the excellent pensive acoustics-trombone-and-vocals of the verses, with great piano parts between them, unfortunately, it then goes on to have a silly, moderately mindless chorus that ruins everything. Could've been a pretty good song, but wasn't.

In The Wilderness actually isn't too bad, though the childish dun-dun-dun-dun thing leading to a passable chorus annoys me if I'm listening properly. The verses have a hint of Gabriel's future ability and range as a singer, but it doesn't quite work here, for whatever reason. The strings don't hurt me. The piano solo end is a decent touch.

The Conqueror opens with a guitar repeat of the In The Wilderness themes, and then a fairly mindless and unclear acoustics and piano tune with fairly weak harmonies and appalling lyrics. On the plus side, the electric guitar in the background and then soloing over the top of the theme is good, however, the piece overall is very weak.

In Hiding has the same problems as the much of the rest of the album: repeated and uninteresting music, and a weak chorus. Gabriel's voice here is pretty good, but that's about the only thing I like about the song.

I like One Day, silly horns and strings, yes, repeated chorus, yes, fairly weak lyrics, yes, but it seems to work here. The bass-and-piano are good, the xylophone or vibraphone or whatever it is additions to the start are nice, and it all works together quite neatly.

Window starts promisingly with a bit of acoustic guitar and piano, bass in the background, a quiet and haunting vocal with (what sounds like) trombone in the mix, slowly building to... a bland and generic chorus with irritating strings and fairly idiotic lyrics. The verses are generally quite good, though they could have lost the violin, but the end result is an unmemorable song.

In Limbo again starts with a decent theme, and this time it's the vocals that bring it down, and the choruses are also annoying. The ending limbo section suffers from poor mixing, in my opinion, I love the electrics and hectic background music, but it's not very audible behind the weak brass and vocals in the foreground.

The Silent Sun is a little uninteresting: an essentially generic ballad crossed with a generic pop song. The harmonies are badly done, the vocals aren't that great, and the violin is completely redundant here. Just unmemorable.

The concluding A Place To Call My Own is probably the best thing on the album. Banks and Gabriel give their first real indication of their future vocal and piano talents, and the instrumental end is quite good, with the strings/brass being used in a more constructive way. I don't love the final 'lalalala' thing that much, but it's a decent effort.

The bonus tracks I have on my 2 CD compilation thingy make it much easier to piece together the problems: recycling of material to fit producer Jonathan King's concept results in weaker lyrics, and the strings and horns seem to be added a lot when not needed. I prefer Patricia without the vocals to the piece it became (In Hiding), Try A Little Sadness is a weak pop song, with basically the same random strumming and good piano with a couple of tolerable musical moments in there that can actually be heard. She Is Beautiful is essentially a better version of The Serpent with piano taking the lead, better lyrics ('cool as ice, but brittle as glass') and the (aaaa) being less dominant. Although I think the final mix has better basic material, this one sounds better. Image Blown Out is a fairly silly, whimsical composition, tolerable once if you're in a good mood.

The Silent Sun's single version isn't really that much different, but the slightly more audible bass is good. Retains the problems of the original, but slightly less dull. That's Me is an enjoyable pop song, although the vocals in the chorus grate a little. The guitar solo (and guitar in general) is fun, and the lyrics are tolerable. It sounds as if the band had fun playing/writing it, something not always evident here, and Philips (guitarist), whose playing made Trespass for me, doesn't seem to be on such a leash here. A Winter's Tale has a quiet organ in the background, which gels amusingly with the pop chorus. I enjoy listening to it, but partly for the wrong reasons. A better song than the album proper. The One-Eyed Hound is a bit weaker, with an annoying refrain ('This man committed a sin, this man, he never can win') absolutely wrecking the song, which would otherwise be passable. The rough mixes generally strike me as being equivalent to or better than the album pieces in quality/sound quality.

Only recommended if you want to see the first stages of Genesis' development and the opportunity to rant about poor producing in reviews. I feel the album could've done with more music time instead of chorus repeat time, and the strings rarely work well here. This seems to me like a mix of poor production, poor mixing and a musical immaturity or a lack of direction in the band. Nonetheless, there are occasional glimmers of promise, and Genesis would go on to produce no less than seven very strong studio prog albums in a row after this.

Rating: 2 Stars. Flashes of promise, but mostly weak.

Favourite Track: That's Me, or, in the album itself, A Place To Call My Own

------

Ah well, it seems that my Asia challenge has been left unanswered. Embarking on a Genesis series now, since the ELP one seemed to focus my mind better than random reviews. Plus, I'm hoping it'll generate more banter and comments. FGTR could well have been a one star album, but I thought that'd be too harsh for it.

@Micky, I'll have to forgive them eventually, but I'm hoping I may have brought some attention to a problem with lots of generally looked-down-on albums and given some people the urge to explain before slamming that lowest of low ratings on anything at all. It's one of my major pet peeves with some PA reviews, the other being people saying '4.6 stars really', '3.2 stars', '1.112234294 stars'.


Edit: Apparently, 6+1 = 7, not 8. Review title has been accordingly Lucassed.


Edited by TGM: Orb - February 17 2008 at 12:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 16 2008 at 18:54
of course your Asia challenge went unchallenged....

it's easier to lope off some half ass review safe in knowledge that is is a common perception.. than to actually explain it.  Like the time old TFTO 'fluff' question.  Those same people who give Tales hell for not being more concise would have been the first to say Yes was merely sticking to formula and done another CTTE type album.  It was a natural progression for them.  Curious to know what you think of that album if you do a series of Yes reviews.

I am not particularly much of a Genesis fan.LOL. but I'll admit... FGtR is one of the  albums I find most interesting.  I really get a pleasure out of FGtR than I simply don't get out of more 'acclaimed' albums like Foxtrot.  Looking forward to reviewing it some day.  Nice review..  would have given it 3 stars myself Clap


Edited by micky - February 16 2008 at 18:55
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