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TheGazzardian View Drop Down
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    Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:08
Introduction

This website is a community of music lovers. We are all drawn here by our love for prog, but I don't believe that is the only reason we stay. Their are tons of websites out there that deal with the genre to various levels that we could visit. 

I believe that the reason that Prog-Archives has been successful so far has been the tools it provides us with to discuss our  music in depth, mostly the forums and the review system.

One of the recurring themes on PA has been the fact that most of us love music beyond the realm of prog. But on this site, such music does not have the same support.

Intention

What I am intending to accomplish through the creation of this topic is to give us a place to really discuss music that we like outside of the prog realm. This is a place to come and review music that isn't prog.

The value will be, in addition to the increased avenue of discussion, the ability to be exposed to new music. I don't know about the rest of you guys, but of late, I've made many a purchase because an album sounded promising based on a review that hit the PA front page. In fact, this (+ the streaming music) has become the dominant way I purchase music these days. As can be expected, that means that I am listening almost exclusively to prog - which is not necessarily a bad thing ;)

Nonetheless, some well written reviews about music by those who appreciate many of the same things in music I do could help me broaden my musical horizons.

Format

In order to keep these reviews close to as informative as the reviews on PA, I recommend including the following information:

Band Name and description: Enough information that those not familiar with the band will have a vague idea what is being reviewed. 

Band Information: Genre, Country of origin, anything else deemed useful

Album information: Name, year of release, album image

The Review (obvious - should follow progarchive guidelines)

Rating - should follow prog archives ratings, but replace the word "prog" with the respective genre the music is from.

Prog Appeal - your opinion of how strongly this album would appeal to fans of progressive music. I have created some guidelines for the meaning:

1) No appeal to progressive music listeners
2) Light or historical appeal to progressive music listeners
3) Strong appeal to progressive music listeners
4) I believe this album is so progressive that it should be included on the archives.

Happy progging, and I look forward to seeing many reviews!


Edited by TheGazzardian - January 26 2010 at 21:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheGazzardian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:35
Let me start this off with one of my all time favorite non-prog albums :)

Band: Midnight Oil (Australia, 1976-2002)

Midnight Oil was an Australian alternative rock act. They are best known in the western world for their hit single, Beds are Burning, off the album Diesel and Dust (their 6th album), although I hear that they are well loved in their native Australia. For years before they were known as Midnight Oil, they toured as The Farm, and after Peter Garret joined the band, they incorporated some progressive rock elements into their sound. The band is known for its political activism, including holding a concert protesting the Exxon Valdez oil spill in front of the Exxon offices in New York. Frontman Peter Garrett was actively involved in politics during the career, and the reason for the bands split in 2002 was so that he could continue his political career.

Album: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (1982)

Rating: Overall, an excellent album that I would rate as a masterpiece (5 stars).

Prog Appeal: For fans of progressive music, I would give this album huge praise. If the entire bands output was like this, I would be trying to get them into the archives as crossover or some such - but as it is, I can only give this 3 stars (Strong appeal to progressive music listeners).

Review:
Midnight Oil is known for their hard rocking tracks, and even by this point that was considered a crucial part of their sound. However, they decided to begin this album with a bit more sedate sound. The opening track, Outside World, is mostly instrumental, with some sparse vocals. This was initially my favorite track off the album, for it was like nothing I had heard at the time, and it kept me coming back until the album grew on me more than I had expected it would.

But those who doubted that this album would rock would give their fears to rest with the next track, "Only the Strong", which I can only describe as a blistering, almsot angry rocker. This is followed by Short Memory, which is a bit less direct in its instrumental approach, yet none the less impassioned. The lyrics are extremely powerful, as it lists terrible things that man has done in succession, followed by the chorus of "Short Memory, must have a short memory".

Read About It is another impassioned song, and I remember seeing the video for this one and being stunned by the power of the video (which describes deforestation in australia and the rate at which species go extinct). The song still has strong bite on its own.

Scream In Blue is where the band shows off their progressive influences the most, I think. Once again, we are treated to some tumultuous, hard rocking instrumentals, which come to a sudden stop halfway through the song, where Peter Garret comes in with what I believe is one of his most potent vocal experiences (from the percentage of the Oils discography I've heard, anyways). When he utters the last line, "When I scream, I scream in blue, I scream in blue", I get shivers. 

The second half of the album begins with US Forces, which sounds like a pretty upbeat song but is once again full of politically charged lyrics (this time, the Oils are criticising America's foreign policy). This is followed by Power And The Passion, another excellent Oils single that rocks much harder than US forces. The middle section gives the band some chance to show off, including some excellent drumming from Rob Hirst.

Maralinga follows Power And the Passion, and it is probably the most sedate track on the album, barring Outside World, but without the cool atmosphere of the aforementioned track. Regardless, it is still an excellent track, but I would argue that it is the weakest on the album.

Nonetheless, it is followed by the extremely catchy "Tin Legs and Tin Mins", before the album finishes on a blistering note with "Somebody's Trying To Tell Me Something". (At the end of the album, there is a long sustained note. On the vinyl, this was held into the runout groove (I know that term because I looked it up on wikipedia :) ), and on the CD this is emulated by the vote being sustained for 40 seconds. 



Edited by TheGazzardian - January 26 2010 at 21:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:40
it's a cool idea for a thread (kind of a site within a site Shocked), maybe I'll post a review in the future

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:51
Great idea for a thread indeed, and very well executed.  I don't have a review at this time, but really liked your review of my favourite Midnight Oil album (and I like Midnight Oil considerably).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheGazzardian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:55
Originally posted by Logan Logan wrote:

Great idea for a thread indeed, and very well executed.  I don't have a review at this time, but really liked your review of my favourite Midnight Oil album (and I like Midnight Oil considerably).

Thanks :) It's my favorite album by them too, but I've only heard their stuff from Place Without a Postcard to Earth and Sun and Moon - missing both their early and late stuff still.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 02:45
Great idea. Now I can review Katatonia.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote seventhsojourn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 03:17

Brilliant idea!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 06:48
I'd been thinking about starting a thread like this.  I've got such a backlog of prog albums I'd like to review.  I'll be back. Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 06:58
I believe this is a wonderful idea, well-thought out and expressed in an extremely mature way. Kudos to Stephen for starting this thread - which I hope will prosper for the good of the siteClap.

Now, if I wasn't surrounded by prog albums to review for that 'other' site, I'd very gladly contribute to this thread... Unfortunately, as of late it takes me an inordinately long time to produce a decent review, which of course is a pity. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kotro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 07:57
Originally posted by Slartibartfast Slartibartfast wrote:

I'd been thinking about starting a thread like this.  I've got such a backlog of prog albums I'd like to review.  I'll be back. Big smile
 
That's two of us, it's long overdue. A big huzzah to Gazz for taking the step forward from idea to execution. May I suggest that an index of albums reviews be created in the first post? Preferably with a direct link to the review, as I sense this topic will quickly grow beyond one page. 
 
In the meantime I move for this thread to be sticked.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 15:44
A fantastic idea, and one which I feel would add even more to the richness and diversity of the site.

How the hell I'd have time to review anything is, of course, another thing, given that I don't have time to do many prog reviews these days, but I will definitely get around to reviewing those excellent Tansads & Levellers albums of mineClap


In Lazland, life is transient. Prog is permanent.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progkidjoel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 16:03
I'm very tempted to write a review for the album in my sig, Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight. I think I will later today
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SaltyJon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 16:07
Nice idea for a thread indeed, I don't have too many non-prog albums but if I get the inclination to review any of them I'll surely come here to do it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Finnforest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 16:22
I really wish we just had a legit straight "rock" sub section where we could add everybody and write reviews for real.  The site's name and emphasis could remain prog, with a users options to present either "prog-only" or "prog and rock' albums on their main lead page.  Thus, people who want it to remain just as it currently is could have it that way, and those who want to "see" all the album reviews could select the "prog and rock" option to tailor their homepage. 

That would be so cool.  And it would get many of the bands here who fall just short of our prog criteria.  We could then rival RYM in titles and scope. 

Max?Smile



Merry Christmas!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kotro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 17:02
Originally posted by Finnforest Finnforest wrote:

I really wish we just had a legit straight "rock" sub section where we could add everybody and write reviews for real.  The site's name and emphasis could remain prog, with a users options to present either "prog-only" or "prog and rock' albums on their main lead page.  Thus, people who want it to remain just as it currently is could have it that way, and those who want to "see" all the album reviews could select the "prog and rock" option to tailor their homepage. 

That would be so cool.  And it would get many of the bands here who fall just short of our prog criteria.  We could then rival RYM in titles and scope. 

Max?Smile


 
I made a similar suggestion when I first arrived at the PA forum. Didn't get much support then, and the little feedback I did get veered towards the "too complicated to implement" argument. I think this model proposed by Gazz will suit us better for the time being - I repeat that it should be made a sticky and perhaps even get a link in the homepage, but that might be asking too much.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Icarium Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 17:23
^ when you can play golf on the moon then adding another link i will think is possible or Mission Possible Cool 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheGazzardian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 18:31
Originally posted by Finnforest Finnforest wrote:

I really wish we just had a legit straight "rock" sub section where we could add everybody and write reviews for real.  The site's name and emphasis could remain prog, with a users options to present either "prog-only" or "prog and rock' albums on their main lead page.  Thus, people who want it to remain just as it currently is could have it that way, and those who want to "see" all the album reviews could select the "prog and rock" option to tailor their homepage. 

That would be so cool.  And it would get many of the bands here who fall just short of our prog criteria.  We could then rival RYM in titles and scope. 

Max?Smile



My thoughts (from the outside looking in) are that the difficulty with this wouldn't lie so much with the backend side of things so much as the content. As an example, for me to be able to review a Midnight Oil album in the PA system, someone would have to add them, add a bio, add a discography, etc., and yet that would be music that most of the audience here wouldn't care to see about, and would ultimately just clutter up the front page for guests if enabled by default. If it wasn't enabled by default, then most people probably wouldn't know to turn it on when they got their account, and so all of the effort of adding artists, albums, etc. would be viewed by very few people. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheGazzardian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 13 2010 at 12:35
Band: Swimfail (Canada, 2006-2009)

Swimfail was a Canadian project by Josiah Tobin. During its lifespan, he released 4 full length albums and two EPs, as well as an EP of scrapped material from an album that he hoped to write at some point in the future. The album's future is now in doubt, as after the release of his 2009 album, "Vermin", Josiah announced that he was ending the Swimfail project. He intends to continue making music in the future, but if he does, it will be under a different moniker.

As Josiah is the sole studio member of the band, some of the instruments are synthesized. Josiah himself plays drums, keyboards, guitar and bass. To describe the bands music would be difficult because there is a high amount of variety between the albums. Borerer, the 2006 release, was an entirely ambient soundscape. Self Centered Tales from the Project that Failed, Vermin, and Extreme Disappointment are both more industrial in their approach. Happily Destroyed EP was another ambient album, yet sounds completely different than Borerer. Lastly, Invisible Stray was an acoustic album.

Album: Extreme Disappointment (2008)

Rating: 4 stars

Prog Appeal: 2 - light appeal to progressive music listeners. 
The music does not fit into any existing prog mould, but the creativity and underlying theme should have some appeal to fans of progressive music. 


Review:
The Truth: Josiah Tobin is a friend of mine. When a friend sends you music, you listen to it once or twice, give them some feedback, and potentially never return to it. Swimfail was a different animal for me. Borerer caught my ear with "Dead Fans Don't Stand Still (Channel Song)", but it was with his second album (Self-Centered Tales From the Project That Failed) that Josiah converted me from a friend to a fan.

When Extreme Disappointment came out, I must admit to largescale excitement on my behalf, and also a bit of trepidation (this was, after all, his first full length since Self-Centered and I was concerned it wouldn't be as good). I had no need to worry, for Extreme Disappointment quickly became my favorite Swimfail album, and has refused to give up that position since.

Of all the Swimfail albums, this is the one with the most cohesive concept. Not only that, but the concept is actually quite interesting and exceedingly well done in its implementation. The concept is simple: Extreme Disappointment is an album about how a band, Swimfail, released an album, Extreme Disappointment, that was critically panned as Extremely Disappointing. But the love that Josiah put into this album doesn't end there. The album is 13 songs long, but interspersed between these 13 songs are 8 other tracks called "ED1-8". Each of these are actually about the story around the album.

To exemplify the disappointingness of the album, imaginary reviews of the album explaining how poor it is are interspersed within. But Josiah's sense of humour goes further than that - the reviews are self referential! One even says, "Josiah Tobin, the sole studio member of the one personproject, has fallen under fire from a good number of critics who seem to think that the albums name is all too appropriate, citing everything from perceived production issues to the pompousness with which the between song interludes are conducted." This humour and execution is truly excellent.

The concept doesn't end there. In fact, the concept continues to both before and after the album, with the introduction of a "villain" character - a voice that appears during some of the songs, criticizing Josiah for the methods he used and the way he structured the songs. The villain shows up first in "Fauxpas" - although that's not entirely true. in ED4, we get to hear what is presumably the person who played the villain character in a phone conversation with Josiah, where he is being told his role in the album. In ED8, the last track on the album, we even get treated to an interview between the villain's player and a female journalist, during which the actor himself actually complains about how he didn't entirely agree with the way the album was done (and even complains about the absurdity of there being an interview with the villain's voice actor at the end of the album!). As if this weren't enough of a mind-messing experience, the villain is also self-referential. In his first appearance, he criticizes Josiah for "writing in that villain buff theme to tell you off", and later in the album, he again criticizes Josiah this time for "using his own voice for everything" (for, other than the journalist at the end, every voice on the album is Josiah's own.

The villain can be, like the reviews, hilarious, but there's more to it to. Beyond the humor apparent in these characters, it also reveals a lof of the insecurities that artists go through when they release their art. Will they be criticized for the way they did things? Did they make it the best that they could? Will people like it, or will they be slammed for it? In Turqoise Shift, the last track, Josiah and the villain square off, and the villain complains to Josiah, "This is a good riff. You could have made a great song out of this. Why did you have to go and turned it into a half-assed rehash for our final confrontation, huh?", revealing yet another layer of insecurity in the artist. This additional openness makes the album a bit more open, and gives it that additional appeal.

Okay, so obviously, I really love the way that Josiah did the concept for this album. But a concept on its own does not a good album make. It requires good music to go along with it, and to be well integrated with the music. For an album that is about how terrible it is, Josiah could easily have written the worst music of his career and claimed it was "part of the project". But that would be too easy, and Josiah has too much care for what he does to hurt his art in such a way. 

The music for this album is mostly excellent, with some low points. The music is built mostly on industrial riffing guitars with programmed drums. The bass does make a few interesting appearances, most notably on "Frontman" and in the instrumental interlude of my favorite track on the album, "Another Angel". The vocals are mixed bag. Josiah makes use of cookie-monster vocals in some cases, but he also puts his voice out there in it's normal form as well. Normally I hate the cookie-monster vocals, and in some cases they do ruin the experience for me (I find "What Gives" to be almost unlistenable), but for the most part Josiah uses them in such a way that does not harm the music. 

When Josiah does sing, it works a lot better in my opinion. He has grown a lot more confident since Self-Centered Tales, and layers the vocals a lot less in this album. While his voice is not going to stun anyone, it is a case of it working very well within the music. And although Josiah does not have a huge vocal range, he is able to sing with varied tones to his voice, thus providing variety.

In terms of how well the music and the concept mesh, in this case it works quite well. The interludes do not seem to effect the flow of the album at all, and fit in quite naturally. Several of them overlay the music (some reviews, and occasionally the villain), but this works quite well, as they are talking ABOUT the music. I really love the way the album starts, as well. I know that Josiah is a fan of the game "Myst", so I imagine that the intro was somewhat inspired by the game - the way that the people in the books only seem to come through half the time before you find the pages to allow them to come through more clearly. Josiah speaks over fuzzy sounds and is cut off at various points in time. "You may feel a little disoriented on your first listening experience," Josiah warns. "This album contains unique shifts in reality that can have extremely unpredictable results on the universe contained within these recordings. You will know a reality shift has occurred when you hear this sound." (At this point, the sound plays, a reality shift occurs, and we are introduced to the first track off the album).

Okay, so I've made the point before that Josiah loves self referential humour. One last thing I'd like to point out is that he even manages to reference his bands name in the first real song, "Kid", with the line, "I know you swim, fail, and drown". Okay, not a happy line, but I also love self referential humour so it gets me every time.

As far as highlights go, the album has some strength up front, with the decent "Kid", the extremely catch "Meme", the slower and lower but amazing "FrontMan", and "Protector", but it is the second half of actual songs that I like best. Where the opening of the album is full of fast-paced, heavier tracks, by the second half Josiah has slowed down and toned it down a touch, which fits closer with my taste in music. "Hollow Pages" is an amazing track, with airy vocals and light guitars that have an almsot Space-rock feel. It is followed by my favorite track off the album, Another Angel, which features some of the most interesting lyrics on the album, as well as the most varied instrumentation. I would rate this as the "proggiest" part of the album, and I find the instrumental break i the middle of the song simple, yet hugely effective.

Wilkinson Road is an interesting track, with an underlying static sound providing a beat and nice guitars laid overtop. Overall, a really nice, simple little song with some nice clean guitar playing made a bit more unique by the unusual static sound that builds up nicely. This song sort of ties into the theme of the album too, as the singer begs, "Hey now, hey now, please don't run away - I have so many important things to say", a note about how an artist is trying to make a claim on the attention of their audience. 

ED7 shows the villain at his his most insane, before the laid back "Turqoise Shift" starts. (And although one of the "pompous-ass fake reviews" refers to it as "Avant-Gard noise experimentation", don't expect RIO/Avant prog ;) ). It is more along the lines of a clean guitar riff over more distorted instruments, with the villain and Josiah conversing about the quality of the album and the creative process. 

And yet, at the end, we even get a somewhat happy ending, when Josiah says to the villain, "Maybe people like me need to stop listening to voices like you." Maybe the artist shouldn't let all the possible insecurities that they have along the way effect their ability to release their art. But just when you think that you've found some great meaning behind the album, Josiah ends it with, "F**k the message" (to which the villain replies, "Is that it? Huh, okay").

Yet another one of my favorite non-prog albums. 

One last tidbit about the care Josiah put into every aspect of this album: If you check out the track listening, each track name is one letter longer than the one before it.

1. Kid
2. Meme
3. Bunny
4. Letter
5. Faux-Pas
6. Frontman
7. Protector
8. What Gives
9. Adumbration
10. Hollow Pages
11. Another Angel
12. Wilkinson Road
13. Turquoise Shift


Edited by TheGazzardian - February 13 2010 at 12:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote halabalushindigus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2010 at 14:50
Band:  GEORGE HARRISON   "BRAINWASHED"   (2000)
 
In this album, released in 2000, George Harrison reveals everything inside. The information one recieves could not come from a Paul McCartney or a John Lennon because they would never admit such personal information. George, here, talks about his habits, his mistakes, his cancer, and ultimately, his death.
 
I find this album to be a brave, literary stroke of penmanship.
 
On "Vatican Blues" he remarks.."so how come nobody really noticed, puff of white-smoke knocked me out"  "Looking For My Life"............." I never found it out, till I was down upon my knees, looking for my life" The news that his cancer was terminal. He talks about his adventures "on the avenue, I have been employed"  I Dare not submit all the actual text for it is not my Song. He then sees his death and says goodbye. "Run So Far" and a bidding "farewell" to his wife ."Never Get Over You". THEN THE LESSON "Between The Devil and the deep blue sea" where a wistful phrase " I should hate you....but I guess I love you" 
 
"Rocking Chair in  Hawaii reminds us "that if we don't get the picture"
R. I. P. George Harrison  Lead Guitarist - The Beatles         

assume the power 1586/14.3
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote halabalushindigus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 17 2010 at 14:49
Just bought "Red Rose Speedway" from ebay brand new remastered and I'm sooo happy. It's KICK!!
and for only for 5 bucksTongue
 
Not going to review the album here because I found out The Album was engineered by, get this,
Alan Parsons  Glyn Johns  David Hentschel   OMG!!!  that's all you need to know! as far as I'm concerned
 
Seriously, how can you go wrong with those 3 masters at the controls.Thumbs Up
 
R.I.P. Lovely LindaHeart

assume the power 1586/14.3
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