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The Doors - The Doors CD (album) cover


The Doors



4.33 | 709 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars The doors' debut album is one album that is undissociable from the LA scene but also from the passage of Pop to Rock music. From its first hit Break On Through (full of energy, this two-minutes single is one of the garage-band rock-style that was the craze in LA) to the well-named epic The End, this album takes you for a roller-coaster ride that will dazzle and baffle you (especially back then) and take every single possible curve as not a detour but a real must-go-thru.

The quartet is not really blessed with above-average musicianship, but their songwriting is absolutely fascinating (their career throughout) and if Manzarek's Continental Vox organ is not a Hammond, his playing sure made the instrument's moment of glory- especially that he was doubling on bass pedals. While Krieger's style of guitars was very chameleon-like (always choosing discretion over histrionics, Densmore sober drumming was always appropriate,, the key of The Doors' success was Morrison's crystal-clear vocals as well as his impeccable delivery and an uncanny sense of drama both in his poems (the man had intense literary powers) and in his stage appearances - at least until his drug problems did not overtake his performances.

Yes, the group's performance on tracks such as Soul Kitchen (Manzarek's organs are chillingly beautiful), on Crystal Ship (again with Manzarek's piano intervention) and Alabama Song are perfectly laying out the group's wide spectrum, but the whole thing is not letting us suspect what's on the other side of the record. And judging by the first minute or so of the first track on the second side Light My Fire, you'd swear that you're in for more of what you heard, but by the third minute of this scorching track, you just know something special is brewing once Manzarek's already-long organ break cedes into a lengthy guitar solo. Krieger's moment of glory on this album is never about histrionics, but rather intelligent building up (much like Hackett on Firth Of Fifth some years later) and by the time Morrison takes over the reins anymore, the track can only close. Of course, the group's foundations were also in blues as will Back Door Man indicate, but if you listen to Krieger and Manzarek soft underlinings, you just know that they've got something special. After the gloomy End Of The Night, and a forgettable Take It As It Comes, the album is reaching its apex with the lengthy The End and its Indian sitar- laced, doomy and gloomy organs and Morrison's unsettling lyrics, while Densmore's drumming provides also its share of drama. Of course the two climaxes are the centre of the centrepiece, especially the first one with the famous Oedipus theme leading to a bedevilled and wild semi-improv where all three musicians shine. As the climax disappears suddenly, the track can only pick up again to die again soon after.

While this debut album is an integral part of rock's history, it is rather less obvious as to how it helped out prog to come of age. But by adding The Doors to Jefferson Airplane, Love, Iron Butterfly, HP Lovecraft, the Collectors, Quicksilver's Messenger Service and many more (let alone Zappa and Beefheart), you'll understand how the West Coast Psych was completely instrumental in Prog's development. Yes in the late 60's, the US were certainly giving the English a run for their money even sometimes preceding them.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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