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Stardrive - Stardrive  CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.39 | 5 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars It's sad to have to say that some listeners will find that `Stardrive' from 1974 is best enjoyed as something of a guilty pleasure! Probably too upbeat, kitschy and quirky to ever be taken totally seriously by us stuffy prog rock fans, the band played a very joyous kind of spacey, groovy electronic/fusion music that almost sounds like it could be Emerson, Lake and Palmer if they decided to release a funky instrumental album and have a sense of humour that didn't revolve around silly throwaway bouncers and sheriffs! Usually up-tempo, frequently keyboard based, there's almost the slightest Zeuhl sound even, due to the punchy bass playing and repetitive snappy drumming. There's plenty of kinetic jazz-fusion electric guitar displays too, and a drifting ambient quality to the deep-space electronica, all worked into extended improvised passages.

Housed in a supremely unhip sleeve, with an almost day-glo image of the band on the front cover and a very 70's image of keyboard player Robert Mason looking the total mack on the back, the first impression someone would make of the LP is a disco album! Actually, even the vendor I bought it off assumed the same thing, looking at me with disbelief as I was buying it! However, closer inspection reveals it dates from 1974 (this even surprised me at first), and it luckily displays some talented musicians really giving it their all, while always retaining a sense of fun and positivity.

It's very difficult to pigeonhole exactly what style Stardrive we're trying to align themselves with, as they seemed happy to dart all over the place! Although frequently keyboard driven like the experimental electronic artists like Tangerine Dream one minute, seconds later the band would launch into E.L.P styled fanfare moog explosions, ever changing guitar-driven dynamics like Finch, technical displays Brand X-style or a hypnotic Magma-like trance. There's a nice cool funk strut worked into the constant grooves, with thoughtful electronic textures to serve as a respite from the more attacking pieces.

Despite sometimes sounding a little too upbeat or occasionally even a little campy (some listeners will find the album downright cheesy and annoying), there is no faulting the talents of the musicians on display here. If you see it for a good price (and you can probably come across it for a few dollars), why not take a shot on it? One thing it sure has going for it, despite the little influences mentioned above, is that the mix the band present on `Stardrive' makes it sound like no other prog LP! It's one album that always leaves me impressed and never fails to make me smile, with a good energy and positive cosmic vibrations all around!

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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