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Pulsar - Pollen CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 111 ratings

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3 stars Pulsar was another continental band that got a late jump in the Progressive Rock derby, releasing their debut album in 1975, not long before the Golden Age of Prog began showing its first signs of rust. Even so it was probably too soon for the group to enter a recording studio. At this stage of their musical evolution they were still a couple of years and at least one session away from producing a masterpiece.

The album is maybe too easy to criticize in retrospect. Keep in mind this was a young and talented band, struggling with their footing at the starting gate. The result was a pleasant but undistinguished collection of nebulous, Floydian space rock, infused with a drifting Gallic romanticism, best heard in Roland Richard's pastoral flute and the Hackett-like guitar sustains of Gilbert Gandil.

Later albums would raise the style to the acme of Symphonic Rock perfection. But this first effort was the cut-rate, economy model, hampered by lazy songwriting and by its typically unsophisticated mid- '70s production, limited to an overgenerous application of reverb and the occasional sound effect: thunder, ominous footsteps, and something not unlike a toy train whistle, oddly interrupting the title track. Listeners of a certain age will smile when hearing the cosmic poetry recitation in "Puzzle/Omen" (" we are, prisoners of unknown time and souls..."), and enjoy an affectionate laugh at the cybernetic narration of "Le Cheval de Syllogie", thankfully declaimed in the band's native tongue.

The ambition was clearly there, but lacked a basic grasp of large-scale musical structure and design: even the mini-epic title track is almost impossible to remember in detail afterward. A bigger budget and better equipment might have made a difference, but what the band really needed was a little more time to mature and develop. With hindsight, the album can still be enjoyed as a necessary prelude to upcoming classics, and as a crudely framed but picturesque snapshot of European Prog Rock near the mid-decade height of its popularity.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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