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Sandrose - Sandrose CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.58 | 104 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars In short: interesting, Mellotron-loaded and charmingly vintage (ie. slightly worn-out sounding) progressive rock, but an awful female singer! The latter is the sole reason I'm now finally removing the CD from my collections. Frankly I've hardly ever listened to it since I wrote the prog book chapter about it in July 2012. The CD edition that I have (Lion Production, 2011) includes a long article and band photos.

SANDROSE, as a symphonic prog band with a distinctive female voice singing in English (very rare in the french scene), could be compared to e.g. AFFINITY, BABE RUTH and perhaps most of all to the Dutch EARTH & FIRE. The mellow sound contains a lot of Mellotron, often reminiscent of Gabriel-era GENESIS. The composers, guitarist Jean-Pierre Alarcen and keyboardist Henri Garella, had an instrumental band called Eden Rose (their sole album being On the Way to Eden, 1970). Then they met the Russian-born Rose (!) Podwojny and renamed the group as Sandrose. OK, she can sing also decently enough, definitely not a great voice even then, and her shaky vibrato is ugly. But when she raises her voice in a scream-like manner, as she often does, it sounds pretty annoying to my ears. Worse than SHIRLEY BASSEY, and that's a big statement. (I actually like entertainment vocal music with all the evergreens and emotional impact, but Bassey I have to pass due to her vocal style.)

So, Rose Podwojny's vocals ruin many songs that I'd otherwise would enjoy. The delicate 'Never Good at Sayin' Good-Bye' with all the Mellotrons in the chorus is one of such songs. The 7-minute 'To Take Him Away' is a highlight, or would be with a good vocalist. 'Summer is Yonder' has a beautiful, dreamy atmosphere but sadly there's that screamy voice. Good grief.

Happily there are two instrumentals. 'Metakara' is a jazzy, fast one. The 11-minute, very proggy 'Underground Session' is without a doubt the whole album's highlight. It makes me give the third star. "Sandrose" has become a classic album. I'm not saying it wouldn't deserve it, but I advice to approach it with incorruptible ears. Even if you didn't hate the vocals like me, the compositions may lack something too.

Matti | 3/5 |


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