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Pavlov's Dog - Pampered Menial CD (album) cover


Pavlov's Dog


Crossover Prog

4.07 | 365 ratings

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4 stars Pampered Menial was the first album from Pavlov's Dog and was released in 1974. A difficult album to categorise, the songs are melodic and tastefully played and arranged. Elements of Symphonic Prog are present and the occasional more riffy moment. They're all under 5 minutes in length (apart from one) so no long instrumental workouts and in the main not particularly complex either, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. However the band are still all fine musicians and play well throughout and can handle more technical arrangements if called for like on the short instrumental Preludin. The sound is augmented by the use of Violin and occasional Flute alongside the usual array of instruments you would expect most bands in the Prog field in the seventies to use.

What might be a major stumbling block for most people though is the high pitched and warbling tones of Vocalist/Guitarist David Surkamp; they're definitely an acquired taste. Anyone finding it hard to adjust to Geddy Lee's voice on the earlier Rush albums will certainly not warm to this guy. I've always been open to someone who sounds a bit different and feel he works well with the band though.

The material is strong throughout the album. Excellent Guitar playing with some lovely fluid soloing and wonderful acoustic Piano alongside Violin can be heard on tracks from the beautiful melody of album opener Julia, the heavier side of the band on Song Dance and Natchez Trace to the haunting Episode to name a few highlights. One of my favourite moment comes last though where the aforementioned short instrumental Preludin runs into final track, Of Once and Future Kings where the band get an opportunity to stretch out a bit.

Anyone who enjoys seventies Prog looking for something a bit different could do worse than check out this excellent band.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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