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


Pavlov's Dog


Crossover Prog

4.07 | 375 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars PAMPERED MENIAL has reaped a lot of praise on this site, and deservedly so. It is definitely a (minor) classic of 1970s prog. Even if you are into symphonic prog in general, your appreciation of the album will depend on your reaction to David Surkamp's lead vocals. They certainly are unusual, but if you're open-minded (and isn't that what Prog Archives is all about?) they will grow on you. Hell, some people enjoy Chinese opera (I certainly do) or even that guy Cedric from the Mars Volta! It's easy to make your mind up: this site wil let you listen to "Late November", perhaps MENIAL's most haunting track. If "Late November" is not for you, forget about the Pavlovs - no harm done!

But if you can cope with Surkamp, here's an entire CD of passionate, mellotron-drenched and guitar-driven sympho, which will remind you, at times, of early Crimso, of Jethro Tull at their most autumnal, and even of Genesis' "Mad Man Moon". It's an extraordinary mixture of delicacy, force, pathos and schmaltz... Hard to believe that even on their debut album Pavlov's Dog sounded so together and reached such peaks - something they'd never achieve again. As early as their second album, there was to be a disastrous falling-off in quality.

On PAMPERED MENIAL, however, everything works: dainty piano-playing lends a lot of grace to the music, the Martin Barre-like guitar breaks are inspired, the violin and occasional harpsichord both sound delightful, and as for the vocals... oh man, I play this music once a year at most, but on "Subway Sue" for example, where Surkamp really goes over the top, isn't that a most incredible moment, a superb "coup de theatre"? What a pity the Pavlovs never scaled these heights again.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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