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Eloy - Ocean 2 - The Answer CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.75 | 274 ratings

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4 stars In retrospect, all is clear. While Tides Return Forever was a relatively strong Eloy album, Frank Bornemann sensed the end of Eloy was just around the bend and he wanted to go out with a bang. He deduced that he needed to attach the modern Eloy sound to their past glories, and what better choice for reference but the classic "Ocean". Jurgen Rosenthal had provided the lyrical concept for that recording, which had explained the fall of Atlantis as an allegory for the cold war. Bornemann reasoned that nothing in the 1977 effort gave ideas as to the way out of the quagmire, so in part 2 he would do so. This is the sort of ambition and pretension that fans expect and appreciate from Eloy.

Somewhere between conception and reality things got derailed a bit and, analog keys notwithstanding, the album is much more modern than vintage Eloy. If there is any reference to past musical triumphs it would be to Planets, which is all to the good anyway. It is probably the most dynamic and varied of the latter day Eloy efforts, with songs of varying lengths, dreamy atmospheres, metallic forays, and spaced out trips sometimes all in the same track.

"Between Future and Past" is a very Floydian opening instrumental that leads skillfully into "Ro Setau" certainly one of the highlights as Frank's vocals are expertly treated and the choral buildup is wondrous. "Paralyzed Civilization" and "Awakening of Consciousness" are energized versions of some of the lesser material from earlier 1990s Eloy. Another improvement in both songs is the more mellow and spacey middle sections with really sweet synth sounds and again a suitably understated vocal performance by Bornemann.

Of the two epics, "Reflections from Spheres Beyond" is the better one as it explores a number of themes with poise and restraint, one of which is a recurring melody from paralyzed Civilization, in a slowed down more sinister style, and another a vocoder led section. The closer, "The Answer", has its moments but is generally a little too bombastic and overly long for the innovation it brings to the table. The two gentle shorter songs "Serenity" and "Waves of Intuition" both have an otherworldly beauty and feature fine almost banjo like electric guitar and a wash of keyboards. Superior in fact to some of the late 1970s work, especially weaker tracks on "Silent Cries...."

When really considered as objectively as possibly by a fan for many years, Ocean 2 is Eloy's best album since "Time To Turn" which appeared 16 years earlier. It might not warrant a full 4 stars but, as the ultimate achievement in the modern Eloy style, it is closer to 4 than 3, and that's good enough for me, especially since it might well be the end of a remarkable journey.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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