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Abel Ganz - Shooting Albatross CD (album) cover

SHOOTING ALBATROSS

Abel Ganz

 

Neo-Prog

4.02 | 181 ratings

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The Doctor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is my first experience with this band, but on the strength of this album, I've gotten ahold of two of their other albums as well. This is high on my list of favorite albums from 2008 and has gotten a lot of airtime in my cd player over the last few months. There is quite a bit of folkish guitar and vocals mixed with symphonic keyboard stylings. If you liked Trespass, there is a lot here to love. While overall quieter and less angst-ridden than the classic Genesis album, the combination of folk and symphonic is hard to miss. This is mostly an album of epics, with 3 quite long songs, and two shorter songs. In spite of this, none of the 3 epics seem forced, rather the songs seem to be only as long as is necessary for the complete development of the musical ideas presented.

Looking for a Platform is the first of three epic length tracks on the album clocking in at 15+ minutes. It starts off with a really nice keyboard melody and leads into some cool (almost Fish-like, without being too derivative) vocals from the bass-player and mainman Carter. Some awesome symphonic keyboard work, including a great piano solo in the middle, from Montgomery and Carter make this song an instant classic prog track.

So Far is the long song on the album at over 23 minutes with Alan Reed taking over the vocals and what a fantastic job he does on this. His voice is a lot mellower here than on his work with Pallas, but at the same time, it is just as emotional and powerful as it is with his other band. Very nice classical and accoustic guitar work on this song too and again some great keyboard work, topped off with some pretty cool lead guitar work by Magenta's Chris Fry. Not to mention some violin, recorder, mandolin and banjo. Overall, this is one of my favorite 20-minute plus songs from the last several years.

Sheepish is a bit more agressive than the previous two epics, but this still isn't heavy by any stretch. But the guitars are a bit more crunchy, the drums a bit more agressive, and even at times a bit more agression in the vocals (from Carter again). On the other hand, at times it also has a floating/ethereal quality to the music. Both sides capture the best of a great progressive rock song.

Ventura is listed as a 14 minute song, but in fact it is two songs divided by a few minutes of silence. The first song is Ventura which continues in the folkish guitar meets symphonic keyboard vein. Vocals here are from Mick McFarlane and really bring out the folkishness in this album as he wouldn't sound too out of place as a member of Jefferson Airplane or CSN. Nice keyboard and then lead guitar outro here. The second song is untitled. And almost sounds like a lullaby in its dreaminess, with Carter back on vocals for a mellow, spacey excursion that wouldn't be too bad to listen to as you fall asleep (and I don't mean that in a bad way at all).

These guys really made a strong comeback and I'm eager to hear their other works. It's powerful and emotional music and I know it will get many more plays in my cd player over many years to come. This is highly recommended for any fan of classic prog. 4.5 stars really!

The Doctor | 4/5 |

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