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McLuhan - Anomaly CD (album) cover

ANOMALY

McLuhan

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.20 | 45 ratings

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Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Of all the horn rock bands that appeared in the US and UK at the end of the '60s/beginning of the '70s, this is by far the finest act I have ever heard! McLuhan hailed from Chicago, just like the famous band that bore the name of said city. Unlike Chicago (the band), McLuhan clearly didn't have a pop-oriented approach, nor did they sound like they were interested in scoring pop hits. They have a genuine prog approach which is something you couldn't say of most of those other bands. There's a clear UK feel to the music, although the vocals do have an American accent. Lots of amazing horn passages that leave Chicago in the dust, tons of great jazzy and proggy passages, frequently with an ominous feel. The organ playing seems straight out of the early UK prog book (none of the organ playing is flashy like Emerson did). While Chicago is always brought up with bands that use a brass section in a rock setting, McLuhan clearly didn't sound like those guys. There's elements of King Crimson in the music, but of that band's more mellow material (such as Lizard and Islands) and a bit of Zappa's big band jazz albums (Waka Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo). "The Monster Bride" is a wonderful opening piece, I especially like the ominous organ intro. Here you get to see what the band is made of. Plenty of horn passages, they even quote the famous MGM horn fanfare theme song. There's also a nice flute passage that later gets repeated as a horn passage. Also there's some disturbing spoken dialog as well. "Spiders (In Neals Basement)" again shows how American horn rock and British prog can go together. "Witches Theme and Dance" features some really interesting use of slide whistle and synthesizer. "A Brief Message from Your Local Media" includes some quotes from Leonard Bernstein's "America", spoken narration about Henry Ford and how the assembly line helped produce mass-produced automobiles and make them available to the general public. There's more plenty of great proggy passages and that "Elecric Man" bit has a bit of a Beatles feel to it. To me this album just totally blew me away. It's really the best of both worlds: the kind of brass rock as pioneered by Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears (and British equivalents like IF, The Greatest Show on Earth, Manfred Mann Chapter III, etc.), and of prog rock, which will keep fans of both happy.
Progfan97402 | 5/5 |

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