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Triumvirat -  La Carte CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

1.72 | 111 ratings

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1 stars Triumverat was unfortunately losing their progressive edge and the record label was pressuring Hans-Jurgen Fritz (keyboards) to take the band to even a more radio-friendly sound. The band had gone through an almost complete change of personnel after both Frangerberg (bass) and Hans Bathelt (drums, lyrics) left the band leaving Fritz as the only original member left. Just like Keith Emerson and ELP, Triumverat just couldn't exist without Fritz, and he caved into the pressure from the record label. The album "Pompeii" was released in 1977 and would be the last album to have any semblance of progressive style.

By the time "A la Carte" was released in 1978, there was hardly anything left related to the original band. Except for Fritz, the record company had pretty much taken over and ended up contracting all of the other musicians leaving Fritz with no power forcing him to accept their choices. Barry Palmer, the vocalist on "Pompeii" was replaced by David Hanselmann, Werner Kopal was contracted as the bassist taking over for Dieter Petereit and Matthias Holtmann was hired to take over for drummer Curt Cress. Once again, the band experiences a complete makeover. At least an orchestra and chorus was hired to try to give some backbone to the album, and the result is a top heavy array of musicians standing on top of a very weak and unstable foundation that was destined to fail. What a waste of talent, time and people.

There are no suites or concepts making up this album. It's made up of individual songs that are not tied together at all. Right from the beginning, the sweet saccharine sound of pop blasts your senses with offensively simple music. The Emerson-like keyboards are gone exchanged by cookie cutter electric piano passages and typical rock/pop clichs. And the songs aren't even catchy or interesting at all. The music has hardly any passion even with the forced screaming on "Late Again". The first side of the album is just filled with poppy, yet flat songs that end up all sounding the same, even with the addition of extra background singers and trumpet on "Jo Ann Walker", which tries to get the listener's attention with a story that, frankly, no one cares about. The only thing that breaks up the monotony of the first side is a schmaltzy, over-produced ballad called "For You". Oh my God, it is soooooo bad that it's almost hilarious.

Side 2 starts off with a bad disco rip-off "I Don't Even Know Your Name" complete with brass that sounds like it came off of a conveyor belt that gets even worse when it tries to become a rumba in the instrumental break. The closest thing to any semblance of their past is on "A Bavarian in New York" with some great organ and synth sections, but the vocals (more forced screaming) and brass is so bad that you probably won't even notice. The only instrumental follows with "Original Soundtrack from the Movie 'O.C.S.I.D.'" which will remind you of a disco tornado, that's not a good thing if you were wondering. "Darlin'" is an over-produced cover of The Beach Boys song. The miserable collection of songs ends with "Goodbye", another awful ballad.

This record is a perfect example of what happens when corporate takes over for a band and ruins it completely. No one was interested in this sound and the album sold poorly. Yet, no one learned their lesson from this failure as there was one more attempt at pop stardom with an even worse album to follow. It seems this band was following the same formula as what their main influence followed. "A la Carte" is Triumverat's "Love Beach", but even worse. At least ELP tried to add something that resembled prog with their "Officer and A Gentleman" suite, but for "A la Carte" there is absolutely nothing to hold on to unless you have a desire to hear some really bad pop/disco/commercial music. It's a sad ending for what was once a proud and excellent band. I can't even see how this album would appeal to even die-hard fans and it isn't worth anything to collectors, so I will proclaim this one for completionists only, unless you are interested in seeing just how bad it can get. If you see this one walking down the street, walk on by.

TCat | 1/5 |


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