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Greenslade - Bedside Manners Are Extra CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 192 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is Greenslade's apex, and I'm not alone in thinking this way. Some of the most prominent Greenslade numbers ever written are right here, and even the interplaying between all four musicians is tighter and more cohesive than in their impressive debut album. There is also a productive expansion of Greenslade's sonic pallet, due to the inclusion of synth (by Lawson) and an enhancement in the role of mellotron, a role that proves quite relevant in many passages trhoughout the album. Things get started quite smoothly with the namesake prog ballad, whose first lines on piano are almost exactly the same as the ones that marked the final passages in the debut album's closing epic 'Sundance'. Well, 'Beside Manners.' is less epic and more reflective, with an unmistakable touch of irony in both the lyrics and Lawson's singing, particularly the sing- along choruses. The main basis played on grand and electric pianos is craftily adorned by mellotron orchestrations and successive solos on synthesizer and RMI electric harpsichord - not amazing precisely, but an attractive opener. Things really start to get typically Greenslade-esque from track 2. 'Pilgrims Progress' is one of the most emblematic instrumentals in Greenslade's career, and also one of the finest Dave Greenslade compositions ever: its various effective motifs and contrasting moods fluidly interconnected, the powerful performances of a well adjusted ensemble, the colourful keyboard resources that are displayed with total splendour and excitement, never getting too obtuse, always keeping a clear focus on the melodic lines - all these things make 'Pilgrims Progress' the most outstanding number in the album. But the other two instrumentals are nothing to be dismissed, not at all. 'Drum Folk' gives room for an excellent two-part drum solo masterfully delivered by McCulloch (shouldn't this guy be mentioned more often in prog forums and polls?), but there's more to it than that. The introductory ethereal organ/mellotron layers prepare the path for an effective prog- jazzy main motif in which the Hammond organ and the electric piano complement each other beautifully, while the rhythm section keeps an immaculately pace for the complex time signatures. Between both parts of the drum solo, comes a captivating Pink Floydian slow section: the mellotron flute intro is simply delicious (somewhere I read that the mellotron flute is perhaps the most beautiful keyboard sound ever, and I do tend to agree every time I listen to this brief part of 'Drum Folk'), and so are the organ harmonies added soon after, as well as the amazing RMI solo that emulates a bluesy guitar. The brief reprise of the main motif that serves as a coda ends the track with a proper sense of energy evidently developed in McCulloch's featured interventions. While not being as cohesive as the aforementioned instrumental, its epic orientation is certainly well accomplished. The last instrumental is 'Chalkhill', written by Lawson and Reeves: similar in structure to 'Pilgrims Progress', it also captures the prototypical Greenslade sound at its best. The remaining sung tracks are also very effective and powerful. The blues- rock infected 'Time to Dream' and the jazzier 'Sunkissed You're Not' are based on catchy melodies which are given an added touch of complexity through the use of clever arrangements and the layout of rooms for soloing. Excellent to masterful - 4 stars.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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