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Audience - The House on the Hill CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 128 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars I would go near that House on the Hill

Without a doubt, Audience's finest album, and a worthy addition to any prog rock collection to boot.

The opening "Jackdaw" is a fine blend of jazz and rock influences, with Howard Werth's vocals ranging from an almost threatening tone, to a sort of hammed up vaudeville as he sings ".. might as well, rent-a-tent". The heavy sax of the main theme gives way to a fine instrumental passage led off by soft Gabriel like flute solo, moving through fuzz guitar, and sax. A very powerful and striking opening track.

"You're not smiling" and "I had a dream" are more commercial but nonetheless highly melodic tracks, the former incorporating a sing-along refrain, while the latter has a beautifully haunting melody. Werth's sometimes under appreciated voice suits these two tracks ideally. He can at times attempt to insert too much of his own personality in a song, but here he plays it straight, and to great effect.

The title track is a wonderfully "spooky" piece. You can sense the "fear" in Werth's voice as he sings "I wouldn't go near that house on the hill" (vibrato on the word hill!). Between the song and the complementary picture on the sleeve, you can't help but be reminded of the house in the Hitchcock film "Psycho". As with "Jackdaw" there is a lengthy instrumental section led off by flute. Unfortunately this degenerates a bit with a brief drum solo and aimless jazz influenced section, but when the pace picks up again, the quality is also restored.

The remaining tracks struggle to justify sitting along the fine pieces discussed above They include a sub-standard cover of the classic "I put a spell on you" (for me, Creedence Clearwater Revival came up with the definitive rock cover of that song), and a couple of other throw away pieces. There is however enough top quality music here to satisfy most who hear the album, a fine offering indeed.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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