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Klaatu - Hope CD (album) cover

HOPE

Klaatu

 

Prog Related

3.96 | 141 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars For a long time, I (and many others) was terribly deceived at this album since by now it was obvious Klaatu were not The Beatles, and this album was not really rock as there were too many passages downright symphonic, or other kind of music, but not rock or pop as such. While I (and a few others) stayed blind to the merits of this album - it stayed un-played on my shelves, just keeping it because of the superb artwork sleeve - I finally caught on some six or seven years after its release. This is mainly due to the fact that the album is definitely not as immediately pleasing, and can be a little dense from the outside.

Nowadays I can tell you that as teen-agers we make quick and unsubstantiated judgments, dismissing such outstanding works as this masterpiece, but the fact that progressive rock and concept album were quickly becoming unfashionable at the time of this release. The fact that I was 14, getting into my metal period (Rainbow, Priest etc..) and that punk (Stranglers and Clash) were peaking made me forget quickly this bizarre album. Even if there are still some slight Beatles-influences (mostly on the first two tracks), this album is an awesome chef d'oeuvre in songwriting, musical execution and very deeply personal, showing that these guys were just as worthy of the group they were confused with. Actually if you could blend The Beatles, Queen and 10 CC together, you might just amount to something like 60% of the worth of this album alone.

Based upon the concept (already developed in their previous 3:47 EST album) of the Klaatu planet, its inhabitants had developed sophisticated communications much the same way on our Earth today. Politzania was a country that believed itself to be superior to others and open warfare nearly but all destroyed the planet as a result, blowing fragments into open space. Only surviving Klaatu people a lonely lighthouse keeper keep the laser beam working to warn of the danger. His message for other planets, after the disaster of his, is: HOPE!!! The superb artwork is in my top 10 artwork and certainly fits the music perfectly, both in majesty and in excellence - you can see the link to their debut album on the cover of this one with the "sun" in the foreground.

To describe the songs individually will be too long or too complicated as there are so many things happening in this album, to even mention the first 10% ? Just know that most of the second side is symphonic orchestra dominated and absolutely superb. Those of you that have read my many reviews know that I am rather wary of such (often ridicule) concept album and furthermore incorporating classical music, but here, this is undisputably a masterpiece of the genre, a flabbergasting and awesome progressive gem, too often forgotten. The music ranges from Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody in a operatic passage of Loneliest Creature) to the implacable beauty of 10 CC harmonies, the synthesisers are mostly the ones from the first part of the 70's, their musical dynamic range is close to Yes or Genesis and the music is as theatrical as Ange or Gabriel could have ever imagined it to be. These three guys blended classical musical and rock instrumentation so well, that it sends Emerson, Wakeman or Lord back to school. Not everything is perfect on the album, but whatever flaws there are they are minor and few (the end movement of Long Live Politzania should have been kept symphonic rather than have the trio have a go at it), and Terry Brown's production (of Rush fame) is simply perfect.

With such a complex album to promote, it was also impossible for this still faceless and nameless band to go on tour and reproduced such an uncanny oeuvre without costing millions, so Klaatu remained in anonymity, for yet another album. With Third Army Suit, they will show their faces and names (both hidden in the artwork and in the inner sleeve) and to everybody's amazement, they were only a trio. Unfortunately, the music was not quite as good as on this album. But Hope is an apex in terms of concept albums and is a must for every proghead.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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