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Embryo - Bad Heads and Bad Cats CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.82 | 23 ratings

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2 stars After the unpopular but IMO very interesting experimentation with "new wave" sounds on "Surfin", Embryo left innovation to another part of the world and they returned to their known world-fusion sound. But it didn't sparkle with the creative fire of their better days and they also traded in their quirky vocal style for more conformist and accessible soul and jazz singing. Quite a loss I'd say.

The opener starts with rather cliché piano jazz, Latin influences and vocals come in later on. It all reminds me of Santana's heyday, which is not an inspiring thing to do on 1976. The song isn't bad, just bland, missing the unique qualities I expect from Embryo. "Nina Kupenda" is much better and even features the last remnant of those loved kraut vocals in the opening part. A long jam follows in the middle section, where Embryo tries out more classic jazz material. It's not as bad as the calypso-drenched album that followed but it's not too remarkable either. Still, it gets really on fire near the end and it's one of the highlights here.

The title track is a smooth jazz song, not bad but too predictable, and disappointing from a band like Embryo. The album struggles forward with two forgettable easy-listening funk-fusion tracks: "Road Song" and "After The Rain". The mysterious "Klondyke Netti" on the other hand is what we want from Embryo: experimental, smoldering with tension, spacious and infectious. The 17 minute bonus track features lengthy solos from Bunka and Hofmann on guitar and sax respectively. It's a good bonus, better then most songs of the original album.

After doing things differently on "Surfin", the band folded back on its known recipes here. Unfortunately the quality isn't entirely back to the normal standard. The lengthier pieces are deserving but the tendency towards formulaic fusion and more accessibility aren't entirely a success. With the next album the decline would continue and the band would hit rock bottom. 2.5 stars.

Bonnek | 2/5 |


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