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Mainhorse - Mainhorse CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 76 ratings

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4 stars Delicious package from a typical but hugely talented heavy symph group that exemplified the craving in 1971 for both loud rawk and real music, and did justice to this band's first inception from two years earlier, the fledgling Integral Aim/Mainhorse Airline. Of course when players as Pat Moraz and Jean Ristori are involved, results will be predictably pleasing. Though some will hear distinct returns of ELP, it must be noted this band was doing the same equally exciting stuff in '69 [available as The Geneva Tapes] when Greg Lake and Keith Emerson were still just flirting with each other and in fact this dazzling outfit may have partly influenced that supergroup, not the other way 'round.

The comparisons are futile though, as this material shows more affection for the kind of let-it-all-out heavyblues of Jeff Beck Group, Faces or Zeppelin, tempered and enhanced by Moraz's commanding organs and Ristori's cello. Spitfire staccato organ riffs for the 'Introduction' with Patrick insisting we "get it together" as the boys tear it up, drawn down by a demifugue before the crashing finish. The songwriting skills of David Kubinec show up in Integral Aim bit 'Passing Years', moody and blue with a heroin John Lennon vocal. Bracing 'Such a Beautiful Day' is more prog than its meager pop arrangement suggests, sewn together with some English Beat, Ristori's overdriven low E, and Bryson Graham's extraordinary big jazz drums filling the place with thunder. Sprawler 'Pale Sky' is a solid centerpiece at ten minutes; bold shifts in time, interesting breaks that verge on space but never quite leave the atmosphere, and pleasant echoes of Steve Miller and a young Greg Lake. Very good up-tempo 'Basia', odd bossa nova 'More Tea Vicar', and 60s hard-psych in 'God' with some nice moments for guitarist Peter Lockett.

One of those records wherein the seasoned rock listener immediately recognizes why it was so good and unsuccessful, and why music that failed to capture a rock market splitting between grain whiskey and good wine can be savored decades later like an aged single-cast bourbon. Recommended.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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