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Nucleus - Ian Carr's Nucleus: Roots CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.42 | 36 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Well, almost 4 stars, anyway!!

Still under the name Ian Carr's Nucleus, this is a much better album than its predecessor. With a altogether more cohesive line-up (although further changes lay ahead), the foundation of the group was set, Ian Carr will reuse the name Nucleus from the next album on. With Bryan Smith the only mainstay from Labyrinth and MacRae (who had guested on Belladona), Nucleus found a superb bassist in Roger Sutton and Jocelyn Pitchen as a very apt fusion guitarist. Drummer Clive Thacker is also known amongst progheads and fusion freaks, but will only remain for this album. The album is generally derived from a 40-mins composition that had been commissioned by some Music Society earlier that year. Unfortunately this album is again plagued by a cartoon-esque artwork and it's just as kitsch as Labyrinth.

Opening with the excellent steaming title-track, pouring red hot-lava in your iving room; but unfortunately followed up by a mediocre Joy Yates sung-jazz track Images (I am not a fan of vocal jazz except in the Fitzgerald-Armstrong genre), the third track is clearly a wink at Soft Machine (remember Ban Ban Caliban, from which it is derived), which was now filled up to the brim with old Nucleus-members. A Caliban filled with superb guitars (Soft Machine had no guitars at that time) from Jocelyn Pitchen and superb brass underlinings, Sutton is the man in charge. Clearly my fave track on the album.

Side 2 starts off good with the rapid-fire Whapatiti, and then slows down somewhat with that spell-binding finesse of Capricorn, but it is clearly the last two tracks are the main course. Odokamona is a surprisingly hard-sounding and riffy track (since their second album, we had not heard such hi-energy music) and ends in a superb chaos and the Southern Roots finale track being the apex of the album making you reach ecstasy, but with a hunger for more, despite an amazingly out-of-character start.

And from this original cast, more red-hot fusion will come with the following album, the first one to regain the full Nucleus name since the original two albums. More than a transition album, this is the start of the second classic Nucleus era. Ugly artwork sleeve, though! Maybe the only remaining link with the mediocre predecessor.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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