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Pavlov's Dog - Pampered Menial CD (album) cover

PAMPERED MENIAL

Pavlov's Dog

 

Crossover Prog

4.07 | 365 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars One of those very cherished debut album and certainly a real pearl in the Archives, Pavlov's debut is one of those records that almost everyone should have, be they progheads or not. Out of the blue, the US Midwest actually pulled two real surprises as in the heartland of Country Rock, and Country-western, came Kansas and this completely unexpected Pavlov's Dog. Needless to say that Surkamp's incredible voice is the main asset, but it is hardly the only one. This is an album laced with loads of keyboards of every kind, but although the main feature, they never suffocate the music even if the mellotrons are mixed-in very LOUD. Don't look for long epics on this slice of vinyl, as the longest track is just above the 5 min track (actually the record is fairly short, clocking in at less than 34 min), but Surkamp's histrionics on vocals coupled with lush mellotron waves, underlined by a cool violin and Hamilton's organs, synths and pianos, provide all the necessary drama a proghead is searching for.

This is maybe one of the most accomplished songwriting effort as there is so much happening on the different songs that you could not fit one more note without overflowing the bucket - well they are 7 in P'sD - and destroy the fragile beauty of this album. Most of you have heard Julia, but as you go down the rest of the album, there should at least two more tracks every proghead above 35, will have heard: Surkamp's voice almost resembling Grace Slick in the Jefferson Starship (and believe me this is one hell of a compliment) in Late November, and the violin/mellotron/guitar short duel in Song Dance should ring a bell, too. But all is not perfect on the album as I find that the pure RnR number Natchez Trace has a strange but not entirely convincing mellotron overdose (except in the middle break). One of the other slight remark I have, is that the quick succession of those relatively short tracks is rather diluting the contents a bit, as I would've rather they exploit some tracks/ideas to the fullest, something they only seem to achieve on Preludin/Of Once And Future Kings duo (7 min combined), but by that time, the record is almost over! Frustrating is it not?

The following album At The Sound Of The Bell is usually also very appreciated by progheads, but my opinion is that it does not come to the waist-height of this one, and if it was not for the two lengthier tracks (both just above the 5 min mark too) and Bill Bruford's guest appearance, it would not even reach ankle-height. Back to this album though, I always wondered if this album did not have loads of mellotrons, would it be so much appreciated by us progheads? Not that sure!!! But there are plenty of shivers on this album.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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