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The Masters Apprentices - A Toast To Panama Red CD (album) cover


The Masters Apprentices



4.05 | 31 ratings

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4 stars A Toast To Panama Red largely follows in the same riff-based heavy rock direction as it's predecessor, but with more psychedelic elements, and more proggy grandiosity. The 2-part "Games We Play" is the major track, the opening section contrasting contemplative acoustic verses with heavy guitar passages, before we ramp up the grandiosity with a choir and narration. The sturm und drang approach is also used to good effect in "Love Is", with it's fanfare-like opening giving way to a 6/8 acoustic ballad, eventually lifted by a horn arrangement; and again in "Beneath The Sun" where a mellow ballad suddenly meets an unexpected key change and a somewhat heavier second section (this section also featuring an instrument I can't identify - sounds like a xylophone making bird calls or something...). Even the songs with no obvious change of mood seem somewhat unsettled. "Answer Lies Beyond" gets most of the way through it's running time before the main riff is finally introduced, up to that point basically jamming away on the same chord underneath a two-note melody (but if that makes it sound boring, it's not at all). I'm still trying to figure out what metre "The Lesson So Listen" is in - it sounds like the drummer is ignoring the rest of the band and keeping a straight 2/4 while the others go off on other tangents. "Thyme To Rhyme" is a pretty acoustic ballad with some very strange psychedelic noises going on in the background. "Melodies of St Kilda" is another heavy track which dramatically changes tempo halfway through". "Southern Cross" is the track that bears the most resemblance to the previous album, being a comparatively simple two chord rocker with Doug Ford given plenty of room to solo. It's overall a less accessible album than Choice Cuts - you understand why it didn't sell anywhere near as well, generate any hits, or why fewer of it's tracks are included on compilations - and in some ways a less successful album overall; but this is the band at their most ambitious and experimental, and therefore at their most interesting.
sl75 | 4/5 |


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