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Eloy - Floating CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.75 | 421 ratings

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3 stars In the 18 months elapsed since recording their second album Inside, Eloy had exchanged bass players - Stöcker was replaced by Jansen - but the central core sound was still in evidence. For Floating, their third album recorded early in 1974, organ and guitar would continue to compete for attention, but now the band was more refined in all areas: better playing and singing, more developed Symphonic-style arrangements, recording techniques are more polished, and they play together as a tighter unit. Greater quality but inevitably less primeval oomph!

Perhaps it is significant that Floating was recorded at the same time as Bornemann produced an album for Heavy Rock band The Scorpions. It may be pure coincidence, but Eloy too would record much heavier material than on Inside. While a stylistic family resemblance with Inside is quite evident, and so remain the Pink Floyd and Hawkwind analogies, three of Floating's five tracks could best be described as Heavy-Rock Prog, likened to contemporary Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. Production values too, while transparent and detailed, favour a heavier feel and many of the riffs and guitar phrasings are structured more as heavy rock than the simpler form of space-jams.

As before, the band play principally as a straight guitar/organ/bass/drums four-piece, with some uncredited synth work on Plastic girl as the only digression. This time Bornemann's guitar has the edge as the lead instrument, both a cause and effect of the heavier direction, with some seriously good riff work. The solos are still there of course, but now a little more selective and structured than before, though I could have done without the pair of short drum solos. Special mention must also be made of Jansen's exemplary bass playing, both melodic and powerful as the need arises, and with a lovely rounded tone.

The key song on this album is The Light From Deep Darkness, a stunning 14½ minute masterpiece of Space Rock as good as the very best. It has everything: chiming guitars; big organ chords; a brilliant early groove with a wonderful fat rubberband guitar/bass riff; changes of mood including an ethereal section with bass taking the lead for a while; some heavy rock riffing; and its crowning glory - an ecstatic full-on Hawkwind-like trance-inducing space-jam complete with weird Syd Barrett guitar effects and driving pulsating riff. Five minutes of sheer bliss which demands to be heard very loud!

The other standout song is Plastic Girl which settles into a smooth delicate riff with muted toms and organ before abruptly crashing into a noisy full band arrangement with a strange 'speeded up' organ sound swamping Bornemann's vocals. It too slips into a superior hypnotic groove before finishing gently as it began. Madhouse is the best of the rest as its heavy riffing gives way to an instrumental workout featuring a chugging guitar rhythm using what sounds like an Echoplex, but no keyboards.

The keyword for this album clearly is "heavy", yet this doesn't mask its obvious Prog Rock qualities. Had Castle In The Air and Floating been up to the same high standard as the other tracks then it might have received an unconditional recommendation. The Y2K remastered edition continues the style of packaging from Inside and contains three bonus tracks recorded live in September 1973, but the quality is only so-so and is only really of value to committed fans.

Joolz | 3/5 |


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