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Earth And Fire - Reality Fills Fantasy CD (album) cover


Earth And Fire


Symphonic Prog

2.16 | 38 ratings

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2 stars Earth and Fire's sixth album was a pretty big departure for them. After enjoying pretty good sales of their first few albums, the band struggled for a couple of years, apparently hitting a commercial low point with Gate to Infinity (an album I happen to love). Disco and Europop had already started to infiltrate the band's sound, but with this 1979 album they went headfirst into commercially-minded pop music. If the very thought of that turns you off, chances are you won't be very sympathetic to this album. But put it side by side with, say, Boz Scaggs' "Silk Degrees", and you'll see it holds its own pretty well in that arena.

And this approach worked for the band. They earned the biggest hit of their career in "Weekend", a track that's admittedly hard to stomach -- very light, fluffy faux-reggae with some of the sappiest lyrics you will ever hear -- but after a couple of years I'm willing to accept it as an occasional guilty pleasure. It's not that typical of the album, either. Sure, every song is silky smooth, slick LA-styled studio pop, complete with disco beats and saxophones. But Earth and Fire never really lost their gift for a good melody and a good chorus, and there is still evidence of that on this album. "Can't Live Without it Anymore" and "Season of the Falling Leaves" are sweet and melancholy, music that takes me back to the summers of my youth. The opening track "People Come, People Go" shows some remaining prog rock inclinations, stretching out to 11 minutes through an elongated intro that slowly builds into the song, and the rest of the song at least tries to build some dramatic tension - though I'd be hard pressed to honestly call this a "prog song" overall. But at least it acknowledges their proggier past.

Overall, not one of their best albums, even from my drooling fan-boy point of view, but it's decent pop music. It doesn't sound the least bit like their early 70s work, so tread carefully if you're coming from that angle. But it's an enjoyable low-calorie listen, with the possible exception of "Weekend". I'm giving it 2 stars, mainly to distinguish it from my 3-star rating of their next album Andromeda Girl, which I enjoy more.

HolyMoly | 2/5 |


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