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Atomic Rooster - In Hearing of Atomic Rooster CD (album) cover


Atomic Rooster


Heavy Prog

3.81 | 257 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars You Cann go now!

Atomic Rooster's third album sees John Cann remaining in the band as guitarist, but stepping aside as lead vocalist in favour of new member Peter French. The album signalled a subtle but significant change in direction for the band, or more specifically Vincent Crane. At the time, Crane was citing James brown as an influence, while seeking to adopt a more "structural" approach to the music.

There is an altogether funkier feel to this album, emphasised by French's voice and style of delivery. The opening "Breakthrough" with its emphatic piano basis and persistent but unobtrusive beat, something Palmer would never have been guilty of, might send you checking the sleeve to make sue you had definitely picked up an Atomic Rooster album.

"Black snake" has the feel of a Doors song, perhaps because of the "snake" reference, but also due to its slightly echoed vocal and psychedelic overtones. The Hammond organ work here is particularly striking if now rather of its time. The track also has similarities with the vocal sections of Deep Purple's "Child in time". The laid back feel continues on "Decision/Indecision", French's rather accented vocals not really suiting the sparse accompaniment. "Head in the sky" starts with a "Whole lotta love" like riff before bursting into a frantic organ drenched heavy rock number. The track has similarities with Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly, essentially being a well developed pop song.

The closing track, "The price" is one of the few other tracks to hark back to the pure rock orientation of the previous albums, French sounding a little like Roger Chapman at times. The track is slightly theatrical towards the end, with the "Now you've got to pay the price"/ "I don't want to pay the price" argument.

The CD version has the non-album single "Devil's answer" as a bonus track. This was justifiably a huge hit single, which featured Cann's vocals and brass arrangement. Incidentally, by the time it was released as a single in the US, it bore French's lead vocal. The B side was the instrumental "The rock" which appears on the album and which also features a brass arrangement.

In all, an album which sees Crane trying to move the band in an alternative direction. There are strong undercurrents of the style which dominated the first two albums, but the influences of soul and funk are starting to come through in much more apparent form. As a transitional album, "In hearing of" largely succeeds. For me though, it has not worn particularly well, and now sounds somewhat dated.

The album had barely hit the shelves when Crane sacked John Cann, Paul Hammond leaving with him. This was a clear case of musical differences between Crane and Cann, a point emphasised by Cann's new band's name, Hard Stuff.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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