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Argent - Counterpoints CD (album) cover

COUNTERPOINTS

Argent

 

Crossover Prog

3.22 | 45 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
4 stars Argent seems to be a band sadly underappreciated in prog rock circles. True, the first two or three albums are sort of lacklustre even by my standards but almost every album holds one or a few progressive gems. "In deep" certainly do and "Nexus is the first of the Argent albums, as I see it, that aims for the progressive rock market. The band hits a high with "Circus" which is by far their most accomplished and most progressive sounding album. Then they released "Counterpoints". Not much loved, as far as the ratings go, but they seemed to launch yet another full on attack of prog rock. Is it as good as "Circus"? Almost.

The album starts off with a mellotron drenched rock song with progressive garnish. You have to remember that Argent from the beginning was little more than a (hard) rock band and though they in 1975 headed down prog avenue they seemed to feel obliged to add one or two simpler songs. Single cuts? A yearning for the charts? Well, maybe. And who can blame them for wanting some cash in their pocket? Anyways, not the most progressive track but good enoug and the mellotron opening is terrific. The song segues into "I can't remeber but yes" which turns out to be the exact opposite to the beginning. High octane progressive jazz-rock with a breathtaking intensity.

The first really outstanding song is "Time" and quite a long piece too, clocking in at 7 minutes. This is really brilliant jazzy progressive. The opening sets the mood and then it hits you. The pop and rock tendencies are gone. You are left with pure prog gold. This is the motherlode of the album.

"Waiting for the yellow one" is a ballad of the sort that prog bands seem to do so well. Soft and gentle with a great organ in the background. "it's fallen off" is a fusion-y thing that could have been on one of the mid 70's Focus albums. The song "Be strong" is another ballad type of thing but with wonderfully arranged odd time structures. Up to now the stage have been set for an almost 100% progressive experience but the spell is broken somewhat by "Rock & roll show". I have a serious problem with bands singing the words "rock-n-roll" over a simple boogie beat as if their trying to create a hymn for the genre. The song in itself isn't bad, really it isn't. Quite catchy and energetic but I just cant stand the chanting of "rock'n'roll". It's just not my cup of tea.

"Road back home" puts most things in order again and a very british sounding intro on flugelhorn(?) precedes the vocal part. Great stuff this. A progressive journey with emotive sections and beautifully arranged. This, the last track, is also the longest with its 10 minutes. Jazzy and smooth without being cheezy this really is a fine way to end an album. And the mellotron is yet again delicious.

I do not understand the high degree of negative criticism this album seems to receive. Given the fact that we all have different taste I still do not understand it. It's a great little album by a (sometimes) great band and being their last album I Think they Went out on a high note. The instrumentation is flawless without being fusion-y sterile, the vocals are terrific (thank you, John Verity) and the mood of the album has everything that makes a prog album great. Apart from two lesser loved tracks ("On my feet again" and "Rock & Roll show") I think it's top class stuff. Give it a go, why don't you?

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |

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