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Egg - The Civil Surface CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.92 | 259 ratings

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3 stars Egg's third and final studio album fits more into the "interesting" ,rather than "excellent" camp, although it was certainly a good thing that it was released (the band had already taken the effort to break-up following their 1972 sophomore opus "The Polite Force"). While not as consistent as their previous album , "Civil Surface" is considerably more experimental and adventurous. Of particular interest here are the two "Wind Quartets", both of which are instrumental pieces performed by (as their titles suggest) four woodwind players (Mont Campbell among them on the French Horn). While the first one features relatively conventional harmony, the second is filled with dissonance pointing to avant-garde classical influences, once again underlining the band's progressive compositional tendencies; both pieces are worthwhile, Quartet 2 actually being my favourite track on the entire album. "Prelude" is another peculiar number, with a challenging harmonic structure and some female choral singing.

However, the quality of the rest material is mostly inferior to that on "The Polite Force". Opener "Germ Patrol" seems to completely lack any concrete musical ideas, which would've been drowned anyway by the rather noisy drums. "Enneagram" is considerably stronger and has more in common with the band's earlier material, though it doesn't rank among Egg's best work either . "Wring out the ground loosely now" is a the only vocal track on the album (with the exception of the afore- mentioned "Prelude"), and also features a guest appearance by Steve Hillage on guitar at the end of a nice keyboard solo ; meanwhile, "Nearch" is another sort instrumental experiment, but not the most successful of the bunch.

Overall, "Civil Surface" isn't quite a consistent album, but it does receive an extra point for it's daring and adventurous nature, and may appeal to those seeking 70s prog music that was experimental without sounding weird.

Pafnutij | 3/5 |


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