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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars It will be later before God gives rock and roll to you

A good first album, if now sounding somewhat dated. The closing track on side one, "Dance in the smoke" was included on the CBS sampler "Fill your head with rock". It's not really representative of the album, but the sampler sold well, and many people discovered Argent as a result.

The combination of Rod Argent and Russ Ballard works well from the start, with both contributing to the song-writing. The songs on this album however are pretty straight forward, leaning more towards Rod's previous band (the Zombies) than Argent's later, more prog focused output.

Having had the album since the early 70's, I enjoy it as much now as I did then, but those looking for the Argent which made "Hold your head up" and "God gave rock'n'roll to you" can safely give this one a miss.

Report this review (#26631)
Posted Monday, February 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

Once the Zombies broke up after their groundbreaking masterpiece album Odessey And Oracle, Rod Argent to ex-bassist Chris White with him and formed his new band named after himself. Enrolling his cousin Rodfort on drums, he also found Russ Ballard that was too become the other stalwart of the group on guitar and vocals, but also a good songwriter. However White was only to contribute to lyrics and in came Henrit on bass. Graced with a futurist neon artwork (for the era), the eponymous debut came out when The Zombies' Time Of The Season became a huge hit over one year after its release. So the group jumped on the occasion, justly appropriating it to themselves and the song would become a live attraction.

Musically the album doesn't offer very much for the proghead, as this is very much a band looking for its landmarks and limits, still trying to un-zombi themselves. So obviously this album might appear as a transition album, but I'd even say that it might even appear as a step backwards to The Zombies' epitaph album. Mostly pop songs, with the highlight being Dance In The Smoke, but this album is certainly nothing to write home about.

An honest debut that holds promise, but not much more. Hardly essential.

Report this review (#26630)
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not a progressive rock purist by any means, so I'm not sure I'm qualified to speak here. But I can't resist, since I just finished listening to my old cassette tape recording of a friend's Argent album from way back. Through the scratches and pops, this music's sensuality shines through. These introspective songs express the exhilarations\ torments of love so brilliantly. I would think this music defies any categorization. Any music that resists formula as well as this does will hold its appeal as different forms of music evolve. I stumbled onto this site while searching the net in to see if this album is still available, hoping to find it CD format. I think most music lovers would find this to be some of the most captivating music they've eve lent their ear to.
Report this review (#26633)
Posted Friday, July 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the rupture of the Zombies, their two maximum authors, Rod Argent and Chris White (this last one would move away of the instrumentation and would occupy the position of producer and composer) formed next to the vocalista and guitar Russ Ballard (ex- The Roulettes), the battery Bob Henrit (ex- The Roulettes) and the bear and cousin of Argent Jim Rodford, the denominated formation Argent, a bet begun by this remarkable pop work with reminiscencias Zombies. Without reaching the absolute perfection shown in "Odessey & Oracle", yes that a good handful of melódicas songs characterized by the omnipresent loudness of the keyboards of Rod unfolds, the warm one and varied vocal execution of Ballard, the care in the vocal adjustments and the good rythmical work of Rodford and Henrit. Although the most popular subject of the disc is "To roll", a piece written by Russ Ballard of disquieting compass of I put blues, that was able to enter high positions of the American commercial lists, this one is not far from it the most remarkable subject of the album, gems like "Be Free", "Schoolgirl", "The feelings inside" or "Free fall" yes shows to a greater compositivo openwork and a greater seduction in their sonic textures, that will please without a doubt to the lovers of the Zombies sound, although that, with more progressive propensity.
Report this review (#46627)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I remember being quite surprised when I first heard this debut. The disc had the copyright year 1969 (not 1970) but the music sounded very much like mid-seventies rock'n'roll with an emphasis on keyboards; catchy rock, both arty and straight-forward. Something like Manfred Mann's Earth Band at its best.

I haven't heard Rod Argent's former r&b band Zombies, and the only other Argent album (All Together Now from 1972) that I've listened to disappointed me strongly after this one. So I'm not any connoisseur of the band, nor is straight-forward rock my field particularly, but anyway this is pretty good and extremely well produced rock without any 60's feel. It can be said that they were ahead of their time. Russ Ballard is just the right man to sing this music. Some little irritations here and there, like the "lonely hard road" repetition of background vocals in 'Lonely Hard Road', but otherwise a strong and nicely flowing album.

Report this review (#122334)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars If you are into old psychedelia and heavy sounds, this might well be an album to watch out.

The great duo (Rod Argent and Russ Ballard) are there for the trip. Hesitating between Floyd and Purple. But who cares? These are landmarks in music and "Argent" did have his own place in those old days...

Pre-Heep moments, but at times so close and premonitory ("Be Free"). Song writing is clever, but it lacks of grandeur and the album suffered this an awful lot. Good songs overall, but no real outstanding number. Do not expect a chef d'oeuvre, just above average album for the time.

When you listen to this album, a song as "Schoolgirl" is going to sound as rather outdated; but it is so typical of an era. You have to be in the mood, as I am, to fully appreciate this album.

Remember, we are talking about the early days of prog music (1970), even if "Argent" was not a high flyer. They certainly need respect for their work, and this debut is quite encouraging. Like during "Dance In The Smoke" during which some very fine vocal harmonies and subtle keys can be observed. The music might sound childish, but almost forty years ago, this was a different feeling.

A great song as "The Feeling's Inside" is really not shy from most of the grand psyche anthems of the time (or earlier). Only that "Argent" didn't have the same exposure, nor fame. But they are still a good band whose music definitely deserves your attention. This album in particular should please you if great organ play and some psychedelic patterns ("Freefall") are amongst your fave.

If ever you are keen to listen to this album (and I can only recommend you to do so), be prepared for a long trip back into the heavy and psyche roots. But isn't it a wonderful challenge?

Three stars.

Report this review (#181054)
Posted Friday, August 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, just how proggy can an album be if Three Dog Night covered one of the album's best songs? Obviously, we're not looking at nor listening to rocket science or brain (salad) surgery with Argent's first album.

I need to put on my wayback-machine ears here. A lot of this sounds like typical 70's rock -- great vocal harmonies, great melodies, powerful keyboards, chucka-chucka guitars, and in the end not much happening. But there's a big however: this album was recorded on the front-end of the 70's. In other words, it's a template for what many of us associate with the typical 70's rock sound, because it is one of the sources. You'll hear sounds here that were successfully appropriated by various 70's bands. So Lonely Hard Road engenders a Doobie Brothers sound. Liar, or at least its intention and invective, shows up on Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.

It's not surprising, really. Rod Argent came to the band via The Zombies, one of the more intelligent of the original British Invasion bands. Argent's keyboards are invariably perfect, and the rest of the band, while not exactly capable of causing one's jaw to drop, provide a perfectly competent background.

The prog tendencies are here: the guitar intro to Like Honey and the mid-song passages with swirling vocals and Hammond, the Hammond intro and subsequent second- and third-harmonics of The Feelings Inside. And Stepping Stone almost reaches velocity here and there.

This is a pretty decent first album for the band. There's a competent rock writer (Ballard) and an above- competent keyboardist trying to find their way. They hit some decent high points here and there, but never really pull it all together. It's a good listen if one's expectations are not too high, especially for those who appreciate keyboards.

Report this review (#206985)
Posted Friday, March 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Argent is a band that really offers a wide variety of music. From the truly progressive to the pop-infused stadium rock'n'roll for which they have earned the most of their reputation. At least in the public eye. When Argent catches the progressive wave they are magnificent but when they crash into the rocky beach of pop'n'roll I am sure to skip to the next track. Unfair? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever you think of Argent as a band you cannot deny their musical abilities. They were truly masterful at handling their instruments. You can blame them for the weak spots in material but never in the execution. So, having said that I will tell you something about this debut by the band known as Argent.

If you listen to this album and their next one, "Ring of hands", you will hear a major difference. The follow up is packing a whole other punch and is by all account coloured by a real progressive flair that is great. On the debut they seem uncertain in which direction to go. The material is largely pop or (hard) rock but lacking in power. It's held back, thusly creating a sort of bland concoction of late 60's/ early 70's rock music with a hint of "hey, let's try prog or what do you think? Yes? No?"-attitude. There are songs that could have been more interesting if the band had felt more sure about their direction. "Be free" is such a a song, as is "Dance in the smoke" with the wonderfully warm organ of Rod Argent. But then songs like "Schoolgirl" or "Lonely hard road" harkens back to the shift from 60's blues/soul rock and pop into hard rock or prog of the 70's leaving the songs quite lacklustre an lost in translation.

I suppose it must be a challenge to totally redefine oneself, going from the R&B of The Zombies to explore new realms of music and by doing so be relevant to the new public ear of the early 70's. I see that and I acknowledge it. Considering the massive steps taken by the band on their second album one must view this as the dress rehearsal of the great band Argent. Not fully clothed, not fully in tune with the script or ideas that would emerge later on the fumbled through a set of songs that aren't bad but mostly dull. Sad to say, most of the music on this album fails to draw my attention. Having listened countless times I still find myself puzzled and un-moved by the content of the record. It's interesting mostly as a pre-cursor to what's coming but nothing more. This is like the few scattered huts on the seven hills of Rome, before they built a city and empire of powerful proportions. This is merely a hut but obviously competent and by no means rubbish. It's just not that good. It's not.

Report this review (#2048980)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2018 | Review Permalink

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