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Album Friday? — Summary

Gentle Giant — Three Friends
★★★★☆

Gentle Giant have failed to disappoint me once again. Three Friends possesses far less diversity in sound than its predecessor, Acquiring the Taste, yet the pieces are smoother and more coherent. In case you felt their previous albums have been too hectic and incomprehensive, you should give this album a go. The amazing Prologue will draw you in immediately and hold you captive right until the end of the album.

Can — Monster Movie
★★★★★

The music at the end of 60’s and in the beginning of 70’s has always been extremely diverse – there were many experimentalists. Yet the anti-mainstream rock movement in Germany, known as Krautrock or Kosmische Musik (space music), had spawned something entirely different. Can is one of such groups, their music style resembling such bands as Caravan or Soft Machine, just as psychedelic and spacish, yet the difference lies in the over-distorted guitar they use on the background. There are only 4 songs on the album, but each of them is a marvelous composition, simultaneously relaxing and exciting the mind. Crowned by a twenty minute long epic Yoo Doo Right, this debut album deserves the full mark. There will be more Can reviews written by me in the near future.

Toe Fat — Toe Fat 2
★★★★

Previously I included the first Toe Fat album among the One Album Wonders list, but I was mistaken – this band had yet another album published. However, the Uriah Heep star Ken Hensley was not participating in the making of this sequel. The drummer Lee Kerslake also left the band, joining Uriah Heep later in 1971, and was replaced by Brian Glascock. Nevertheless the band continues with hard rock and distorted guitars and simple but nice compositions suited for solos and powerful riffs, having added some slower bluesy jams in between like There’ll Be Changes and A New Way. This is a consistent album that fits well to a casual working day.

Jefferson Starship — Red Octopus
★★★

According to Wikipedia, this album was the best sold in the Jefferson history, or by any of its spin-off groups. I was surprised to know that Surrealistic Pillow, the legendary second Jefferson Airplane album, wasn’t at the top. In addition to that, the album also contained their highest charting single, Miracles. I didn’t believe it when I first heard it – this simple and lousy tune wasn’t worth the honour. Most disappointingly, similar poppish cryouts can be heard in every second song on the album.

These are nowhere close the folk instrumental Git Fiddler, or Sweeter Than Honey — another nice, driving piece. Yet I too can say the songs I mentioned just aren’t the right material to become popular. Why do the simplest tunes always make it mainstream? All in all, even though a couple of good pieces can be found here and there, this album didn’t meet my expectations at all. The first Jefferson Starship album, Dragon Fly, has much more class.

ABBA — Ring Ring

ABBARing Ring
★★★

Once upon a time, I decided to listen to ABBA. It’s been a while since I volitionally listened to such “easy” music (in contrast to Zappa, Krautrock or Mahavishnu Orchestra, just to mention a few). Surprisingly enough, I found myself enjoying this album, especially the B-side of it, which was far less dance-floor oriented than its A-side counterpart. The songs are well done, and there’s some variety in the style too, from the rocking Ring Ring to the slower and mind-soothing I Am Just a Girl, yet they’re still too simple for my taste. Also, most annoyingly, almost all of them were about love, and love alone. Yet here’s an exception from this rule, one of the reasons why I picked He Is Your Brother as my favourite track on this album.

Iron Butterfly — In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (album)

Iron ButterflyIn-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (album)
★★★★☆

This album is widely known by its 17 minute B-side epic of the same name. Yet the A-side tunes don’t disappoint either, and the album ensures a fully fledged heavy psych experience. There was one song which I didn’t quite like though, called Termination. Oddly enough, upon investigating the matter it revealed to be the only track which wasn’t composed by Doug Ingle, the pianist and lead vocalist of the band.

Since everyone has heard In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida anyway (in case you haven’t, tend to it at once!), I’m putting another song from this album for display. Are you happy?

Album Saturday: Frank Zappa — Summary

Yesterday I tried to pull off a full scale Frank Zappa show. The idea was to play five albums in a row: Absolutely Free, Lumpy Gravy, We’re Only in It For The Money, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets and Uncle Meat.

However, in comparison to Joe’s Garage, Hot Rats and Freak Out!, these albums proved to be far more paranoid than I could imagine. After listening to the third album, I had to give up listening to the rest due to a strong headache. For the future, I thought I’d restrain myself to only one Zappa album a day.

The Mothers of InventionAbsolutely Free
★★★★

When I wrote about unbearably paranoid music, it didn’t quite yet include this album. Although you can clearly feel the “stream of consciousness” with which Zappa writes his songs, this is a well balanced concept album with funny lyrics, talks about vegetables, etc. The seven minute long instrumental Invocation & Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin was especially to my liking.

Frank Zappa and the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra — Lumpy Gravy (reedited 1968 version)
★★☆

This album begins with Duodenum, a nice makeover of Apache, and ends in a mind-soothing piece Take Your Clothes Off, which is probably supposed to relieve you from the pain you acquire in between. Indeed, this album gives you a headache on a sunny day. Is this even music? You might be better off considering this album to be a piece of art that portrays a paranoid state of mind. There’s too much speaking and random elements, too little of what I would call actual songs or compositions. Lumpy Gravy does have some interesting pieces like Envelops The Bath Tub, and it’s good to hear once, but… I Don’t Know If I Can Go Through This Again

The Mothers of Invention— We’re Only in It For The Money

The Mothers of Invention seem to prevent Zappa from going completely paranoid, yet the songs still jump from one style to another, a feature which irritates rather than pleases (and doesn’t help the headache either). However it still is amazing how a human mind could come up with music like this. The brilliancy of Zappa is his ability to come up with stuff that’s completely different from anything else, music from a different existence, which it yet for us to hear. If you feel tired with music in general, listen to this.

I will love the police as they kick the shit out of me on the street.” — Who Needs The Peace Corps?

There were some problems with the latter half of the album, so I will leave this album unmarked for now.