A great benefit of the internet is that many long lost records are being (re)discovered. This little gem is from an antipodean band who would likely have received no exposure in the northern lattitudes. Which is a shame because their only album is of great interest to those who like the Genesis side of 70s Prog, awash with memorable melodies, inventive arrangements and a high standard of musicianship. The sound is warm and friendly in typically 70s fashion, well produced but not stifling the natural flow of ideas.
There seems to be two main singing voices, one of whom sounds like an early Peter Gabriel on steroids, while the other is a plummy tenor akin to Ray Thomas. Fortunately, the latter is the more prominent, and with some excellent rich high harmonies the Moody Blues comparison is quite striking, nowhere more than the superb Out Of The Woods. Guitars dominate the instrumentation, often with acoustic varieties providing excellent rhythmic support. Both guitarists get the chance to shine with some excellent lead runs and solos, though just occasionally a little extra spark of inspiration would come in handy. Keyboards largely fulfill a background role, mostly filling in the gaps, but the rhythm section is very good and the bass is especially inventive and forward in the mix.
The standout songs are also the two longest - Ladies Of The Night and Out Of The Woods - each succeeding in combining wonderful songwriting with changeable 'symphonic' arrangements and scintillating rock-guitar work-outs. A couple of masterpieces there, and the rest of the album isn't far behind, except perhaps for the story-telling opening track which tries much too hard to recreate the battle of Epping Forest with overblown vocal theatrics! The finale (You Might Even Be) returns to a similar style but is more successful in marrying the theatrics with a strong sense of melody.
Despite the Gabriel-like vocals, this is no Genesis clone but an interesting, superior venture into their territory, quite at home with the likes of Fantasy or England. Had it been produced five years earlier it may well have made an impact. In retrospect, a terrific album that will appeal to lovers of Classic Prog and well worth the effort to seek it out.
(Review by Joolz progarchives.con)
Studio Album, released in 1977
New Zealand group (recording in Australia)
Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Clockwork Revenge (6:39)
2. Pictures In A Puddle (4:03)
3. Ladies Of The Night (9:46)
4. Earthborn Pilgrim (4:58)
5. Out Of The Woods (7:18)
6. Is It Such A Dream (5:11)
7. You Might Even Be (4:27)
Total Time: 42:22
Line-up / Musicians
- Steve MacKenzie / vocals, guitar
- Ray Simenauer / vocals, guitar
- Brad Murray / bass, vocals
- Alan Blackburn / keyboards
- Rick Mercer / drums