Albatross, Garden of Eden (Garden of Delights) Cyberconnection: http://www.forcedexposure.com/labels/garden.of.delights.germany.html
I saw one quickie summary of this album that said "Genesis-like symphonic," but if you're looking for that look elsewhere. Albatros's 1978 debut album does have it's foot strongly in the progressive camp (three songs clocking in at 19, 10 and 11 minutes) but it doesn't have the symphonic graduer of Gabriel and Co. But it does do what sets out to do pretty well. Actually, the first side long epic "A Man Like Me" is probably the weakest cut. It's very Nektar-like with a hint of Pink Floyd, more from musical simplicity than actual style. Psychedelic organ swirls punctuated by guitar and drum hits open the album, giving way to equally trippy guitar and piano before erupting into a majestic guitar-lead theme. It's a good opening, and then the vocals come in with a pretty good rock song (Vocals are actually quite good except for the heavy German accents on English lyrics). But after the 7 minute or so mark (ironically announced with the flushing of a toilet), the piece seems to run out of ideas and starts meandering. Even a reprise to the good first section seems ineffective. The two shorter tracks, obviously, benefit from their comparitive brevity. "Sundriver" is a fairly intense minor-key piece with a good use of troughs and peaks and some great psych-ish guitar leads. The last cut is the title track, which shows some intelligent use of mood and texture and more rock-styled piano playing (which I wasn't all that crazy about). Compositionally, it's not quite as strong as "Sundriver" but stays away from the meanderings of the first track, for the most part (the lovely acoustic piano / acoustic guitar interlude is particularly noteworthy). I wasn't crazy about the album but found it reasonably enjoyable. I'm sure there are some folks out there who might really dig it, and you probably know who you are. ~Jon Dharma~
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