MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Aunt Mary - Janus CD (album) cover

JANUS

Aunt Mary

 

Eclectic Prog

3.39 | 66 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars The third and final album from Norway's Aunt Mary, 1973's `Janus' sees the band incorporating gentle symphonic prog touches to their usual hard-rocking style, and along with a dose of psychedelic pop, some E.L.P/Yes-like influences and occasional jamming, this is good honest 70's rock with extended instrumental sections, strong musicianship and tasteful vocal arrangements. Despite never to be confused with being a classic, there's still plenty of interest here, and undemanding prog fans should enjoy this album and band.

The band open and close the album with a run of different tracks stitched together, attempting to create some longer progressive pieces, but I'm not entirely convinced how well this works. The individual pieces are all fine on their own, but trying to sell them off as actual `suites' of music is pushing things a little! However, the opening 12 minute trio offers three great poppy numbers. Despite `Path of Your Dream' starting the album with drum rolls, frantic hard guitar riffs and shimmering Hammond organ, it soon diverts into a jaunty sing-along acoustic Moody Blues-like chorus, the band telling the tale of "A fairy-like gnome with the magic hand, from the clouds is watching this land...'. `Mr Kaye' aims for a Beatles psychedelic acid-pop sound, a playful shorter interlude with drowsy Lennon-esque vocals and a cute double-tracked guitar solo in the middle. It then kicks right into `Nocturnal Voice', a confident and more serious mid-tempo rocker with light country guitar fills and a nicely executed electric jam in the middle, all wrapped around a winning melody. The piece is only let down by a bafflingly screeching vocal in the chorus that sounds completely out of place!

The almost 7 minute `For All Eternity' is an energetic rocker that borrows many elements from the Yes template - sweet Jon Anderson-like harmonies, galloping Hammond runs and thick chugging bass are all accounted for. But the band add some nice mellow country-rock flavours, a loopy instrumental run in the middle full of deranged whirling Moogs and some addictive jazzy licks too. Especially listen out for these little blasts of guitar aggression and distortion in the opening minute, very tasty! `Stumblin' Stone' starts as a lush thoughtful instrumental rocker, driven by constantly upfront bass, gentle Hammond washes, bringing an early 70's laid-back Pink Floyd quality overall. It then abruptly morphs into a snarling dirty groover, with a frantic wailing bluesy electric guitar outro. `All We've Got To Do Is Dream' is a pleasant and heartfelt acoustic folk interlude. `Candles of Heaven' aims for an Emerson, Lake and Palmer/Triumvirat level of bombast, with Hammond organ flourishes, chunky but fluid bass and rumbling drums, and even the lead vocal sounds uncannily like Greg Lake. It follows the E.L.P template exactly, but most impressive is the ballistic instrumental run in the final minute that has the band playing as if their lives depended on it! The band then wraps on a lovely spiritual number with a powerful epic guitar solo and Rick Wright-styled Hammond that lifts you to the heavens. "Oh Lord, what a lovely day you give us all...' the band sigh, and it's hard not to be swept along with the positivity and warmth.

At first I was very disappointed when I first bought this CD at a local record fair. I thought I was buying an album by either the U.K or Italian bands both called Janus, not realising this was instead the title of the album by a band called Aunt Mary - I thought it was the other way around! But after a few listens, Janus (the album, not the band, are we clear on that like I wasn't?!) reveals itself to be a charming, well played and melodic easy listenening prog-lite rocker. It's a bit of a shame that in several sections, the band merely recreates the sound of other popular prog bands, when they clearly had the musical talent to forge their own identity, but everything still sounds good. So hardly essential, but certainly a nice addition to any prog collection from a fine band.

Three stars.

(Just a quick note - anyone purchasing the Polygram Norway CD reissue should be aware that the track-listing on the back is not the same as what is on the disc. The CD itself has 9 tracks, and oddly credits a false start/some studio muckaround as it's own track running 41 seconds in the middle of the disc. A minor complaint, but initially confusing! Ignore it, just enjoy the album!)

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this AUNT MARY review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives