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Greenslade - Spyglass Guest CD (album) cover

SPYGLASS GUEST

Greenslade

 

Symphonic Prog

3.22 | 101 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars What a charming little band Greenslade were! Not exactly the coolest of prog bands (Ha, as if there has even been such a thing!), there's a slightly daggy appeal to Greenslade and their mostly upbeat, infectious and proudly melodic duel keyboard player dominated music. Very easy to listen to and enjoy, full of colourful and joyful instrumental runs and quirky vocal numbers, their third album, 1974's `Spyglass Guest', is not quite as successful as the previous albums, but there's still plenty of undemanding and tastefully played adventurous rock music to discover. Perhaps the song-writing on the vocal pieces isn't as strong or catchy this time around, but the instrumental passages and overall great playing makes it another worthy addition to their run of very decent albums from their vintage 70's peak period.

Opening instrumental `Spirit of the Dance' couldn't be more appropriately titled, because the energetic synth duellings full of movement of Dave Greenslade and Dave Lawson couldn't be more dance-like! A cute keyboard jig with playful Moog spirals, light Mellotron flecks (pretty sure the 'Tron is actually singing in the final minute too!) and glistening electric piano with Andrew Mculloch's urgent snappy drumming, it's almost like a more peppy version of those rollicking Genesis and P.F.M numbers in parts. Odd jazz/fusion groover `Little Red Fry-Up' is almost comical with a variety of loopy vocals with lightly naughty grooves worked through slinking bass, tinkling electric piano and bluesy electric guitar wailing. The slightly melancholic `Rainbow' is full of mystery, eerie electronic drones, ambient synths and creeping electric piano with sighing group harmonies. `Siam Seesaw' might have one of the loveliest and most romantic melodies on any Greenslade album, drowsy acoustic guitar and dazzling harpsichord weaving blissfully together with humming bass and dreamy electric piano.

The almost nine minute symphonic piece `Joie de Vivre' turns out to be quite a jaunty tune, with many frequently whimsical moments driven by stirring violin and joyous keyboard soloing that wouldn't have sounded out of place on any of the mid 70's Caravan albums. `Red Light' is a brief somewhat silly vocal/electric piano piece that appears to be about a prostitute or an obsession with a cheater partner - maybe both! `Melancholic Race' doesn't really develop too well, jumping around from nice sweeping Mellotron fanfare, strolling electric piano walkabouts and outright jazz/fusion rupturing bass explosions. It's a whole mess of ideas, but a glorious and addictive tasty mess all the same! The album closes on a fairly plodding yet smooth cover of Jack Bruce's `Theme For An Imaginary Western', let down by a scratchy endless Lawson vocal that pushes the friendship, but at least Tony Reeves' lovely murmuring bass lifts it slightly higher.

Greenslade remind me of a band like Fruupp in that they released a run of quality albums in their vintage prime and got out before the rot of too much commercial pressure and the changing musical taste of the public led them to making really sub-standard albums. `Spyglass Guest' may not be the most challenging or important prog album, but there's still so much to enjoy about it, performed by a first-rate bunch of musicians, and it probably works best as a pleasing background listen.

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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