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Raw Material - Raw Material CD (album) cover

RAW MATERIAL

Raw Material

 

Eclectic Prog

3.60 | 43 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars British band Raw Material recorded two albums over the course of as many years between 1970-71, and on their self-titled debut from 1970, they offered an exciting mix of late Sixties/early Seventies adventurous rock with traces of psych, blues, folk and jazz elements, with lengthy instrumental jamming passages woven around strong melodic tunes. They were somewhat comparable to other bands of the time such as Beggars Opera, Rare Bird and perhaps the early albums of Birth Control in just a few fleeting moments, and while not as intricate or demanding, the use of sax and flute gave the group a surface similarity to Van der Graaf Generator without the depth or complexity, although that element would manifest more on the follow-up disc a year after this, `Time Is...'

Opener `Time and Illusion' is the longest and most ambitious piece at over seven minutes. After a brief vocal introduction and supposed chorus, the band launches into a grooving extended instrumental run of punchy sounding drumming, piercing Hammond organ and glistening piano with murky bass, and the way the piece slyly picks up in tempo with a brief taste of sax in the final minute is very tasty indeed. There's a cool Rolling Stones-like Jagger swagger to Colin Catt's snarling lead vocal on `I'd Be Delighted', a tough bluesy strut with cool pumping slinking bass and a raucous rowdy group chorus with dirty flute trills and sax blasts, and `Fighting Cock' begins as a mournful early King Crimson-style lament before erupting into a Skin Alley/Rare Bird-like boisterous and frantic piano/sax blast to close the first side.

`Pear on an Apple Tree' opens the second side with an amped-up foot-tapping bluesy rock n' roller with energetic guitar and piano runs, and the dreamy shimmering electric piano tiptoes and warm drifting group vocals of `Future Recollections' call to mind the Moody Blues. `Traveller Man' is a relentless chugging rocker powered by driving dusty harmonica and wild buzzing acid-rock guitar wailing sounding not unlike swampy German psych/kraut band Krokodil as it spirals off into the heavens, and closer `Destruction of America' is mostly a spoken-word passage with Mellotron landscapes rising around it.

Although hardly essential, Raw Material's debut is a charming and undemanding rock listen that quickly reveals consistently strong instrumental and compositional skills on repeated plays (and the terrific cover art is just the added gravy!), and it's an underappreciated album well deserving of a bit more attention. The second album has more ambitious progressive rock elements emerging and is probably the stronger of their two works, but if you like any of the bands mentioned above and are a sucker for the proto-prog sounds of the late Sixties and early Seventies, there's a good chance you'll greatly enjoy what Raw Material are doing here.

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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