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Aphrodite's Child - It's Five O'Clock CD (album) cover

IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK

Aphrodite's Child

 

Symphonic Prog

2.76 | 77 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars Considering all the trials and tribulations that APHRODITE'S CHILD had to endure in leaving their homeland Greece after a right-wing dictatorship commonly known as the Regime Of The Colonels usurped control of their country and forced them to relocate to London to recognize their musical ambitions, not to mention getting stuck in Paris en route during 68's tumultuous riots and unrest, it was utterly amazing that the band found resounding success with their debut album "End Of The World" all throughout the European continent the very same year. Having finally settled in London, the trio of Vangelis Papathanassiou, Demis Roussos and Lucas Sideras wasted no time in recording a followup and with success already achieved with their huge hit ballad "Rain And Tears," the band entered Trident Studios to record the sophomore effort IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK which logically tried to copy the successful formula of the hit singles from their debut album "End Of The World" and tried to Anglicize them by bringing in Richard Francis to write the lyrics and offer a more proper English speaking perspective. The results are a much less impactive statement than the debut, a less cohesive unit and despite clever pop tracks created, ends up sounding like an attempt to mimic UK band styles over developing the interesting menage of musical styles on the debut.

Right from the very first opening title track it's apparent that IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK is a less ambitious and more streamlined pop album that jettisons much of the debut's Greek and Middle Eastern sounds for a more streamlined British approach. The strangest part about this album is that the tracks are so diverse that it often sounds like a various artist compilation than a single band performing. The title track sounds like some straight out of the Procol Harum playbook with moody organs churning out their notable baroque pop and classical influences. The second track "Wake Up" sounds like a totally different band with a pop folk hippie infused consciousness awakening psychedelic pop feel that is drenched in key changes. "Take Your Time" takes yet another direction as it tackles country rock and reminds me most of those Beatles tracks that showcased Ringo Starr on his one song allotment per album as lead singer. "Anabella" is a sappy ballad with heartfelt lyrics, the swishing of tides permeating the background drenched in a keyboard rich snail-paced tempo that is broken by a brief overwrought chorus.

"Let Me Love, Let Me Live" is heavier pop-stomp that sounds more like The Who in full "Pinball Wizard" form and in retrospect shows a slight interest in rock opera greatness although it is far from fulfilled on this brief musical statement. "Funky Mary" takes another 180 as the trio delve into Sly & Family Stone territory with a funky soul rock groove although Roussos sings more like Hendrix, the percussion is fiery with Santana-esque bongos and a jazzy vibraphone provides an unexpected counterpoint. "Good Time So Fine" then jumps into the world of Vaudville as it sounds similar to the good vibe musical format that would become Jesus Christ Superstar. "Marie Jolie" is yet another ballad only sounds more like something from the 50s in an almost Bobby Darrin sort of style only augmented by tribal bongo rhythms and an accordion solo that adds an undeniable Mediterranean cafe feel. Of all the tracks on board, it's the closer "Such A Funny Night" that is probably most like anything of the debut album. Catchy piano grooves, psychedelic Indo-raga sitar and helium induced vocal pitches augmented by flute and sitar trade-offs. Definitely my favorite track and the catchiest that even manages to squeeze in some ragtime piano sounds.

Overall, IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK is basically a grab bag of ideas, more like an album of leftover tracks than a bona fide album itself. It seems that Vangelis had sort of a one tracked mind and was obsessed with the apocalypse and end days, which when applied on the debut album and "666," flourished in great progressive fecundity, however with this second album it seems that the band were just going for as much chart topping pop jugulars as they possibly could with the only attention being paid to crafting as many commercial hits as allowed by law with no regard given to the unifying potentials of the album as a whole. Far from a bad collection of tracks, IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK does pale in comparison to the more timeless themes of the two albums that sandwich it. Despite the tracks lacking the unified thematic luster of "End Of The World" or not even coming close to the progressively polished sophistication of "666," it still has it's charms and while eternally doomed to be the lesser of APHRODITE'S CHILD's mere three albums, is still a decent psychedelic pop album that displays Vangelis' signature melodic sound coupled with Roussos romantic Mediterranean vocal style that would propel them into hugely successful solo careers in the 70s and beyond.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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