Another lost band that deserves more attention as their music can be categorized under progressive rock boundary. Well, I got this CD couple months ago altogether with another lost band ODIN, but got no chance to review their album yet. ODIN actually has been featured in this site long time ago but I just found CZAR last night. Thanks to Max and the Admin Group of Progarchives that have made it featured in this website!
CZAR music is I think a blend of Procol Harum, The Beatles and Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett era) or I would simply say it's a psychedelic prog rock. In terms of structure, their music is quite straight forward like typical rock music structure. Melody-wise there are some similarities with classic band at their generation (late sixties and seventies). The composition comprises the use of keyboard / mellotrons / organs that represent the tradition of early prog music. Even though the sonic quality is not top notch, but it?s still quite OK with my ears. Even this kind of sound has its unique nuance to indicate the early prog era. Overall, CZAR music is accessible to most listeners. For those who followed the early inception of prog music in the rock music industry in the seventies, this is an excellent addition to any prog collection, I would say.
The bands line-up consist of : Del Gough (drums); Bob Hodges (piano, mellotron, organ, harpsicord, vocals) , Paul Kendrick (bass, vocals) and Mick Ware (guitar, vocals ). You may not be familiar with any musician in this band. Probably they are no longer a musician nowadays.
Let's have look in great detail
Tread Softly on My Dreams opens the album with an intro part that is 99.99% similar (or I can say it ?the same?) with Procol Harum's Homburg. Well, it's unclear to me which came first as I learned from my discussion with progheads that actually Procol Harum did not also make the melody by their own and this Homburg was heavily influenced (or probably adopted) from a classical music. I do not know about it yet as I'm not an explorer of true classical music. But it only happens at the intro part and some repetition in the middle of this track. Overall this is a good track.
Cecelia flows in the vein of psychedelic with heavy use of organ throughout the tune. This organ has mainly characterized this song or even all CZAR music is heavily characterized by the sound of organ. The music flows relatively flat and simple with some accentuation of nice and very seventies organ style. The stricture is simple, using duet voice line with some variations or harpsicord sound. The drummer Del Gough has made good contribution. The guitar solo is simple but really stunning especially combined with the rhythm section of this track. It's truly the seventies music man!! For those who like psychedelic, you might love this track. It?s an excellent track. This track passes the test on duration of any prog tune that by rule of thumbs were defined as 7-8 minute. It?s probably a wrong number but that?s what happened in the seventies.
Follow Me (3:19) is an outfit that very close with the style of Pink Floyd The Piper album. It's completely a psychedelic venture. You can smell an influence of The Beatles and Procol Harum here. This time guitar takes the lead in the rhythm section as well as short melody / solo in transitions or in the middle of the track. Organ is used lightly with soft sound at background or accentuation during transition pieces.
Dawning of a New Day starts off with simple guitar fills with organ at background. It's a ballad song with nice acoustic and electric guitars. Melody is relatively nice and it flows with the voice line, accentuated by the electric guitar work. When organ solo enters the scene it really reminds me to the seventies where the sound of Procol Harum was very popular. Solo guitar performed is very simple but it's enjoyable especially when it is combined with a mellotron sound at the background.
Beyond the Moon is another simple structure psychedelic tune in the vein of PF The Piper . It seems like I'm now enjoying Syd Barrett creation through this track. If you enjoy The Piper you will love this track!
Today is a mellow track that in a way reminds me to A Whiter Shades of Pale at its intro part. The vocal line sings in high register notes and reminds me to Babe Ruth or Pavlov's Dog singers. It's a nice track with guitar plays as rhythm combined with organ.
A Day in September is relatively a long track with more prog venture. It starts off with a combination of bassline and organ followed with guitar fills. The music turns into faster tempo with organ sound in crescendo followed by duet vocal line. The track really turns into prog when it enters approx min 3:40 where the organ brings the music into an interlude that demonstrates guitar solo. I really enjoy this interlude. Sometimes, I can smell the sound of The Doors in this track as well.
One of the last truly classic early '70s prog psych bands to be reissued. This band could easily have influenced Sundial's first album. Loads of panned flanged guitar work and superb mellotron sounds put this up alongside T2, Cressida and Fantasy's albums. This CD version is 24 bit digitally remastered, contains 2 bonus tracks and features original artwork. A keyboard-driven album, admittedly derivative of bands like King Crimson but probably essential for fans of keyboard-dominated progressive rock. The opening and closing cuts:- Tread Softly On My Dreams and A Day In September capture the band at its best, but Cecelia features some melodramatic instrumentation and by way of contrast Today is a rather sentimental ballad.
1. Tread softly on my dreams(6:37)
2. Cecelia (8:12)
3. Follow me (3:19)
4. Dawning of a new day (6:11)
5. Beyond the moon (3:44)
6. Today (3:23)
7. A day in September (7:56)
Total Time: 39:22
8. Oh Lord I'm getting heavy
9. Why don't we be a rock 'n roll band
Fantasy - Paint a Picture 1973 (kbps 256)
Before reading my short review of this album, I have to admit being a bit biased. I really love this style of early English progressive rock. Although the musicians are not virtuosos, and the tracks are not terribly complex the music here is so warm, sincere, and melodic that you immediately fall for the colorful sounds coming out of your speakers. 1973's Paint A Picture is Fantasy's only official release(the second album, which was rejected by Polydor in the 70s, was released on CD in 1992). Some of the music on Paint A Picture reminds me of David Bowie's "Space Oddity". Not that the tracks here sound like Bowie's classic song, but the orchestration is very similar. Especially with the use of acoustic guitar, and mellotron. The band also knew when to pick up the pace in a song with an aggressive instrumental section or two, but the overall atmosphere is relaxed. This classic will appeal to fans of Spring, Earth And Fire, Pentacle, and PFM's Per Un Amico.
A progressive rock outfit who originally formed in Kent as Chapel Farm with a gritty vocalist called Paul Petley. Four tracks from a 10" acetate in this period (Fire-Fire, Vacuum, Alone and Afterthought) can now be heard on the Vivariatum CD and all four are pleasant but unexceptional keyboard-driven progressive rock.
Original vocalist Paul Petley left in 1971 to be replaced by Paul Lawrence. Then in 1972 they changed name briefly to Firequeen before switching again to Fantasy in 1973.
Fantasy's Paint A Picture album is now very rare and their 45 is pretty elusive too. The best tracks on the album were the title cut with its gentle, melodic vocals and the livelier Circus, with its good guitar work and swirling keyboards. Award, Icy River and Young May's Fortune are also worth a listen.
The first incarnation of the band split in 1974 before a projected second album, Beyond The Beyond, could be released, although it is now available as the discography notes explain.
There was a reformation (line-up ) in 1976 and six tracks from this reincarnation can also be heard on the Vivariatum CD. Personally I prefer the ones from 1970.
01 - Paint A Picture - 5.22
02 - Circus - 6.16
03 - The Award - 4.49
04 - Politely Insane - 3.26
05 - Widow - 2.09
06 - Icy River - 5.53
07 - Thank Christ - 4.05
08 - Young Man´s Fortune - 3.41
09 - Gnome Song - 4.15
10 - Silent Mime - 4.41
11 - Beyond The Beyond (Bonus) - 5.36
12 - Reality (Bonus) - 2.58
13 - Alanderie (Bonus) - 9.00
14 - After Thought (Bonus) - 5.50
15 - Worried Man (Bonus) - 2.56
16 - Just A Dream (Bonus) - 3.31
17 - Winter Rose (Bonus) - 3.26
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