Mike McLatchey 27-March-2001 Albatross

Illinois progressive Albatross released one, self-titled album in 1975 on the Anvil label. Like contemporaries Cathedral, Mirthrandir, Starcastle and Ethos, Albatross was overwhelmingly influenced by the symphonic mainstreamers, especially Genesis and Yes, and the music reflects this from the mellotron-saturated, 14-minute epic "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" to the more commercial "Mr. Natural," a reminder of some of the low points where prog and pop meet. The band's strengths are most evident on side two's opener "Devil's Strumpet" which displays some of the band's most impressive moments, yet they can't get away without copping Rick Wakeman's organ riffs from the "I Get Up I Get Down" section of Close To The Edge. In retrospect, Albatross seems one of the weakest of the second generation American symphonics due to both the plagiarism and the rather off-putting vocals. While fans of the genre should at least give it a listen, those who grow tired of the same old symph will find this one easy to pass up.

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