Mike McLatchey 10-August-2002 Nostradamus

Nostradamus concepts in symphonic rock don't quite equal the frequency level of Tolkien concepts, but they do occasionally pop up. First Aid were a late 70s English one shot appearing at the cusp of the death knell of English symphonic progressive rock. First Aid fit roughly somewhere between the pioneer English groups (Yes, Fantasy, King Crimson) and the more derivative second generation groups (Druid, England). Also, the vocalist sounds eerily like Greg Lake, and the dominance of keyboards more than implies ELP as an influence as well. In fact, it's analog synth fans that will likely get the largest benefit from this piece, due to all the keyboards/synths displayed. As the album continues on, an orchestra is brought in, reminding me of some of the Moody Blues work in combining the symphony with pop music. Most of the time, the merging of band and orchestra works well, although not always are the compositions complelling. The overall effect would be like the band England covering the early Moody Blues with Lake on vocals and Al Dimeola on guitar (OK, I'm stretching it here). As a concept album, like many, it rarely fails to rise above the subject matter, although, fortunately, there are far more instrumental sections than you would think. A mixed effort overall, worth checking out if you hunt down rare sympho avidly.

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