Mike McLatchey 16-September-2002 Jessica

Jessica are sort of an oddity for a German band from 1975 in that they recorded an album of classical "rock" in an era more notable for its wealth of psychedelic hard rock and krautrock. In fact, calling this a classical rock album is not really accurate, as it seems more like a talented piano player's flirtation with rock and jazz rather than a rock band's interest in classical stylings. The self-titled album consists of four pieces that actually seem more like four movements of a symphony ("Allegretto Grazioso," "Andantino," "Vivace," and "Allegro Con Sprito"). It is entirely dominated by a piano lead which is usually backed up by a jazzier sort of a rhythm section for a sort of unsettled sort of fusion. Where a rock band might have added a dose of heavy to the classical influences, Jessica only borrow a bit of rhythmic drive to back up the piano playing, with a jazzy, clean guitar tone as the main accompaniment. Generally this adds up to some fairly unexciting playing, with a sense of formality from the classical influences still dominating the rock elements. At times the combination of piano and guitar behind a jazzy rhythm section reminds me of the occasional Italian prog band - maybe some PFM and especially Festa Mobile. But while both had their heavy moments, Jessica is almost completely missing them, preventing any wide diversity in dynamics. In fact, at times, this almost has a ragtime sort of flavor to it. It only really tends to excel towards the end when the guitarist adds some wah-wah to his clean tone and there is some inkling of a more rocking pace going on. Overall, it really never gets going, meandering rather futilely throughout. Undoubtedly this is a rarity of a deserved nature, only recommended to those who can't get enough of classical music's pairings with other styles.

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