Lev Gankine 4-Sep-2006 Joker's Memory

This one starts out really promising - the opening minute or two is twisted energetic symphonic prog at its best, with complex rhythmic patterns, beatiful keyboard arrangements and everything else you except from a classic symphonic record. However, later on it all swiftly degenerates into a mediocre symph-by-numbers with predictable chord progressions and extremely annoying vocals - I bet my grandma's a better singer than anybody who sings on this LP (and there are a few different vocalists here)! On a positive note, fans of analog keyboard sounds might find something to enjoy here, as this thing is surprisingly advanced keyboard-wise for a basement privately pressed LP. Chris Ellis utilises Yamaha grand piano, Moog synthesiser, Rhodes electric piano and Hammond organ, and with such an arsenal no wonder the album is heavily keyboard-dominated. In fact, despite the lack of imagination and average songwriting, it still could have been a good record particularly for analog keys freaks, if only the singers kept their mouths shut. But unfortunately one of the band members is solely credited as lyricist, so you can imagine how verbose this album actually is; there are vocals virtually everywhere, both sung and narrated. One of the singers is overdoing it in particular - during the calmer moments I swear he's short of bursting out into tears. As if you haven't been already warned, I'm gonna add that the album is less than 20 minutes long - it was originally a one-sided LP. So, with all that in mind, I recommend that you think twice before paying big bucks for this rarity unless you're a symphonic prog completist. "Mike thinks it's a good album", says the P.S. on the back sleeve. Well, Lev doesn't.

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