Monday, January 18, 2010

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Trilogy

9/10

ELP's third studio effort was the charm: It's strong all the way through, and the "lesser" tracks are only such compared to the rest of the album. Things get off to a great start with a creepy theremin intro, which leads into "The Endless Enigma," with its surprisingly hooky melody, great fugue interlude and wonderful keyboard noises in the last part. Then there's the laid-back Lake song "From the Beginning," which actually uses Emerson's keyboards in a way that doesn't sound even remotely invasive. "The Sheriff" starts off with an awesome drum solo and actually manages to sound both Western and futuristic at the same time, and while I haven't heard a more traditional version of Aaron Copland's "Hoedown," the one here is very enjoyable.
The title track, not surprisingly, has three parts, the first being just Lake's vocals and piano, the second and third featuring the entire band. There's more than a little Latin influence here, but it doesn't come off as cheesily as one might expect. "Living Sin" is the one weak link here, with Lake doing this dumb "threatening" voice that just ends up sounding insanely goofy. However, things finish off well with "Abaddon's Bolero," which is less of a rip-off of Ravel's original Bolero than a different piece in the same repetitive but compelling style.
This is a great ELP album that doesn't go quite as far over the top as some of their others, and it would be a pretty good choice to show to people who think the progressive genre as a whole sucks.

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