Friday, February 12, 2010

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Black Moon

3/10

The first full reunion album from ELP is firmly in the 80's vein despite the fact that it was recorded in 1992- the bass has that weird 80's effect, and the drums are either electronic or compressed as hell. Black Moon isn't really a good album, but it creates the illusion of being one due to front-loading all the best songs (the title track is dumber than you'd expect from ELP but a good arena rock song, "Paper Blood" has terrible lyrics but a wonderful chorus and good organ work from Emerson, and "Romeo and Juliet," the only classical adaptation here, is pretty strong and the synths are stuck in the 70's instead of 80's).
Unfortunately, there's little good beyond those tracks; the Lake ballads are as terrible as ever, with Emerson being mostly invisible (although there's an absolutely rancid synth-bagpipe solo on "Farewell to Arms") and Lake's voice is completely shot. His vocal performance on ELPowell was fine, but he's hard to recognize here; it's hard to believe that album was recorded less than a decade earlier. Emerson rarely shows any of the energy that he used to (the mostly slow and boring piano solo piece "Close to Home" is a prime example, although at least it's not as tacky as some of the other stuff on display here) There's even a terrible song that was written by the producer (has that ever been a good sign?)
Black Moon was another entry in a string of duds among ELP and not-quite-ELP projects. Except for a few strong tracks, it's completely ignorable.

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