Monday, February 8, 2010

Emerson, Lake and Powell - s/t

4/10

Keith Emerson and Greg Lake decided to reunite in 1986, but Carl Palmer was playing drums for Asia at the time, so they hired journeyman drummer Cozy Powell (most famously of Rainbow) to take his place.
This is a very 80's album, with godawful drum production and incredibly cheesy synth tones (synthesizers should NEVER attempt to emulate the sound of a horn section- disaster will inevitably result), but there are still some good parts- "Touch and Go" is incredibly catchy, with a great Emerson solo, and there's some of ELP's great approach to classical music with a fine rendition of "Mars, the Bringer of War".
Unfortunately, most of the rest of the album is made up of dull AOR songs. Even the longer ones aren't "progressive" in any real way besides the fact that they're long. The worst songs here are the adult contemporary "Love Blind," the vomitous lounge-jazz of "Step Aside", and the ridiculously oversentimental "Lay Down Your Guns"- and they're all in a row!
Another problem is that Powell is no Palmer- his drum patterns aren't nearly as complex and are generally just simple stuff that one could have heard on any hard rock or metal album of the era. I guess it's an improvement over "Emerson, Lake, and Drum Machine," but that's not saying a whole lot. Then again, Emerson and Lake's songwriting isn't close to what it used to be- it says a lot that a bonus track that's an instrumental cover of "The Loco-Motion" is one of the most entertaining songs on here. ELPowell is easily forgettable.

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