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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Electric Family

Saba (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed several albums from The Electric Family in the past. I always land them under progressive rock, but it's not a tight fit. Perhaps this new release fits more in the space rock or jam band zone than some of their others. However you label this, though, the sonic tapestry is sometimes familiar and other times challenging and unique. It's always compelling, though.

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Track by Track Review
Side One
Sticker Che

Unusual musical textures are on display as this comes in. The cut rises upward with a real prog vibe. Then it shifts to more of a folk prog approach. The vocals make me think of Dire Straits to some degree. The weirdness that started this returns at the end, segueing it into the next piece.

Gull Sweat
While the folk prog concept is still at play here, this gets more rocking and has a lot of psychedelia and rock in the mix. There are some decidedly cool rocking moments built into this as it builds out later. This eventually shifts into Hawkwind-like space rock zones as it continues.
An up-tempo cut, I can hear this as mix of things like The Fall with the punky side of Hawkwind and maybe some hints of Dire Straits. This is a cool rocker that works really well.
Mr. Megalomaniac
Harder rocking, there are some hints of James Bond music in the mix on this. It's got some punky angles, but also some definite space rock things at play.
Alan The Arab
There is a weird mix of cafe music, space music and even healthy helpings of jazz in the mix here. There are some blasts of sound that feel a bit like King Crimson here, too. This is weird, artsy and so cool. There is a killer instrumental movement later that covers a lot territory before it's over.
Side Two
News From The Echo Room

A mid-tempo number, there is a tweaked and twisted angle to this proggy rocker. The vocals on this has a distorted vibe that makes them feel alien. There are some space rock vibes at play here.

La Fille Du Père Noël
More driving and hard-edged, there is a punky artsy angle here. The vocals are in German. This is cool stuff, although not the proggiest thing here. It definitely has plenty of modern psychedelia built into it, though.
Who's Your Dream Girl
Now, this song seems very much like something Hawkwind might do at least early. The instrumental section later takes it into some different directions with some world music and jazz emerging in the mix. There is also plenty of psychedelia in the arrangement.
I Love The Lighthouse
Folk rock, prog and psychedelia all merge on this driving powerhouse. It has some great jamming and a lot of energy. At over nine-and-a-half minutes of music, this is the epic of the set. They put that time to good use. There is even a harmonica solo section on the number.
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