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"Cracked Egg Records" (USA) - Overall View

Plastic Overlords - 2000 - "Plastic Overlords"
(46 min, 'Cracked Egg')

****

Line-up: David Noel - bass, keyboards, guitar, vocals; Eric Hand - guitars; Brad Johnson - drums.

With: Greg Holter - bass

Composed mostly by Noel, Hand / Noel & Hand / Noel / Johnson.


Alloy Now - 2000 - "Twin Sister of the Milky Way"
(42 min, 'Cracked Egg')

****

Line-up: David Noel - vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar; Gordon Noel - violin; James Bridges - drums, backing vocals.

Composed mostly by D. Noel.


Prologue. I've decided to unite both reviews on the aforementioned CD-R albums in one material because actually both these independently released albums, led or co-led by a man named David Noel, were just labeled by him as "Cracked Egg Records" production. All right, the two first "CER" units, as well as the 'company' itself, were formed just last September. (Yet!) In case with Plastic Overlords it's turned out that they had time enough to compose, perform, record and release their debut album already within three weeks after the band's formation. (Again, this reminds me of noodles hanging on ears - kindaAabsurrrd! Hey guys, if you're living in Timelessness can you please get at least a 48-hour day for me?). While Mr. Noel officially presents "Cracked Egg" as a small label specializing on the British-sounding psychedelic Rock music, both the Plastic Overlords and Alloy Now debut albums represent not too psychedelic yet a really British kind of pre-Progressive.

"Plastic Overlords". The Plastic Overlords self-titled debut album was crafted as a result of joint work of all the three band members each of whom participated in the composing process. With a distinct English feel on the album throughout, half of the songs here clearly remind of early Pink Floyd at their progressive best; other songs remind of Procol Harum, to name a few British bands that played pre- and / or semi-Progressive Rock by the end of the 1960's and in the early 1970's. Talking of the band's influences, I'd like to notice, however, that Plastic Overlords didn't steal anything from anyone. When I began to listen to this album I was quite highly impressed with the three first tracks: A Moment of Silence, The Sunburst Going Sour (with House Atreides as the second part of the song), & Plastic Overlords. Quite long (up to 10 minutes), all these songs are filled with diverse and on the whole original instrumental and vocal arrangements. Beginning with track 4 and up to the last track (on which the band is back to show some of its progressive ambitions once again) progressive structures give way to rather more straightforward forms typical for the majority of British pre-progressive bands of the second half of the 1960s. It was very unexpected to hear The Shade of the Sun with a complete Beatles-alike sound right after that wonderful 'progressive Three' (crowning?) at the start of the album. Both instrumental tracks (5 & 7) represent quite accessible compositional textures and one of them is downright simplistic (White Plastic Pavilion: it seems these guys like some plastic things). Track 6 (The Number) has some interesting spacey and psychedelic episodes, but I wouldn't dare to call this song truly progressive, except that with the same prefix "pre-". Overall, especially keeping in mind that the three first tracks are really outstanding in their own right (akin to the Dawn of the Genre), this is a good album even from the 'progressive' point of view.

"Twin Sister of the Milky Way". Alloy Now's debut album is, on the whole, less progressive than the three prog-winners I just talked about, but more integral than "Plastic Overlords". All seven songs of "Twin Sister of the Milky Way" have the equal number of accessible yet nicely done semi-progressive arrangements, especially those with the violin as a 'premier' solo instrument (like on A Sunny Day In England). Doubtless, fans of early British pre-Progressive and anyone who misses or feels a nostalgia for that specific sound of the 1960s should love this album. VM. May 3, 2001

VM. May 4, 2001


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