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Lady Lake - 1980/2006 - "Unearthed"

(65:45 / Musea Records)

TRACK LIST:                   
1.  Sunburst in Bognor 5:46 
2.  The Hulk 5:32 
3.  Tea Time 3:24 
4.  Lady Like 3:30 
5.  22 CM II 10:07 
6.  I Only Wanted a Girlfriend 3:43 
7.  Lochem 6:54 
8.  Jimmy Wakes Up 5:58 
9.  Must Have Been More Than 5:31 
10. Magic Twanger Demo-'75 3:06 
11. Magic Twanger Live-'98 11:59


Leendert Korstanje - keyboards
Fred Rosenkamp - guitars
Ian Dubbe - drums 
Eddy Bakker - bass

Prolusion. Officially, "Unearthed" is the third release by LADY LAKE, from the Netherlands. According to the group however, all nine of the basic tracks of this CD were recorded in 1980 (in one take, with no overdubs or any further post-production either) as demos for their second 'missed album'.

Analysis. The sound quality of this disc leaves much to be desired, in which is no wonder though, as the band only digitized those nine done-at-one-sitting demos via the Technics deck before mastering them, and that's all. (The even sadder story of the bonus tracks is yet to come.) So, Lady Lake's discography has been enlarged by a set of their archival sketches, which weren't even put into shape for a CD release - 26 years after they were recorded. As to the music as such, since I haven't heard the group's first outing, "No Picture", I only can compare "Unearthed" to their second release, "Supercleandreammachine". To be brief, the hero of this occasion is a pale shade of that effort, to put it mildly. If you are versed in Prog Rock, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to find out the roots of this muzak on just one hearing. Besides, if you have heard "I Can See Your House From Here" by Camel and Saga's "Images at Twilight", plus can remember the most ordinary tracks from those albums, you have already half-opened the content of this untombed entity. Four of the nine 'original' instrumentals, Sunburst in Bognor, The Hulk, Lady Like and I Only Wanted a Girlfriend (But Got Married) , are all symphonic rockers with a certain hint of Saga, though on the other hand, I can't remember any song from that Canadian band's repertoire that would be both as groovy and featureless as these. Each is woven for the most part of rhythms, the occasional guitar and synthesizer solos never intersecting each other. The chord progression is fully predictable; the mood is invariably elated, i.e. exceptionally monotonous. It is even possible to dance to these - above all 'thanks' to Ian Dubbe whose extremely straightforward drumming reminds me of some of the most badly programmed machineries. Okay, there are some drum breaks here and there, as well as the band's joint stop-start movements, but all these are performed in such a primitive way that it is really hard to take them as progressive features, especially in the absence of vivid pace changes. Despite their pop-rock nature and general simplicity as well, there are no even memorable tunes on any of the said four cuts. The Camel-influenced pieces, 22 CM II, Tea Time, Lochem, Jimmy Wakes Up and Must Have Been More Than, all leave a bit better impression, each having a light jazzy feeling in places. There are some fine guitar and keyboard playing to be found on each, but nevertheless, none is on a par with any of Camel's creations, by far. The 10-minute 22 CM II seems to be overextended, as it's for the most part ballad-like in character. The two bonus tracks, Magic Twanger Demo-'75 and Magic Twanger Live-'98 are, that being said, each in turn an embryonic and the most recent take on the eponymous tune from the group's first outing, "No Picture. The first features no drums, sounding like two or three schoolboys playing rhythms in unison before some antediluvian microphone. Naturally, the track's 1998 live version has a full-band sound, but its sound quality is surprisingly terrible too.

Conclusion. It's completely beyond me why two, both repellent, versions of the available composition were added to this CD which is both long and miserable enough already without these. Having breathed life into this their originally abortive project, Lady Lake have just compromised their reputation.

VM: March 12, 2007

Related Links:

Musea Records


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