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TRACK LIST: 1. I Like Your Hair 3:39 2. Fresh Apples 3:45 3. Coffee With God 3:11 4. Spin 3:34 5. It's a Beautiful Day 3:19 6. Don't Freak Out About the Future 3:40 7. Stay Happy All Day 3:10 8. Turn on the Television 3:47 9. Groovy Man's Lament 3:01 10. Elevator Ride to the Sky 3:25 11. Joyride Finale 3:37 All tracks: by Gogo. Produced & engineered by Gogo. LINE-UP: Gogo - keyboards; vocals Pierre - sax & flute; vocals Lance - drums; vocals Moon - bass; vocals
Prolusion. "Joyride" is the debut album by the Vancouver Island-based (British Columbia, Canada) quartet, the name of which sounds both funny and witty: The SUPER GROOVY BAND (SGB hereafter).
Synopsis. Archetypes: Progressive Rock and Pop Rock. Benefactor(s): uncertain. Creed: Pomp Rock. As you can see above, each of the songs on the album is 3+ minutes in length. However, despite their brevity and the fact that all of them are vocal-heavy, they are interesting in their own way. Most songs contain a separate instrumental part, and the instrumental arrangements with the vocals are usually rather diverse. All of the band members are active everywhere where they have to be active, and solos of bass, for instance, are as inventive as those of keyboards, sax, etc. Inspired by the seventies' Pomp Rock, the band effectively combines accessibility and progressiveness. While being instantly accessible, the music is tasty and, what's most important, original and attractive and has some old-fashioned feel to it throughout. With the exception of Groovy Man's Lament (9), the title of which sounds eloquent, all the songs on the album are exclusively light, optimistic, and even clearly joyful in character. The style is monolithic and is a blend of Pop Rock, Art-Rock, and Jazz-Fusion where the latter is mainly the department of a saxophonist. Many tracks feature the sounds of Mellotron, which, along with the improvisation-like solos of sax form one of the central factors that make the album sound original, and, by the way, the absence of guitar seems to be more than merely defensible in this case. The album's closing track Joyride Finale (11) is the only instrumental piece here. This is the work of classic symphonic Art-Rock and, thus, is my absolute favorite, which, though, doesn't mean that the other tracks are weaker. There are plenty of rather specific choir parts on the album. One may find some resemblance between SGB and Gentle Giant, but not me, as due to the seeming character of these similarities any speculations on the matter would be erroneous.
Conclusion. As usual, I consider originality and sincerity the main trumps of an artist, and SGB possesses these qualities in spades. Nevertheless, I'd be much more positive about the band if their sophomore CD would be more diverse and intricate than "Joyride".
VM: June 25, 2004
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