01. Intrepid Traveller (6:20)
02. Space Brothers (6:14)
03. Everyman (5:00)
04. Atlanteans (7:11)
05. The Spirit Of Music (3:54)
06. Long Dancer (5:21)
07. The Dimension Man (7:58)
08. E'Mocean (4:35)
- Duncan Hammond / organ, synthesizer, piano, ellophonium, voices, Mellotron
- Michael Ponczek / organ, synthesizer, Chamberlain
- Wils Sharpe / guitar, mandolin, voices
- Brad Stephenson / bass, voices
- Mark Richards / percussion
With an original album on a major label such as Capitol, some may find it strange that the only way to obtain Ethos' classic debut "Ardour" on CD is via a Japanese press. But perhaps not so strange given the pathetic stance of the money hogging pop culture of the music business in America. 1976 was a different time and place for both American culture and business in general. So an album like Ethos could squeak in on a major label, make a decent profit, and everyone would go home happy. Today, I'm sure Ethos is held up at corporate meetings as a prime example of "Mistakes from the Past - How to Avoid them, a Seminar".
Ft. Wayne's Ethos were like many bands of the Midwest whose obsession with Yes, Genesis and Gentle Giant are well documented. These English progressive bands would enjoy regular airplay on the local underground, and very popular, FM stations played throughout the region. Concerts were met with great enthusiasm, and any kid that possessed a great talent for musicianship along with a hyperactive imagination, were quickly assembling together a band and making a go of it for themselves. Most ended up nowhere. Some procured a private release handed out at sparsely attended concerts by local union workers who were more interested in the booze and broads than the music itself. And then a few made the "big time". In this scenario, Ethos were one that MADE IT. Today, they're the kind of band that late middle aged guys whisper quietly about in a game of I-know-more-about-music-than-you-do. As in "I own an album I bet you haven't heard, that's way cool - a band called Ethos. Bet you haven't heard of them!". So basically popular enough to still be called out by over-aged dorks, yet too obscure for anyone at Corporate America to give a rat's ass about. Pretty much sums up the American progressive rock scene of the 1970s doesn't it?
Ethos was a little known American prog rock band that came from an unlikely place: Fort Wayne, Indiana. Kinda strange to see a prog band coming from an area of the country that tends to be conservative. But they were lucky and got signed to Capitol Records, and went to New York and got busy recording this album. The band seemed to be lead by guitarist/vocalist Wil Sharpe, the rest of the band consisted of keyboardist Michael Ponczek, drummer Mark Richards, bassist Brad Stephenson, and keyboardist L. Duncan Hammond. This album isn't exactly what I call essential, this is an American band trying to be European, but still sounding American (at least Kansas had the sense of sounding American). The vocals still sound quite American, but there band had the benefit of two keyboardists, in which Moog and Mellotron are the most dominant. The lyrics all have that cosmic sci-fi theme that seemed to be a common theme to many prog bands in 1976. The cover to the LP has an Atlantean theme. The music can be a bit on the clichéd side, lyrics included, like the opening "Intrepid Travellers". "Atlanteans", as you might guess, is the song describing the cover. The lyrics seeme to more speak of Atlantis in the present tense, rather than the famous rise and destruction (like what Earth & Fire did three years before with their Atlantis album or Eloy did one year later with Ocean). "Spirit of Music" has some rather dumb lyrics lamenting about how the rock scene isn't the same in 1976 as it was in 1964, which is really odd, given they were playing prog rock, which is hardly supposed to sound like anything bands were doing in '64! And like the rest of the album, "Spirit of Music" is prog rock.