Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ache - 1976 - Pictures From Cyclus 7

Ache
1976 
Pictures From Cyclus 7


01. Cyclus 7, Introduction (3:20)
02. Roses (Registering) (6:17)
03. Still hungry (Vampyre song) (7:03)
04. What Can We Do? (0:47)
05. Still registering (2:53)
06. Our Lives (5:53)
07. Last Part 1 (1:02)
08. Outtroduction (4:07)
09. Last Part 2 (1:45)
10. Expectation (6:48)


- Stig Kreutzfeldt / vocals, percussion
- Johnnie Gellett / vocals, percussion, acoustic guitar
- Finn Olafsson / guitars
- Peter Mellin / keyboards, harmony vocals
- Steen Toft Andersen / bass
- Gert Smedegaard / drums



Released in 1976 5 years after their second album Green Man and with a completely revised line up, Pictures From Cyclus 7 was not only Ache's best album, but the best Danish prog album period. I have heard quite a few bands from Denmark, Norway, et all and been hugely let down trying to find something along this album's lines of melodic disciplined progressive pop/rock with no self indulgence whatsoever. Ache had made two high quality if inconsistent psychedelic/progressive records in the form of De Homine Urbano and Green Man, but this line up of 6 musicians + lyricist Bo Lillesoe made what is the unbeatable album from the Nordic Realm. The music is best described as "cosmic" progressive pop/rock- a cross hybrid of late 60s pop influences (the vocals), dark psychedelia (the guitars, lyrics, some vocals, some keyboards), and symphonic prog (Procol Harum/Genesis influence- particularly Procol H.) The lyrics are really sinister while the music is fairly subdued, extremely melodic, and one could even say lushly symphonic with liberal use of synthesizer, organ, and mellotron. The group were not aiming for an "Anglo" sound, but instead for something uniquelly dark and as freezing as a Danish winter, with some UK influences much in the background. Sung entirely in English, the two vocalists have extremely appealing voices and the dreamy melodic vocals could lead to comparisons with England's Deep Feeling (why don't you guys put this album up here- it's THE BEST!!!) and Kayak, while the heavily phased and distorted guitar takes on psychedelic overtones which makes this symphonic/psychedelic hybrid a unique record. So what makes this album so good you might ask? There is a lot of heart and a lot of warmth in this music, it is as uplifting as it is ominous, and the careful attention paid to songs instead of solos is very refreshing. Things are at their murkiest on "(Still Hungry) Vampire Song" which is pretty harrowing, creepy, and really, really abrasive lyrically and the exact opposite musically. The chorus is pure Salty Dog/Shine On Brightly period Procol Harum while the vocals sound seriously drugged in a natural rather than chemical induced way- although it may have been both. There is no track I wouldn't say is an absolute killer on this album, and the diversity helps a great deal. Here you have uptempo melodic pop laced rock in the Introduction, complex prog in "Roses," and a marriage of pop, prog, and heavy psychedelia in the closing track. Everything any MUSIC fan could want is here- flawless musicianship, great vocals, a fab production, and most importantly great songs. The music is not aimless like on some of Ache's earlier works which are still good, and also there is no "experimental" or "free jazz" yammering like so much of these overrated Danish bands (Burnin Red Ivanhoe etc). If you are looking for the best Danish record for progressive rock this is the album to do it, and it blows hyper expensive doggerell like Old Man And The Sea out of the water! I would even go so far as to say that at this point in time Ache were a world class band who could stand up to anybody from anywhere. Unfortunately, the line up that recorded this album fell apart, leaving behind but one masterpiece much coveted by me and I hope a few others.

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