Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lift - 1974 - Caverns Of Your Brain

Lift 
1974 
Caverns Of Your Brain
 


01. Simplicity   
02. Caverns   
03. Buttercup Boogie   
04. Trippin' Over The Rainbow   

- Chip Gremillion / Hammond B-3, Mellotron 400, electric & acoustic pianos, Moog Sonic Six, ARP Odyssey
- Cody Kelleher / Rickenbacker bass and Taurus bass pedals
- Chip Grevemberg / Rodgers drums, chimes, gongs, bells, percussion
- Richard Huxen / lead guitar, electric & acoustic guitars, steel slide guitar
- Courtenay Hilton-Green / lead vocals, flute


From the USA came Lift, an enthusiastic and talented progressive ensemble that released their debut album "Caverns of Your Brain" during the second half of the 70s, although their repertoire at the time was older ,as well as more abundant than the one finally container in the original release. What we have here is a combination of vibrating melodic symphonic prog (pre-Howe Yes, Flash), the energy of "Remember the Future"- era Nektar and the eerie ambiances of Floydian inspiration, generally for the softer parts of the material. Hilton-Green's vocal timber helps the band to keep their Yessian tendencies well alive. The musical ideas are more focused on dynamics than on solidity, which makes them stand closer to their compatriots Quill and The Load and less closer to Kansas and Babylon (just to name other compatriots): the musicians of Lift are more into deepening the potentials of their musical ideas and transform them into robust jamming in an ordered fashion, yet revealing wide space for freedom in the culmination of their sonic expression. Given the special role assumed by orchestrations, leads and ornaments on his instrumental array, keyboardsman Chip Gremillion manages to become the band's musical leader, although this factor shouldn't stop the listener from noticing the fluidity of the rhythm section's input. The bass player takes his Squire influences into a solid territory of his own, while the drummer provides a very interesting swing to his performances. This recording kicks off with 'Simplicity', a pretty joyful number that expands itself in combining tempos of 4/4 and 7/8 in order to exploit the catchiness of the main motif. It is a simplistic yet effective motif, indeed. 'Cavers' portrays a more solemn mood built on a slow rhythm pace. There is plenty of room for the elaboration of mesmeric synthesizer and mellotron layers, which set a majestic pace for the appearance of ethereal guitar leads (perhaps a steel guitar?). Very Floydian in essence, although it patently bears a sense of pomposity that leans them closer to the Yes Thing. 'Buttercup Boogie' is a boogie rock built on a bluesy organ motif that is displayed in a very frantic tempo. This is the catchiest tune in the album, but not without its old fashioned progressive complexity - that is, here you will find well crafted guitar and keyboard solos, as well as the crucial momentary bass guitar adornments, while the drummer keeps himself busy and concentrated on maintaining a perfect precision while things keep going on. The last 11 minutes are occupied by the album's highlight, the epic 'Trippin' over the Rainbow', which comprises the most complex articulation of various musical motifs. The alternation between the most serene and the rockiest passages is very well balanced, and again, Gremillion's predominant role on keyboards (especially mellotron and synthesizers) proves essential for the preservation and consistent enhancement of the song's orchestral feel all the way through. While not being a groundbreaking album per se, this Lift effort is a real progressive lost gem that is awaiting a proper recognition from prog collectors. "Caverns of Your Brain" should be a valuable item for genuine symphonic prog lovers.

1 comment:




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