Although recorded in London, this album of very atmospheric and melodic progressive rock by what seems to be a Scottish crew was only released in Germany. The music is generally very thoughtful and in quite a few places bluesy. Still there is your usual share of guitar solos and organ riffs, at times provoking Beggars Opera at their least arty. The album is undoubtedly as good as most in this class and it is hard to understand why they couldn't secure a UK release. The cover depicts a miraculous painting by Lyonel Feininger, a sure sign of good taste.
The opener, “Love Is Life”, is a rambunctious rocker with a relentless drum beat, great dynamic breaks and an underlying organ riff, kicking the doors open in style. “I Couldn’t Face You” is a ballad with an interesting bluesy melody and a piano-organ arrangement reminiscent of Procol Harum. Following the slow melancholy of “Blues Song”, there’s the odd “Man In A Boat”, a cod-psychedelic trip featuring once again Gary Brooker-like Hammond sound – slow-paced and majestic and set to an almost marching beat.
Mid-song it resolves into an energetic mid-paced rocker. “Ain’t It A Pity” captures and preserves for posterity the freewheeling spirit of the times perfectly – complete with free-flowing organ, piano and guitar parts and uninhibited, commanding and attention-grabbing vocals. “Tree Of Life” takes the pace down a notch but continues on in much the same style; and tells a story.
The most meandering track on this otherwise near-perfect album is “Sad Man Reaching Utopia” – clocking up at 10:51. Almost great, and a shame they didn’t go beyond this debut. The CD was “mastered” from a vinyl copy, as the original master tapes were most likely lost.
by Marcel Koopman and Alex Gitlin
1. Love Is Life - 6:10
2. I Couldn't Face You - 8:03
3. Blues Song - 4:17
4. Man In A Boat - 4:52
5. Ain't It A Pity - 3:52
6. Tree Of Life - 3:55
7. Sad Man Reaching Utopia - 10:50
8. Fussin And Fighting - 6:51
*John Barclay - Guitar, Vocals
*Jimmy Forest - Keyboards, Vocals
*Davy Patterson - Vocals, Bass
*Pete Gavin - Percussion
Free Text II