Monday, 8 March 2021

Aphrodite's Child


End Of The World (1968)

End Of The World/Don't Try To Catch A River/Mr.Thomas/Rain And Tears/The Grass Is No Green/Valley Of Sadness/You Always Stand In My Way/The Shepherd And The Moon/Day Of The Fool

This was an oddity - Greek prog rock. Featuring future successful artists in keyboard wizard Vangelis and high-pitched housewives' favourite Demis Roussos it was an interesting mixture of classical keyboard influences, vibrant druggy percussion and melodic woodwind, all delivered with a Greek ear for a tune.

End Of The World is both tuneful and bombastic at the same time, with Demis Roussos's instantly recognisable falsetto floating around in dreamy fashion over Vanhelis's classically, influenced grandiose piano. Don't Try To Catch A River is a lively piece of frantic, crazy psychedelic pop that I can't help but enjoy. They throw all sorts of madcap instrumentation in here - the afore-mentioned woodwind, percussion and keyboards. The drumming, from Loukas Sideras, is great on it too as is the bass.

The semi-spoken Syd Barrett-influenced Mr. Thomas is best forgotten but Rain And Tears, which appropriates Pachelbel's toccata and fugue, is a baroque delight. The Grass Is No Green is a wonderfully spaced-out slow psychedelic number, so evocative of much of 1968's material. Remember also that this very proggy organ-driven number was from 1968, considerably ahead of much prog rock. This album was more ground-breaking and influential than you might think. 

Valley Of Sadness is another baroque song that breaks out into some floor-shaking heavy passages. You Always Stand In My Way is a strong prog rocker with wild organ and a Robert Plant-esque vocal. It ends up as a bit of a racket, though, I have to say.

The Shepherd And The Moon is a sort of Greek folk song on LSD, full of  rustic, Eastern influences but also proggy changes of pace and a pretentious, spoken part. There is an appeal to its madness, though. Day Of The Fool is a bit of a mess, however, not really getting anywhere and going round in proggy circles.

666 (1972)

This was the group's final album, and, true to prog tradition, it was a sprawling, indulgent double album based on The Book Of Revelation (apparently). It goes on for an hour and a half and is, sadly, pretty much unlistenable, save for the best-known number on there, The Four Horsemen, which is a solid piece of heavy prog rock, the chugging Altamont and the more relaxing instrumental, Aegean Sea

The twenty minute-plus All The Seats Were Occupied "suite" (again typically prog rock) also contains some solid, heavy passages and some nice drums near the end, which I like, but you have to sift through the endless ambient noises to find them. As usual with these things, it goes on far too long.

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