Equilibrio Vital (Venezuela): Equilibrio Vital (Color 103-35032, 1983)
Elena Prieto (joint lead vocals)
Crossing hard rock and prog, Equilibrio Vital’s first album is a complex and powerful yet commercial and catchy affair. The opening ‘Guerra’ is both the longest and best track, with a great melody and riff; unsurprisingly, this was also released in edited form as a single. Annoyingly, the CD reissue (retitled Tributo À Marcos Chacón) omits the second best track ‘Tras Del Sol’ and adds some recent bonus material of dubious quality. GRADE: B–.
Equilibrio Vital (Venezuela): Kazmor El Prisionero (Color 103-35065, 1984)
Elena Prieto (joint lead vocals, synthesiser, percussion)
Opinions differ as to which of Equilibrio Vital’s two better-known albums is superior, but to me it’s no contest. This has shorter tracks than their debut, but the music is far heavier, much more complex and vastly more experimental – the opening cut on side two sets weird scat vocals against a barrage of psychedelic guitar pyrotechnics whilst a children’s choir puts in an incongruous appareance later on the same side. Once again, the CD reissue idiotically leaves off a track, making it pointless for serious collectors. The band cut a third album with Elena Prieto, Calor Humano, but only a few promotional copies escaped on cassette and I have never heard it. GRADE: B.
Equinox (Panama): Spirits Of Freedom (Medallón Cósmico MCR 003, CD, USA, 2000)
Dalys Toruño (lead vocals)
The only album I have encountered from Panama, Spirits Of Freedom blends typical Latin American stylings (Estructura and Equilibrio Vital immediately spring to mind) with a few high-tech quasi-Japanese touches (think Marge Litch et al). Throw in Dalys Toruño’s sharp, jazzy vocals and some metal edges (hinting, but thankfully only hinting, towards bands like Leger De Main and Presence), all over a solid symphonic base, and you’re left with a curious, intriguing and occasionally outstanding set. GRADE: C+.
Wendy Erdman (USA): Erdman (Audio Fidelity AFSD 6243, 1970)
Wendy Erdman (lead vocals)
The cover is decidedly psychedelic, but for the most part the music isn’t: this is gentle folky and jazzy singer/songwriter fare with electric band backing. Musically it’s pretty good, with a dreamy feel, but I don’t like her high-pitched, quavering, rather operatic voice at all. The best cut is the excellent closer ‘Help Me Sing The Sun Down’, which is quite trippy and features Peter Tork on bass. GRADE: C.
Eskape (West Germany): The Serpent (R&T 1994/1, CD, 1994)
Silvia Baehr (occasional vocals)
Alternating rather pop-ish songs and instrumentals, this amateurish album suffers from thin, synthesised backing that has dated rather badly. Some of the guitar work is quite good but the songwriting is decidedly uninspired, creating a tedious and forgettable album.
Eskape (West Germany): Sharp Bends Sudden Crests (QuiXote CD 1, CD, 1995)
Silvia Baehr (lead vocals)
Their second and final album is very different, offering song-based melodic rock with a few progressive edges. Like their first, it suffers from a very thin sound, once again with lots of programmed percussion (despite a live drummer being credited). Also like their first, it’s mostly very boring although one cut (‘Traveller’) surprisingly contains some excellent moments. GRADE: D+.
Eskaton (France): 4 Visions (Eurock EDC 05, cassette, 1981, recorded 1979)
Paule Kleynnaert (joint lead vocals), Amara Tahir (joint lead vocals)
Taking almost all their cues from Magma, Eskaton deserve few prizes for originality. However, musically this is stunning: taking the most energetic and violent elements of the Üdü Wüdü sound, they created a ferocious album filled with manic drumming, earth-moving bass, systemic keyboards, squalling guitars and powerful operatic dual female vocals. This is unlikely to please anyone not liking Magma (although it is slightly more accessible, being sung in French) but for anyone with a passion for zeuhl this is a masterpiece. Oddly, this was released after Ardeur, despite having been recorded earlier. GRADE: B.
Eskaton (France): Ardeur (Eskaton E 38001, with insert, 1980)
Paule Kleynnaert (joint lead vocals), Amara Tahir (joint lead vocals)
This is similar in style to 4 Visions but rather less frenetic and with less interesting compositions. Side one largely suffers from an echoing, trebly production, which can make it a tiring listen, but the more relaxed side two is more effective – particularly the gentle, violin-led ‘Un Certain Passage’. Strangely, this distinction is lost on the CD reissue, which substitutes a revised running order on the band’s instructions. GRADE: C+.
Eskaton (France): Fiction (Eskaton E 38301, 1983)
Paule Kleynnaert (joint lead vocals), Amara Tahir (joint lead vocals)
Their third album is sometimes even more relaxed, offering laid-back zeuhl in a completely different style to later Magma. With some new wave edges and a few experimental touches, this is an interesting and distinctive LP that builds up a head of steam on the second side. The band went on to cut a fourth and final album Icare that remains unreleased, although most of its cuts have been used as bonus tracks on their various CD reissues. GRADE: C+.
Esperanto (UK/USA/Australia/Belgium/Italy/New Zealand): Esperanto Rock Orchestra (A&M AMLH 68175, 1973)
Bridget Lokelani Dudoit (joint lead vocals, guitar), Janice Slater (joint lead vocals), Joy Yates (joint lead vocals, flute)
This large multinational rock band (including its own string section, so the ‘Orchestra’ tag was deserved) aimed to do for music what the language of the same name attempted for communication. Ultimately, both proved equally unsuccessful. This album is usually described as ‘progressive rock’, but that’s a misnomer: it has none of the ambition or scope that characterises prog. Instead, it’s a collection of fairly mainstream rock songs, from heavy and funky numbers to ballads, given epic arrangements that never quite overcome the mediocrity of the compositions. GRADE: C.
Esperanto (UK/Belgium/Italy): [Untitled] (Unreleased acetate, 1974)
Esperanto’s proposed second album, rejected by their label, offered an odd mixture of styles, with a mini-suite of three complex progressive rock songs bookended by more pop/rock-styled material recalling their debut. In the final event, the mini-suite was expanded into the Danse Macabre LP (with all three numbers re-recorded with male rather than female vocals), one of the other songs was issued as a single, and the remaining four cuts remained in the vaults until their albums were released on CD, when they were used as bonus tracks. GRADE: C+.
Esperanto (UK/Belgium/Italy): Danse Macabre (A&M AMLH 63624, 1974)
Bridget Lokelani Dudoit (occasional vocals)
Radically different from Esperanto Rock Orchestra, and to how the band had originally envisioned the album, this really is progressive rock – complex and well-structured, with long instrumental passages making excellent use of the string players. GRADE: B–.
See also Jubilation With Joy Yates & The Dave MacRae Beat, Pacific Eardrum
Esperanto (UK/Belgium/Italy): Last Tango (A&M AMLS 68294, 1975)
Kim Moore (joint lead vocals)
It’s still progressive rock, and they’re still recognisable as the band that cut Danse Macabre, but Esperanto’s final album often has a quite different feel. For a start, it’s much more song-based and much funkier, with ‘Still Life’ in particular having a strong disco feel in both the rhythm and the string work. Add in a bizarre opening cover of ‘Eleanor Rigby’, a dramatic soul-tinged singer and strange stereo separation on several tracks, and the result is a rather peculiar album. GRADE: C+.
See also Pacific Eardrum
Esperanza Encantada (Puerto Rico): Esperanza Encantada (Certron CS 7016, USA, 1970)
This trio of two girls and a boy (who look to be in their mid-teens from the cover picture) were from Puerto Rico and sing mainly in Spanish, but their album was released on a Nashville-based label. It’s a gentle folk/rock affair, mixing originals by one Al Klein and a number of covers; the spacious arrangements, pure and nervous vocals and slightly amateurish feel should appeal to acid-folk fans, although it’s not really psychedelic in any conventional sense. It is, however, sometimes eerily beautiful and definitely worth obtaining, especially for their versions of ‘If I Were A Carpenter’ (a song that perfectly suits their style) and ‘Gimme Shelter’ (complete with fuzz guitar). The long, multi-section ‘Manna’, with more fuzz and lots of hand percussion, is another highlight. GRADE: C+.
Espers (USA): Espers (Locust Music 44, CD, 2003)
Meg Baird (joint lead vocals, guitar, dulcimer), Brooke Sietinsons (guitar, percussion, harmonica)
This mostly female trio’s debut is a masterclass in trippy psychedelic folk. For much of the time, it creates an eerie, intimate vibe that makes one feel one is eavesdropping on the band, but the band know when to be heavy and freaky too. Distorted electric guitar leads seem to come of nowhere, delivering a ghostly presence, and they’re not afraid to work free-jazz and avant-garde jamming here and there. The end results could have been too wide-ranging to work effectively, but in fact they’re remarkably cohesive, and there’s barely a moment or even a note wasted here. GRADE: B.
Espers (USA): The Weed Tree (Locust Music L 73, CD, 2005)
Meg Baird, Brooke Sietinsons, Helena Espvall
For their second album (though the group apparently regarded it as a long EP), Espers doubled in size to a sextet. This didn’t affect their sound significantly, though this is a touch straighter than their debut (notwithstanding the heavy electric jam that develops in the latter part of the 10-minute ‘Flaming Telepaths’). Unlike their other albums, this consists mainly of covers and traditional songs rather than original material, but they adapt it to their idiom to such an extent that the only time it’s really noticeable is on the familiar ‘Rosemary Lane’. GRADE: B.
Espers (USA): II (Drag City DC310CD, CD, with digipak, 2006)
Meg Baird, Brooke Sietinsons, Helena Espvall
Album number three (despite its title) is possibly their best: heavier and more electric, with a rhythm section adding heft to their eerie psychedelic folk sound. Whilst many modern bands have attempted to recapture the atmosphere and moore of late sixties and early seventies acid-folk, Espers are among the few to have succeeded completely, and the modern edge they bring to the genre works equally effectively. GRADE: B.
Espers (USA): III (Drag City DC416CD, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and inner, 2009)
Meg Baird, Brooke Sietinsons, Helena Espvall
With the band slimming down slightly to a quintet, this is a little less heavy and rocking than its predecessor, and a touch more conventional too. However, they maintain a remarkably high standard, and this contains some wonderfully trippy Eastern-tinged acid-folk, rounding off an exemplary career in fine style. GRADE: B.
See also Baird Sisters, Helena Espvall
Esquire (USA): Esquire (Geffen RMED 00 0117, CD, 1987)
Nikki Squire (lead vocals)
Nikki Squire was Chris Squire’s wife; he contributes some backing vocals whilst Alan White provides some of the drums. It’s thus hardly surprising that this is AOR with pronounced Yes edges (as indeed was eighties Yes). If you like 90125, you’ll probably like this; to my ears, it’s competent enough and mildly interesting, though very much of its time. GRADE: C+.
Esquire (USA): Coming Home (WCP WCPCD 1011, CD, UK, 1994)
Nikki Squire (lead vocals)
Whilst Nikki Squire still occasionally resembles Jon Anderson, they’ve dropped the Yes references for a straightforward soft rock sound. This is well put-together, with hooks in all the right places, but whilst there’s nothing particularly wrong with it, there’s nothing particularly right with it either. GRADE: C.
Esquire (USA): III – No Spare Planet (Music ESQ003CD, CD, 2016)
Nikki Squire (principal vocals)
Esquire’s third and final album, issued to commemorate the death of multi-instrumentalist Nigel McLaren, sees their progressive roots returning on the opening ‘Ministry Of Life’. Overall it’s a definite step up from Coming Home, but they were by no means the world’s most exciting band. GRADE: C+.
Esthetic Pale (Germany): The Art Of Development (TDS 94102, CD, 1994)
Melanie Auer (occasional vocals)
The scarce first release by this German prog outfit runs for approximately 20 minutes, and offers a pleasant mix of instrumentals and songs. This isn’t the most ambitious album in the world, but it’s pretty good nonetheless, with some nice symphonic textures, and the presence of mainly male vocals and plenty of flute give it a different feel from their subsequent work. GRADE: C+.
Esthetic Pale (Germany): Tales From An Ancient Realm (No label, CDR, 1997)
Melanie Auer (joint lead vocals), Anja Schmitt (joint lead vocals)
Esthetic Pale's second effort starts promisingly, with a couple of long and intricate yet mellow pieces making good use of two contrasting female vocalists (one rockier, the other with an almost liturgical style) plus some nice Mike Oldfield-style tuned percussion. However, the second half consists of straighter mid-paced rockers that eventually become somewhat dreary. Nonetheless, there’s enough promise here to lift it above the glut of fair-to-middling neoprogressive. GRADE: C+.
Esthetic Pale (Germany): Hope (Spice, CD, 2000)
Melanie Auer (joint lead vocals), Katarina Nonhebel (joint lead vocals)
Like their second, this is something of a curate’s egg. It frequently hints that they have a damn good (not truly great, but damn good) album in them; on the other hand, some of the tempo changes are clumsily handled, the two singers’ voices don’t always blend well, and again this is sometimes rather plodding and dull. GRADE: C+.
Esthetic Pale (Germany): Long Forgotten Words (No label, CD, 2005)
Claudia Speicher (joint lead vocals), Katrin Litty (joint lead vocals)
This is their best album to date – confident, varied, mellifluous and melodic. That said, this isn’t a record that pushes any boundaries, but those lovely mellow symphonic prog will find plenty to enjoy here. GRADE: C+.
Esthetic Pale (Germany): Shelter From The Storm (No label, CD, 2013)
Claudia Speicher (lead vocals, flute)
Continuing the trend shown on their previous albums, this focuses on mid-paced songs with chunky guitar work, blending the most commercial end of Pink Floyd with some AOR touches. There are also a few incendiary instrumental passages, where the music really takes flight, but for the most part this isn’t the most energetic, or the most adventurous, of albums. GRADE: C+.
Estructura (Venezuela): Más Allá De Tu Mente (WEA 200.2421, 1978)
Marisela Pérez (joint lead vocals), Maria Eugenia Ciliberto (guitar)
Housed in a stunning psychedelic gatefold sleeve, this concept album offers lively keyboard-driven progressive rock that doesn’t break any new ground but is packed with energy and enthusiasm. The 1986 second pressing (Grabaciones Mundiales GM 200.2421) features a completely different black-and-white single sleeve and comes with a lyric booklet. As a footnote, this is exceptionally long for a single LP, running just over an hour. GRADE: B–.
Estructura (Venezuela): Estructura (Grabaciones Mundiales 200.2670, 1980)
Marisela Pérez (joint lead vocals), Maria Eugenia Ciliberto (guitar, backing vocals)
Their second and final album is much less ambitious than their debut, consisting of eight discrete tracks of around five minutes each. Some of these are fairly straight ballads and rockers, but others are excellent prog with energetic playing and lots of neoclassical touches. Although this is a much more straightforward LP, recalling Enfasis or Equilibrio Vital, I sometimes prefer it to their first. Lead guitarist Antonio Rassi went on to the hard rock band Fahrenheit, whose LP is also worth hearing, whilst Marisela Pérez joined the pop group Jade. GRADE: B–.
Et Cetera (Canada): Et Cetera (Apostrophe AP 8000, with insert, 1976)
Marie Bernard Pagé (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
This Quebecois progressive rock LP has an unusual sound, with dense yet playful arrangements, a light and breezy feel and a high level of complexity. The results are often quite strange, and little of the songwriting really sticks in the mind, but this is certainly a very original and interesting set that succeeds on its own terms. GRADE: B–.
Christien Eterman (Holland): Distances (Song Bird/Ferry F 29 110, with inner, France, 1980)
Christian Eterman (lead vocals, guitar, piano)
This Dutch singer/songwriter’s album is very much a multinational effort: recorded in Denmark, it was produced and arranged by Englishman Jo Partridge (who contributes guitars and percussion to most cuts, plus occasional bass) and pressed in France. Musically, the obvious reference points are Catherine Howe, Véronique Sanson, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon; Eterman is an excellent singer and Partridge provides effectively mellow soft rock backing. However, an album like this lives or dies on its songs, and Eterman’s material is ultimately good rather than great. GRADE: C+.
Christien Eterman & Martin Kolbe (Holland/West Germany): The Song (Munich BM 15024, Holland, 1983)
Christien Eterman (lead vocals, guitar)
Eterman’s second and final album – on which she provides the vocals and songs and Martin Kolbe most of the instrumental backing – is a logical step forward, whilst also taking her into different territory. About half the songs show an obvious influence from Hejira-era Joni Mitchell, with the same jazzy edges and sparse semi-electric backing. Several of the remainder are acapella, with her lyrics taking a more religious and spiritual direction, almost fringing new age. GRADE: C+.
Eternal Rock (Holland): Threshold (Eurosound Es 46.450, with insert, 1980)
Susanne Sanders (joint lead vocals), Veronica Roman (synthesiser, backing vocals), Mieneke Roman (backing vocals)
The opening ‘Life Can Be Hard’ sounds like a song-based Epidaurus, with some lovely swirling keyboard textures, but most of the rest is typical Christian soft rock, with a mixture of originals and covers. Some cuts are rather winsome, but others are quite mediocre, including their odd rewrite of ‘Lean On Me’ with Christian lyrics. On the plus side, the instrumental ‘Guess Who’s Coming?’ is very enjoyable, confirming the impression that they were at heart a frustrated prog band. GRADE: C.
Eternal Wanderers (Russian Federation): The Door To A Parallel World (MALS 262, CD, 2008)
Elena Kanevskaya (lead vocals, keyboards, recorder), Tatyana Kaneyskaya (guitar, bass)
Led by two sisters, this Russian band apparently started out playing electronic and electroacoustic music, but had moved towards mainstream prog by the time of their first album. The disc received rave reviews, but to my ears it’s thoroughly average neoprogressive, with influences from metal and to a lesser extent mediaeval music. The instrumentals are probably the best cuts, although they’re not especially brilliant either. GRADE: C.
Eternal Wanderers (Russian Federation): So Far And So Near (MALS 379, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2011)
Elena Kanevskaya (lead vocals, keyboards, sampler), Tatyana Konevskaya (guitar, sampler, backing vocals)
‘So far…’ indeed, as this is a world away from their underwhelming debut. Much more complex and adventurous, their second drops the metal undertones for a more mediaeval sound, though the underlying approach is space-rock, with arrangements centred around synthesisers and orchestration. Not everything works well, with a few of the knottier riffing sections being both messy and derivative, but this is an album of considerable intensity and depth, whether they’re offering lengthy instrumentals or the lovely folk/rock song ‘And I Will Follow’. GRADE: B–.
Eternal Wanderers (Russian Federation): The Mystery Of The Cosmic Sorrow (Mals MALS 414, double CD, with digipak and booklet, 2016)
Elena Kanevskaya (principal vocals, keyboards, sampler), Tatyana Kanevskaya (guitar, charango, sampler, backing vocals)
The Kanevskaya sisters return with their magnum opus: a huge work spanning two discs and 90 minutes. This mostly steps back from the complexity and fury of its predecessor without returning to the neoprog sound of their debut. Instead it mixes reasonably adventurous and elegant instrumentals (including one lasting 23 minutes) with some more straightforward songs, and consequently blends some fine moments with others that are more pedestrian. GRADE: B–.
Eternal Wanderers (Russian Federation): Journey Out Of Time (No label, download, 2017, recorded 2004)
Elena Kaneyskaya (lead vocals, keyboards, sampler), Tatyana Kanevskaya (guitar, keyboards, sampler, backing vocals)
The band’s ‘unreleased experimental album’ (recorded in 2004, revised in 2008, mastered in 2009 and finally released in 2017) ‘differs dramatically from all other EW’s discography [sic] and can be attributed to the genre of electronic/electroacoustic music’. The resulting album, recorded solely by the Kanevskaya sisters, isn’t quite as weird as that description would suggest, but it’s very spacy electronic cosmic prog with long tracks featuring occasional spoken vocals. It’s all very tripped-out and rather interesting, but I’d never choose it in preference to their last couple of albums. GRADE: C+.
Eternal Wanderers (Russian Federation): Homeless Soul (No label, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2020)
Elena Kaneyskaya (principal vocals, keyboards, sampler, Theremin), Tatyana Kanevskaya (guitar, keyboards, sampler, backing vocals)
This is back to business as usual for Eternal Wanderers, but its collection of rather diffident, rambling songs and instrumentals doesn’t exactly add up to world-class space-rock. In fact, it only really takes off with the sitar-laden closer ‘Invested With Mystery’, which suggests a whole new direction for them. GRADE: C+.
Eternity’s Children (USA): Eternity’s Children (Tower T-5123, 1968)
Linda Lawley (principal vocals)
Co-produced by the legendary Curt Boettcher, this is exactly the kind of lush, laid-back psychedelic pop you’d expect. But without any songwriting input from the band, it doesn’t display a great deal of personality and contains nothing that really sticks in the mind. The rather makeshift nature of the project is confirmed by the fact that ‘Rupert White’ is simply an old single by another Boettcher project, the Chocolate Tunnel, with new vocals overdubbed by the band, whilst ‘You Know I’ve Found A Way’ (also on the Sagittarius LP) apparently doesn’t feature Eternity’s Children at all. GRADE: C.
Eternity’s Children (USA): Timeless (Capitol 6302, Canada, 1969)
Linda Lawley (principal vocals)
Jettisoning Boettcher and taking control of their destiny, the band began writing their own material – but Tower cancelled the US release of their second and final album. It was consequently issued only in Canada, where it sold in tiny quantities, making it one of the rarest major label albums from the country. However, although punchier and more upbeat than their debut, it isn’t really any more substantial, so fails to justify its inevitably high price. GRADE: C.
Eternity’s Children (USA): From Us Unto You – The Complete Singles (Rev-Ola CD REV 87, CD, 1999, recorded 1967-1969)
Linda Lawley (occasional vocals)
Whilst this compilation duplicates a fair amount of material from their albums, most of the songs here are presented in their mono single mixes, making this a worthwhile purchase in its own right. As with their LPs, it offers pleasant baroque pop with some nice psychedelic edges, though none of it is truly distinctive. GRADE: C+.
Eternity’s Children (USA): The Lost Sessions (Gear Fab GF-200, CD, 2003, recorded 1966-1971)
This collection of mostly unreleased recordings largely focuses on the latter part of the band’s career, when they had started to move in a more soulful direction. It’s a nice collection of period pop, and unexpectedly includes a funky cover of Sly Stone’s ‘Somebody’s Watching You’. GRADE: C+.
See also Linda Lawley, Thieves
Etna (France/Algeria): Puzzle (Gimini Music GM 1005, CD, France, 1994)
Laura Mars (lead vocals)
Led by keyboardist and composer Didier Lebargy, this short-lived band included former Magma bassist Bernard Paganotti in its ranks. Their music is well-crafted jazz/rock with elements of zeuhl, sometimes recalling the lighter end of Magma circa Merci. The song ‘Murmures’ was co-written by Lydia Domancich, who also undertook some programming for the album. GRADE: C+.
Étron Fou Leloublan (France): Les Poumons Gonflés (Turbo-Music TMSA 3301, Switzerland, 1982)
Jo Thirion (keyboards, trumpet, backing vocals)
Typically French, this offers playful experimental jazzy prog with heavy influences from both the Canterbury and RIO movements. Varied and inventive, it’s a good album, but also a little insubstantial at the same time – which I suppose is par for the course. GRADE: C+.
Étron Fou Leloublan (France): Les Sillons De La Terre (Turbo-Music TMSA 3302, Switzerland, 1984)
Jo Thirion (occasional vocals, organ)
Much weirder and far more creative than its predecessor, this is as good an album of jazzy avant-prog anyone could hope for. With strong free jazz elements and the songs always going in unexpected directions, there is plenty of meat for lovers of experimental music here. GRADE: B.
Étron Fou Leloublan (France): Face Aux Éléments Déchaînés (RecRec Music/AYAA RecRec 08/DT 1085, Switzerland, 1985)
Jo Thirion (occasional vocals, organ)
As wild, experimental and creative as its predecessor, this is another great fusion of free jazz, progressive rock and new wave-ish elements. GRADE: B.
Étron Fou Leloublan (France): À Prague (Gazul GA 8669, CD, 2010?, recorded 1984)
Jo Thirion (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
This retrospective album is interesting not only for showcasing a Western rock band playing in the Eastern bloc (a rarity in itself) but also for demonstrating that Étron Fou could reproduce their complex craziness live. With highly energetic performances, this is a great album, and the Czech audience sound highly appreciative. GRADE: B.
See also Art Moulu, Zar
Euphoria (USA): Euphoria (Heritage HTS 35005, 1969)
Sharon Alexander, Wendy Becket
This quartet (not to be confused with a number of other bands named Euphoria) cut a beautiful and ornate album of sunshine folk/pop: given the dainty arrangements, they come dangerously close to over-egging the pudding, but the quality of Tom Pacheco’s material shines through. Following the LP’s commercial failure, the band split into two factions, with Pacheco and Sharon Alexander issuing their own LP whilst Roger and Wendy Becket (who contribute a few of their trademark electric autoharp flourishes here) went on to an unpredictable and fascinating career. GRADE: C+.
See also Sharon Alexander, Bermuda Triangle, Pacheco & Alexander, R & W Penney, Roger & Wendy
Euphoric Darkness (Mexico/USA): Colours You Can Hear (Poor Person Productions PPPR 13, CDR, with poster booklet and inserts, UK, 1997)
June Player (occasional vocals)
This instalment in the Poor Person Production series sees Dave Tor collaborating with the Mexican acid-rock Whao!, assisted by a number of guests including June Player and Eddie Pitman from Purple Algae. The resulting jams work well, sometimes hinting towards Gong, but echoed, semi-spoken vocals are dubbed over most of them, making one wish the album had been more instrumental, allowing the band to stretch out and create some really hypnotic moments. GRADE: C+.
See also Mynd Muzic, Purple Algae
Euthymia (Italy): Ultima Illusione (ElectRomantic Music ARTPG 2622, CD, 2010)
Chiara Raggi (joint lead vocals)
Although billed as a rock opera, this has none of the pitfalls of the genre, with the vocals being divided between male narration and female singing. The backing is richly symphonic, with a distinct early seventies sound, strong organ work and a nice line in soaring ballads. Personally, I would have liked it better without the narration and with a little more variety, but there is still plenty to enjoy here. GRADE: C+.
Eve (USA): Take It And Smile (LHI 3100, 1970)
Laura Polkinghorne Creamer (joint lead vocals), Marsha Jo Temmer (joint lead vocals), Joan Sliwin (joint lead vocals)
The band formerly known as Honey Ltd returns with a very different second album: this one mostly consists of covers, and has a strongly rural flavour (plus some soul and gospel touches). It’s nice enough, with some excellent harmonies, but not a patch on their previous incarnation. GRADE: C+.
See also Honey Ltd
Everyday People (Canada): Everyday People (GRT 9322-1002, 1971)
Pam Marsh (joint lead vocals, keyboards, percussion)
Hardly surprisingly, the album opens with a Sly & The Family Stone cover, but the rest of the material is original. Aside from the long, fuzz bass-driven ‘I Like What I Like’, it isn’t all that Family Stone-like, but it does offer good mainstream rock with funky and soulful edges. ‘I Get That Feeling’ is the album’s epic ballad, and owes a heavy debt to The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’, while ‘Nova Scotia Home Blues’ has some great heavy guitar. GRADE: C+.
Everyone Involved (UK/USA/Brazil): Either/Or (Arcturus ARC 4, with insert, UK, 1972)
Gillian Dickinson (joint lead vocals, percussion), Lúcia Turnbull (guitar, percussion), Freya Hogue (percussion, backing vocals), Punky Wilson
Born out of a protest against redevelopment works at Piccadilly Circus (as immortalised in the non-album single ‘The Circus Keeps On Turning’), this short-lived band cut one of the crowning glories of the English private pressing scene: a superb progressive/psychedelic folk set with all-original material and some stunning performances. The overall mood of the album could be described as Jethro Tull-meets-Incredible String Band, shot through with a hippie communal vibe. As a footnote, a few of the band’s members had connections with other underground outfits: Michael Klein was also a member of Solid British Hat Band, and later ran the Run River label and Lúcia Turnbull worked with Rita Lee, while Freya Hogue was ex-Sunforest. GRADE: B.
See also Cilibrinas Do Éden, Rita Lee, Solid British Hat Band, Sunforest, Lúcia Turnbull
Evil Edna’s Horror Toilet (UK): Too Much Gristle In The Blancmange (Better Days, cassette, 1986)
Jane Bradfield’s solo project – backed by members of the Ullulators and the Magic Mushroom Band – is a lo-fi melange of tripped-out dub reggae, garage rock and electronic effects. As that description suggests, it’s rather an intriguing little curio but not the most profound listening experience. GRADE: C+.
See also Cheapsuit Oroonies, Magic Mushroom Band, Ullulators
Suki Ewers (USA): Kind Of Hazy (Mind Expansion ME-2020, CD, with digipak, 2009)
The solo album by this Mazzy Star, Opal and Warm Inventions member is very similar to all three bands, so the title and label name are appropriate indeed. Whilst her voice isn’t as distinctive as Hope Sandoval’s, the music is of the same standard as Mazzy Star’s, so if you love them you’ll like this. As with most of her other recordings, there are no detailed musician credits; some sources suggest that Ewers contributed rhythm guitar, bass and keyboards in Mazzy Star, so she presumably plays the bulk of the instruments here. GRADE: B–.
See also Mazzy Star, Opal, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions
Executives (Australia): The Executives (Festival FL-32,813 / SFL-932,813, 1968)
Carole King (joint lead vocals)
This likable, unpretentious LP covers various strands of late sixties pop, from West Coast sunshine sounds to late beat to light psychedelia (the woozy ‘Moving In A Circle’, with its trippy stereo effects). The band harmonises well and arranges intelligently, and no more than a couple of tracks are below par, but with ‘Moving In A Circle’ the only self-penned cut the LP is fairly inconsequential. GRADE: C+.
Executives (Australia): The Executives On “Bandstand” (Festival FL-33,546 / SFL-933,546, 1968)
Carole King (joint lead vocals)
The title makes this sound like a live album, but these appear to be studio recordings, and all the material is new apart from a remake of their single ‘It’s A Happening World’. This time round, the band writes nothing at all, and the B-side is given over to medleys of songs by the Mamas & The Papas and from ‘Hair’. Coupled with a pointless opening cover of ‘Hey Jude’ (it’s pleasantly done, but did they really think they could trump the Beatles?) this suggests that they were aiming for cabaret and nightclub rather than rock audiences. The band’s only other releases were two rather odd repackages: …Now! (Universal Summit SRA-250.007, 1969) features side one of The Executives and side two of On “Bandstand” while It’s A Happening World (Universal Summit SRA-250.131, 1973) does precisely the reverse. GRADE: C.
Evergreen Dazed (UK/USA): Cloudbeams In Your Eye (Can’t Be Beat CBBMLP 3, 1992)
Elizabeth Bruce (lead vocals)
This duo of an American vocalist and British multi-instrumentalist deliver a charming and understated album of folk/rock, with some catchy original compositions. There are also a few slight psychedelic and experimental touches, with the whole thing having a dreamy, impressionistic and laid-back atmosphere. GRADE: C+.
Evergreen Dazed (UK/USA): Broken Road (Can’t Be Beat CBBCD13, Canada, 1998)
Elizabeth Bruce (lead vocals, piano)
I’ve seen this band’s music compared to Fleetwood Mac, of all people, and this time round it makes perfect sense. Completely losing the mild psychedelic and experimental edges of their debut, this is mellow soft rock: relaxed, folky and well-crafted, with its low-budget genesis detracting little if at all. GRADE: C+.
Evergreen Dazed (UK/USA): The AM Sounds Of Evergreen Dazed (Can’t Be Beat CBBCD23, Canada, 2002?)
Elizabeth Bruce (lead vocals, harmonica)
The title accurately sums up the contents, as this is another collection of pleasant, well-crafted folky soft rock. However, some people obviously hear their music very differently, as I discovered the band in a guide to nineties psychedelic music. GRADE: C+.
Exil (West Germany): Fusionen (FH Produktion 867, 1975)
Eva Lutz (cello)
An odd soft foldover sleeve/poster with abstract designs in red and beige holds an equally strange LP. This is best described as jazz-fusion, with the long electric piano and saxophone-led passages that moniker suggests, but it also contains some unusual songs and some mediaeval and chamber music elements as well. Overall, it’s austere, Teutonic and frequently quite surprising, partly due to an uncommon line-up including two cellists. This is an extremely rare LP, with quite a high price tag. GRADE: B–.
Exode (France): D’Ici Et D’Ailleurs (Muséa FGBG 4595.AR, CD, 2005)
Angélique Raoux (joint lead vocals, flute)
The basic style here is song-based progressive: symphonic and dramatic, with mainstream rock, AOR and slight metal leanings, topped off with ostentatious but gruff vocals from band leader Roland Lelong. It’s all well recorded but with occasionally amateurish musicianship, adding up to a rather odd listening experience. GRADE: C+.
Exodus (West Germany): Damit Du Mich Hörst… (No label GEMA 1016, 1979)
Uta Hornung (joint lead vocals, flute), Tina Weihe (joint lead vocals)
The opening title track is superb soft sympho-prog in the Carol Of Harvet vein, given epic dimensions by vast Mellotron choirs. However, the remainder is very similar to Peter Janssens’s work, sharing the same strengths (some lovely melodies and rich keyboard arrangements) and weaknesses (a few annoyingly jaunty tracks and an overall feeling that the music merely serves as a vehicle to support the preaching).
Exodus (West Germany): Wovon Menschen Leben (No label GEMA 1017, 1982?)
Uta Horning (joint lead vocals, flute), Claudia Dickerhoff (joint lead vocals)
Curiously, this is in a completely different style – and a completely different league – to their first album. Wovon Menschen Leben is a thoroughly enjoyable soft progressive set, with folk and pop edges and simple but very well constructed tracks fronted by good organ, flute and guitar work. This is certainly among the better Christian prog albums that I’ve heard, avoiding many of the pitfalls of the genre.
Exordium (UK): The Trouble With Adam (Face To Face FTF 1001, 1972)
With its massed vocals and simple acoustic guitar backing, this very rare Christian album often resembles Madrigal’s Under The Greenwood Tree. The big difference is that, whereas Madrigal mostly tackled cover versions, the majority of the songs here are originals. Both bands can be irritating when interpreting familiar songs (‘Put Your Hand In The Hand’ and ‘Glory Glory’ are quite excruciating here) but amateurishly winsome when performing their own compositions. In fairness, however, I do like Exordium’s jazzy take on ‘Summertime’, which is certainly one of the better versions attempted by any band in this volume. GRADE: C.
Exploding Sound Machine (UK): First Twist In The Tale (Hevisike HVSK-501, black CD single with minisleeve, autographed inner and insert, 2014)
Sarah (keyboards, backing vocals)
This three-track CD single, lavishly packaged and limited to 100 copies, offers excellent heavy psychedelia and space-rock with a highly trippy mood. The only drawback is that they didn’t manage a whole album, which could have been delightful. GRADE: B–.
Exploring Birdsong (UK): The Thing With Feathers (Long Branch/SPV SPC 298822 CD-EP, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2019)
The band describe themselves as a cross between ELP, Genesis and Kate Bush, but I can’t hear any ELP influence here and precious little Genesis; they’re not exactly Bush clones either. This is of that oddball modern singer/songwriter-meets-prog vein, broadly similar to the Beatrix Players, though the music here is dramatic and quite rocking whereas theirs is dainty and sedate. As such, this is all pleasant enough and demonstrates a certain amount of promise, but given that it’s a 21-minute EP for the download (increasing to a vast 25 minutes if you buy the CD with the bonus track) it’s hard to judge their real potential, so many listeners may consider The Thing With Feathers to be neither fish nor fowl. GRADE: C+.
Extradition (Australia): Hush (Sweet Peach SP 12003, 1971)
Shayna Karlin (principal vocals, organ)
This is one of the most legendary, and also one of the rarest, Australian albums. With a minimalist, chilly beauty, it’s a deeply spiritual record, with lots of world music elements worked into its sparse tapestry of acoustic folk. If it has a failing, its all very earnest: Vashti Bunyan and Magic Carpet would be good reference points, although any musical resemblance is fairly vague. Nonetheless, at its best this is lovely, delicate stuff, with a few moments of intensity effectively lifting the mood. The CD reissue (Vicious Sloth Collectables VSC016, 2003) adds half-a-dozen numbers from a live show, in 1970, which make their influences from British electric folk far more obvious. GRADE: B–.
See also Tully
Eyes Of Eden (Germany): Faith (Century Media 77711-2, CD, 2007)
Franziska Huth (lead vocals), Alla Fedynitch (bass), Sandra Schleret (backing vocals)
The hype sticker describes this as ‘female fronted gothic metal: hauntingly beautiful, bittersweet, mystical, dark, intense’. It’s certainly gothic metal, but far less ethereal than that description might suggest, with the richly melodic songs driven by powerful guitar riffs and Franziska Huth’s excellent vocals (delivered in a clear and straightforward style, without soprano affectations). Although Sandra Schleret was credited only as a guest, she co-wrote all the songs, so had more creative input than the two female band members. GRADE: C+.
See also Dreams Of Sanity, Elis, Enemy Of The Sun, Leaves’ Eyes, Siegfried