top of page



Liars Dance (Switzerland): Liars Dance (No label QS 261 088, CD, 1995)
Baba O’ Riley (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
This Swiss band uses rock arrangements sparingly, with acoustic guitars being the dominant instrument. However, when they do, it’s to great effect, as on the powerful and lengthy ‘Stuck On The Hill’, with its well-executed shifts of mood and almost subliminal heavy electric guitar riffs, whilst the closing ‘Pictures Sliding Down The Wall’ climaxes with an excellent electric solo. That said, this certainly isn’t traditional folk, with almost everything being self-penned and with the music having a bluesy, breezy feel similar to Led Zeppelin’s folkier moments. Indeed, it’s no accident that they cover ‘That’s The Way’, which works as effectively as their own compositions. GRADE: B–.
Liars Dance (Switzerland): Mystery Tales (Farewell QS 241 263, CD, 1996)
Baba O’ Riley (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
Their second and final album is much more wide-ranging than their first and also much more electric, with the distinctive sound of its predecessor largely lost. The disc varies from an excellent cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Feel It’ to the full-blown metal of ‘Indian Summer’s Last Stand’, but much of the rest is singer/songwriter-tinged folk/rock and light rock of a rather average standard. GRADE: C+.
See also Velvet Voyage

Francis Lickerish (UK): Far And Forgot – From The Lost Lands (Secret Green SG001, CD, with gatefold minisleee, 2012)
Hilary Palmer (lead vocals, flute)
Whilst credited as a Francis Lickerish solo album, this is to all intents and purposes the second Secret Green LP. Musically, it offers a similar mixture of progressive rock and pastoral classical music, albeit without To Wake The King’s folkish and mediaeval edges. Again, it’s very accomplished and frequently quite impressive, though I find that the rock and classical elements don’t blend quite so well this time round. GRADE: B–.
See also Palmer•Coulson, Secret Green

Liettyä Project (Finland): Sturm (Prof-Art PRALP-001, with insert, 1986)
Minna Liettyä (lead vocals)
This brother-and-sister duo’s album was recommended to me by a friend, who described it as a progressive masterpiece and compared it to ‘Mike Oldfield’s best work’. All I can say is that I wish I could have some of whatever he’s smoking. Not progressive in any way, this is straightforward melodic rock – catchy, nicely-played and atmospheric, but closer to Eurythmics than to Oldfield. GRADE: C+.

Life After Life (UK): Life After Life (Time Track SRT5KL453, with insert, 1985)
Annie Burton (lead vocals), Sue Day (backing vocals)
It’s not widely known, but following the release of Time-Line, Renaissance changed their name to Life After Life (with Annie Haslam adopting the pseudonym ‘Annie Burton’) and issued this obscure private pressing. They didn’t, of course, but it’s remarkable how similar this sounds to late seventies and early eighties Renaissance. I was rather dismissive of this on first listen, but having heard a great deal of mediocre prog since, it’s good to note that this band really knew how to craft a tune. There are a few unwelcome eighties touches (occasional funky basslines and lugubrious saxophone on a couple of cuts) but for the most part this is extremely well arranged, performed and produced, and it holds up well against their mentors’ contemporary work. In any case, the mainly instrumental title track is probably the best thing on offer, whilst the closing ‘Communication’ is the least characteristic, hinting at a Joni Mitchell influence. The promotional letter with my copy suggests ‘you listen carefully to “Journey Home” and “Look Ahead” as singles with a difference – they would cut right across age barriers and if given airplay could do very well’ but Renaissance themselves weren’t bothering to issue albums in 1985, so Life After Life stood no chance of selling in any quantity. Indeed, the album sank without trace and was already fêted as a three-figure rarity within just a few years of its release. GRADE: C+.

See also Aon

Life Line Project (Holland): Life-Line (No label, cassette, with booklet, 1989)
Anja Dirkzwager (occasional vocals), Jacqueline Blom (occasional vocals)
The long-running and prolific Life Line Project was the brainchild of composer and multi-instrumentalist Erik de Beer, who plays every instrument on the album. The format immediately recalls a Mike Oldfield album, with a 15-minute instrumental suite followed by a number of shorter songs and instrumentals, and the lush symphonic arrangements and fine recording avoid the thin, synthesised sound typical of one-man projects. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): Deadline (No label, cassette, with booklet, 1990)
Anja Dirkzwager (joint lead vocals), Jacqueline Blom (occasional vocals), Tineke van Dijk (occasional vocals), Petra Klaver (occasional vocals)
Aside from the sub-two minute title track, album number two is entirely song-based, alternating between bouncy electropop (sounding a few years behind its time and recalling acts like Depêché Mode and Yazoo) and slightly symphonic ballads. Notwithstanding some good guitar leads, the former material is pretty undistinguished, and it significantly outweighs the latter, making for a decidedly mediocre set. GRADE: C–.
Life Line Project (Holland): Headlines (No label, cassette, with booklet, 1990)
Anja Dirkzwager (principal vocals)
Sensibly returning to progressive music, Life Line Project offer their best and most ambitious album to date. The title track bookends the album, opening with a lengthy and effective instrumental version and closing with a short vocal coda. In the middle, there are two short songs (the gentle ballad ‘Frozen Heart’ and the uptempo rocker ‘Licence To Fill’, complete with some very dark and amusing lyrics) plus the long suite ‘The King’. There’s nothing exactly mould-breaking here, but considering this is a four-track recording with all the instruments played by de Beer, the album has impressive depth and should please anyone enjoying folky symphonic progressive or neoprog.

Life Line Project (Holland): Journey To The Heart Of Your Mind (No label, cassette, with bookler, 1990)
Anja Dirkzwager (principal vocals)
This concept album is wide-ranging indeed, from rich symphonic passages to folky moments, touches of hard rock, a few hints of electro-pop and some satirical elements. Overall it works well, with a good level of complexity and ambition and a satisfyingly rich sound given its low-budget genesis. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): Duplo (No label, cassette, with booklet, 1991)
Anja Dirkzwager (principal vocals), Marilou Vergeer (occasional vocals)
Subtitled ‘The True Tale Of Duplo The Equivalent’, this concept album offers a continuous 42-minute suite narrating an amusing fable. Musically, however, it’s a step back, with a very song-based approach, lots of electropop elements and an amateurish, home-made sound. GRADE: C.

Life Line Project (Holland): The Final Word (No label, CDR, with booklet, 1993)
Anja Dirkzwager (principal vocals)
Life Line Project’s sixth album isn’t entirely new, including remixed versions of numbers from Life-Line and Headlines. The resulting patchwork quilt of ornate neoclassical instrumentals and mainstream ballads and rock songs doesn’t quite hang together, though as usual there is some decent music on offer. The 2012 reissue (Life Line Productions LLR CD 21 006 RI, CDR) drops a couple of songs and adds in several unreleased numbers, plus one acoustic demo. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): Across The Lines (No label, CDR, with booklet, 1994)
Marion Stroetinga (principal vocals)
Following the band’s first wholly instrumental album Beyond Time – an entirely solo project by Erik de Beer and hence not eligible for review here (though it’s far and away the best of their early releases) – Life Line Project returned to their familiar format on Across The Lines. Its mixture of proggy instrumentals and catchy songs doesn’t break any new ground, but it’s a solid enough set. The later reissue (Life Line LLR CD 21 018 RI, CDR, 2010) omits a couple of tracks but adds four other numbers in their place. GRADE: C+.

Life Line Project (Holland): Time Out (No label, CDR, 1995)
Marion Stroetinga (lead vocals)
The centrepiece of the album is the excellent 23½-minute instrumental ‘Behind The Curtains Of Your Mind’; elsewhere it offers the usual mix of short instrumentals and pop/rock songs. The 2010 CD reissue (Life Line Productions LLR CD 21 023 RI) adds several bonus tracks: a short unreleased instrumental and several cuts from the previous year’s Across The Lines. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): Plugged And Unplugged (Life Line Productions LLR CD 21 062 RI, CDR, 2010, recorded 1995)
Marion Stroetinga (lead vocals, percussion), Mirjam Brandenburg (bass, backing vocals), Nellie van der Linde (keyboards), Elsa de Beer (saxophone, flute, backing vocals)
Recorded in March and September 1995 but unreleased until 2010, this features a full band line-up demoing, rehearsing and playing live. At around 35 minutes, and consisting mainly of song-based material, this is a fairly slight set, and there are no new compositions here. That said, it’s very pleasant stuff and it’s interesting to hear this material performed by a full band. GRADE: C+.

Life Line Project (Holland): Illusion (Life Line Productions LLR CD 033, CDR, 2003)
Mirjam Mulder (principal vocals), Naomi van Prooyen (occasional vocals), Paula Mabelis (guitar), Elsa de Beer (flute), Lisette Harms (clarinet), Dineke Visser (oboe), Rachel Mulder (backing vocals)
The band’s first album in eight years is fairly slight, comprising four numbers (two being long and short versions of the same song, under different titles) totalling around 25 minutes. It’s nice to hear de Beer performing with a full band, but this is still fairly amateurish stuff, with the lead vocals being quite shaky in a few places. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): The Journey (Life Line Productions, CDR, 2004)
Maruschka Kartosonto (joint lead vocals), Gabriëlla Markus (joint lead vocals), Melissa Goudappel (occasional vocals), Elsa de Beer (occasional vocals, flute), Diana Bergwerff (guitar, backing vocals), Anneke Verhagen (saxophone), Lisette Harms (clarinet), Ada Bienfait (bassoon),

Dineke Visser (oboe)
Complete with spoken word segments, this concept album is quite varied and ambitious, though their sound remains rooted firmly in neoprogressive. In any case, the best moments are the more pastoral ones with plenty of woodwind, and the LP is quirky enough that it may appeal to fans of school project albums. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): Duplo (Life Line Productions, CDR, 2005)
Maruschka Kartosonto (principal vocals), Diana Bergwerff (guitar, backing vocals), Anneke Verhagen (saxophone, clarinet), Dineke Visser (oboe)
Recorded 14 years after the original, this reworking of their 1991 album extends ‘The Trule Tale Of Duplo The Equivalent’ by seven minutes and gives it the full band setting it always deserved. The result is a huge improvement over the thin and amateurish original. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): The Finnishing Touch (Life Line Productions LLR CD 21 043, CDR, 2008)
Iris Sagan (bass), Elsa de Beer (flute), Dineke Visser (oboe)
Featuring sections built around the melody of a traditional Finnish folk song, this punningly titled album sees Life Line Project reinventing itself as a purely instrumental outfit. With the music varying from the pastoral to the rocking, it’s a satisfyingly varied album, but with exclusively short tracks it’s ultimately pleasant rather than majestic. The 2009 reissue (Life Line Productions LLR CD 21 043 RI) remixes some sections and adds several bonus cuts. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): Modinha (Life Line Productions LLR CD 044, CD, 2008)
Iris Sagan (bass), Elsa de Beer (flute), Dineke Visser (oboe)
Like its predecessor, this is all-instrumental; like its predecessor, it consists entirely of short tracks; and like its predecessor the music varies between the mellow and the rocking. However, it’s a bit of a step up all round, featuring some of the band’s most dynamic and powerful music to date. GRADE: C+.

Life Line Project (Holland): The King (Life Line Productions LLR CD 21 039 RI, CD, 2009)
Maruschka Kartosanto (joint lead vocals), Yvette Vrij (occasional vocals), Elsa de Beer (flute, recorder), Annette Verhagen (clarinet), Dineke Visser (oboe), Ada Bienfait (bassoon), Jessica ter Horst (recorder)
This full band re-recording of ‘The King’ from 1990’s Headlines may have been taped in 2006, re-recorded again in 2009 or recorded in 2006 and remixed in 2009: the contradictory liner notes can’t make up their mind, and the catalogue number, which is lower than for Modinha and implies this is a reissue, don’t help either. The long suite is prefaced by one song and three instrumentals, none of them of much consequence, adding up to a fairly lightweight LP. GRADE: C.
Life Line Project (Holland): Distorted Memories (Life Line Productions LLR CD 21 050, CD, 2010)
Maruschka Kartosanto (lead vocals), Iris Sagan (bass), Josine Fraaij (violin), Elsa de Beer (flute), Dineke Visser (oboe)
Much better than Distorted Memories, this features a series of lively and dynamic instrumentals interspersed with a few songs. However, it makes one wish that Life Line Project would attempt a continuous suite of instrumental music rather than discrete short pieces – and also deliver a completely new album, as one again the album largely comprises remakes of earlier numbers. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): The Journey (Life Line Productions LLR 2CD 21 063, double CD, 2011)
Marion Stroetinga (joint lead vocals), Maruschka Kartosanto (joint lead vocals), Liset Dullaart (occasional vocals), Anja Dirkzwager (occasional vocals), Iris Sagan (occasional vocals, bass), Elsa de Beer (occasional vocals, flute), Anneke Verhage (clarinet), Dineke Visser (oboe),

Ada Bienfait (bassoon)
Running for an hour and three quarters, this is Life Line Project’s magnum opus, though it’s effectively two albums packaged together rather than a true double LP. The first disc is a re-recording of 2004’s The Journey: it’s a bit more dynamic and professional than the original, though the results are still solid rather than particularly inspiring. The second disc ‘The Narrow Path’ appears to mix new and old compositions and is mainly instrumental, with a strong classical feel to much of the material. Taken on its own merits, this second disc is probably the best thing the band ever released. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): 20 Years After (Life Line Productions LLR CD 21 068, CD, 2012)
Marion Stroetinga (principal vocals), Iris Sagan (occasional vocals, bass), Elsa de Beer (flute, backing vocals), Anneke Verhagen (clarinet),

Dineke Visser (oboe), Ada Bienfait (bassoon)
If the title doesn’t give it away, the subtitle does: ‘including the diverting and true tale of Duplo the Equivalent’. This third stab at ‘Duplo’ is solid enough, as are the bonus cuts (one of which is also a remake of a remake), but ultimately this set makes one wonder whether Life Line Project will ever come up with something completely new. GRADE: C+.
Life Line Project (Holland): Armenia (Life Line Productions LLR CD 21 075, CD, 2013)
Marion Stroetinga (lead vocals), Elsa de Beer (flute), Annette Verhagen (clarinet), Dineke Visser (oboe)
I first thought that Armenia was that rarest of beasts – a wholly new Life Line Project album – but actually recognise a couple of numbers from earlier in their career. It’s mostly new, however, and features a more stripped-back rock setting than their last few albums, though as usual for them it hints at greatness without ever achieving it. GRADE: C+.
See also Zoundworks

Life On Earth! (Sweden): A Space Water Loop (Subliminal Sounds SUBCD28, CD, 2009)
Lisa Isaksson, Alexis Benson, Sarianna Cortes, Lisa Klevebrant
The title made me expect something ambient and psychedelic, but this is actually wonderful blissed-out psychedelic pop, crossing late sixties and contemporary influences. Life On Earth! was the solo project of Dungen’s Mattias Gustavsson, but by the time of this second album had evolved in a band (or perhaps more accurately, collective) featuring the prolific Lisa Isaksson. GRADE: B–.

See also Hashish, Laike, Lisa & Piu, Lüüp, Me & My Kites, Promise & The Monster, Vårt Solsystem

Lifeless (Luxembourg/Israel): The Reconciliation – The Third Of A Trilogy (Msound MSRCD 013, CD, Luxembourg, 1999)
Shlomit Butbul (occasional vocals)
With suites entitled ‘My Audience’, ‘The Threshold Of Emotional Suffering’ and ‘The Reconciliation’ – listed on the back cover as ‘chapters’ – it’s clear that Marc Kieffer, who composed and played everything and provided the bulk of the vocals, had high ambitions for this album. However, musically this is merely rather lightweight metal, with somewhat tentative death vocals, symphonic keyboards and programmed drums. Oddly, demos for the entire album follow the LP proper and are considerably better than the finished product. As a footnote, in addition to Shlomit Butbul’s minor contribution, the album had a female producer, Lucy Simon. GRADE: C.

Lift (USA): The Moment Of Hearing (Syn-Phonic SYNCD-19, CD, 2001, recorded 1972-1979)
Laura Pate (joint lead vocals, synthesiser)
This excellent archive release compiles the band’s 1977 LP Caverns Of Your Brain, recorded in 1974 and issued on a notorious tax loss label; their contribution to the compilation Past Present Future; and four demos of varying sound quality. In both their incarnations (based in New Orleans from 1972 until 1975, with a male vocalist and in Atlanta from 1976 to 1979 with Laura Pate) the band offered solid symphonic progressive, with the very Renaissance-like ‘The Masque’ possibly being the highlight. GRADE: B–.

Ligeia Mare (USA/Israel): 1 (No label, CDR, with minisleeve, USA, 2012)
Elaine Di Falco
This project from various Thinking Plague alumni offers trippy improvised music fringing free-jazz; thankfully, there are no wind instruments, so the soundscapes are based around treated guitars, electronics and whispered vocals. There’s a limit to how interesting this kind of thing can be, and this is probably as good as it gets. GRADE: C+.

Ligeia Mare (USA): Songs We Never Thought Of (Corvette 0002, CDR, with gatefold minisleeve and postcard, 2013)
Elaine Di Falco (joint lead vocals, piano, percussion)
Quite different from their debut, this is much jazzier and much less impressionistic; I’m not sure whether it was improvised, as some of the music sounds quite carefully structured. Once again the feel is quite trippy and psychedelic, and the album is relatively varied, making for an interesting set. The physical release was limited to 100 numbered copies. GRADE: C+.
Ligeia Mare (USA): Amplifier (No label, CD, with digipak, 2015)
Elaine Di Falco (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
This one definitely is improvised, and sounds like it: all the usual free-jazz traits surface, including plenty of wailing horns. Other bits are more interesting, including some powerful moments of RIO with rock elements, so this is an extremely wide-ranging album in terms of quality, but parts of it are excellent. GRADE: C+.

Ligeia Mare (USA): 8/9 (No label, download, 2017)


Elaine di Falco (joint lead vocals, piano, electronics)

This time round, Ligeia Mare give full reign to their free-jazz influences. Thus, while this has its moments, a lot of it consists of random bangs, knocks and whines, though it’s mostly quite tranquil rather than angry and cacophonous. Ultimately, one either gets this type of music or one doesn’t – and I don’t. GRADE: C–.

See also 3 Mice, Caveman Shoestore, Combat Astronomy, Empty Days, Luciano Margorani & Elaine Di Falco, Thinking Plague, Dave Willey & Friends

Light Year (USA): Reveal The Fantastic (Green Tree GTR 135, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2010, recorded 1974)
Sharon Pucci (lead vocals)
This San Franciscan band recorded an album’s worth of material in 1974, but it remained unreleased for more than 35 years. That’s quite amazing, when one considers that Reveal The Fantastic is a stone cold classic, and very different from most of what was emerging from the USA at the time. Canterbury isn’t a genre one would associate with mid-seventies America, let alone San Francisco, but this is a wonderful example of the style, sounding like a furious hybrid of Cos and Hatfield & The North, with lots of Gong-style tuned percussion. Both the songs and the long instrumental passages work equally well, so this is remarkable from start to finish. GRADE: B.

Lila (USA): Lila (Lila LS1000, with booklet, 1978)
Kim Palmer (joint lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, dulcimer), Robin Richardson (joint lead vocals, percussion, tamboura), Melissa Sweet (joint lead vocals, guitar, percussion)
‘This album is for those who love, who can feel the vibration of love from the center of their being’ according to the sleeve notes, so no prizes for guessing that this female trio’s album offers mystical folk. With songs dedicated to the goddess Shakti, they offer a procession of gentle, haunting songs with sparse, well-judged arrangements and a few Eastern tinges (though only a few). Inevitably it’s all rather precious, and all very Californian, but it’s far less po-faced than one might imagine, making for a genuinely beautiful LP. GRADE: C+.

Liliane (Sweden): Illusioner (Polydor 2379 028, 1971)
Liliane Håkansson (lead vocals, guitar, tambourine)
This rare album offers pleasant singer/songwriter music, including eight originals plus Swedish-language covers of ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’, ‘Reason To Believe’, ‘Silver Threads And Golden Needles’ and ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes?’. With full electric backing, it’s not too precious, though it is gentle and delicate, peaking on the comparatively rocking version of ‘Who Knows…’ that is radically different from the original. GRADE: C+.

Lilith (USA): Boston Ride (Galaxia 33183, 1978)
Jannis Warner (lead vocals, percussion), Beth Caurant (guitar, backing vocals), Deborah Campbell (bass, backing vocals), Peg Brewer (keyboards, trumpet, backing vocals), Laurel Blanchard (drums, percussion), Marianna Pontoppidan (percussion, saxophone, backing vocals)
Don’t be put off by the descriptor ‘jazz/funk’: this dates from an era when such music was actually jazzy and actually funky, and this is lively, rocking stuff. This all-female band’s covers of ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ and ‘Long Train Runnin’’ give a fair clue as to their influences, but most of the material is original and this is a solid set throughout. GRADE: C+.

Lily & Maria (USA): Lily And Maria (Columbia CS 9707, 1968)
Lily Fiszman (joint lead vocals, guitar), Maria Neumann (joint lead vocals, guitar)
This obscure progressive folk album by a teenage female duo is much maligned for its ultra-serious atmosphere, almost sepulchral arrangements and breathy, hesistant vocals. I like it, but it’s certainly a record you need to be in the mood for, and when they include some uptempo rock (as on ‘Everybody Knows’) things improve immeasurably. GRADE: C+.

Linda & Noel (UK): Your Kind Of Party (Saga FID 2148, 1969)
Linda Cream
The Creams had previously fronted the Family Affair (with ‘Noel’ being credited as ‘Johnny’, though clearly neither is his real name) and I’d assume the same musicians back them here. The overall effect is pretty similar, though this is has a few more bubblegum leanings, which could be considered a plus or minus depending on one’s tastes. GRADE: C+.

See also Family Affair

Thomas Lindahl (Sweden): Det Krokta Rummet (Amalthea AM59, with inner, 1987)
Carin Kjellman (lead vocals)
This unusual album by keyboardist and flautist Lindahl is evenly divided between songs (all fronted by Carin Kjellman) and instrumentals. The only constant is that everything is folky: otherwise the material ranges from gentle ballads to almost ambient moments to eighties rock to hints of jazzy avant-prog. Much of it is interesting and most of it is good, but none of it is truly outstanding. GRADE: C+.
See also Folk & Rackare, Carin Kjellman & Ulf Gruvberg

Pär Lindh Project (Sweden): Gothic Impressions (Crimsonic CLSCD 101, CD, 1994)
Magdalena Hagberg (occasional vocals), Anna Holmgren (flute)
The first Pär Lindh Project album isn’t really a band effort, but more a showcase for Lindh’s multi-instrumental talents, with a large cast of collaborators including Anna Holmgren and Mattias Olsson from Änglagård as well as male, female and choral vocalists. Mixing songs and instrumentals, it’s dominated by Lindh’s florid keyboard work, including sumptuous swathes of organ, Mellotron and harpsichord. The material draws heavily on church music and is grandiose and dramatic without being overly pretentious, although the instrumentals outclass the songs and some of the male singing is a little shaky. Overall it’s an impressive set, containing some excellent moments.

Pär Lindh & Björn Johansson (Sweden): Bilbo (Crimsonic CLSDCD 103, CD, 1996)
Magdalena Hagberg (lead vocals)
Subtitled ‘Music Inspired by JRR Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”’, this was a collaboration between Lindh and a fellow multi-instrumentalist. It’s mostly instrumental, though there are four actual songs performed by Magdalena Hagberg, and is influenced by folk, pastoral and renaissance music. The end result is an intermittently interesting album, with some dramatic moments, but it’s also disjointed, amateurish and occasionally slightly silly. Thankfully Lindh and Hagberg subsequently concentrated on the far superior Pär Lindh Project. GRADE: C+.
Pär Lindh Project (Sweden): Mundus Incompertus (Crimsonic CLSCD 104, CD, 1997)
Magdalena Hagberg (lead vocals)
Unlike Gothic Impressions, this is a true band effort, with Magdalena Hagberg very sensibly being given all the lead vocal duties. The album comprises three tracks: the nine-minute ‘Baroque Impression No. 1’, which is full of richly symphonic Keith Emerson-style classical bombast; the seven-minute ‘The Crimson Shield’, which is a beautiful baroque ballad; and finally the 27-minute ‘Mundus Incompertus’ itself, which integrates both approaches to brilliant effect. GRADE: B–.
Pär Lindh Project (Sweden): Live In America (Crimsonic CLSCD 105, double CD, 1999)
Magdalena Hagberg (principal vocals, keyboards, violin)
This live double album covers all facets of the band’s sound – material from the studio LPs, a medley from Bilbo, and covers of ELP and King Crimson. With furious musicianship throughout and frequent keyboard and drum solos, this is symphonic progressive in extremis and is packed with impressive moments. Featuring superb sound quality, this is the definitive introduction to the Pär Lindh Project. GRADE: B.
Pär Lindh Project (Sweden): Veni, Vidi, Vici (Crimsonic CLSCD 106, CD, 2001)
Magdalena Hagberg (principal vocals, violin)
Whilst retaining the band’s usual sonic hallmarks, this is more song-based than their previoius work, with the emphasis on shorter, discrete tracks. Arguably it’s a step down in terms of ambition, but it’s all superbly done and they’re still breaking new ground – witness the stunning acapella ‘Le Grand Chambardement’. In fact, as refined classical prog goes, much of this is truly peerless. GRADE: B–.
Pär Lindh Project (Sweden): Live In Iceland (Crimsonic CLSCD 107, CD, 2001)
Magdalena Hagberg (principal vocals, keyboards, violin)
This isn’t as expansive as Live In America, but it’s still a fine album, filled with their customary energy and exemplary musicianship. Due to Magdalena Hagberg’s untimely death, the band continued with an all-male line-up. GRADE: B–.
See also Änglagård

Lori Linstruth (USA): Demo 2004 (No label, CDR, 2004)
Lori Linstruth (guitar, drum programmes)
Linstruth’s only solo album is an EP comprising four self-penned instrumentals plus a cover of an Ayreon piece and 50 seconds of a Bach interpretation. Setting her virtuosic guitar playing against a drum machine, it’s an enjoyable and accomplished progressive metal set – but at only 18 minutes, it’s also a touch slight. GRADE: C+.
See also Ayreon, Stream Of Passion

Liquid Shadow (Poland): Spectrum (Lynx Music LM 30 CD, CD, Poland, 2008)
Sabina Godula (lead vocals)
This is very definitely symphonic hard rock rather than symphonic metal: no walls of guitars, no overbearing orchestrations and no epic choirs. Instead, Liquid Shadow keep it simple, with well-written songs and catchy riffs, plus enough progressive twists and turns to hold one’s attention. GRADE: C+.​

Lisa & Piu (Sweden): When This Was The Future (Subliminal Sounds SUBCD29, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2009)
Lisa Isaksson (lead vocals, guitar, Mellotron, percussion, harp), Jennie Ståbis (guitar, contrabass, percussion, backing vocals), Maria Lagerlöf (backing vocals)
Eerie, haunting and mesmerising, Lisa Isaksson’s beautiful songs are perfectly rendered by the delicate, spacy, mainly acoustic arrangements of her talented band. Electric guitar, Mellotron and trippy effects put in occasional appearances, heightening the psychedelic quotient, but the album relies on atmosphere and crystalline purity rather than gimmicks to convey its otherworldly mood. GRADE: B–.
Lisa & Piu (Sweden): Behind The Bend (Subliminal Sounds SUBCD29, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2009)
Lisa Isaksson (lead vocals, guitar, piano, percussion, flute, harp), Maria Lagerlöf (flute, backing vocals)
Nobody could accuse Behind The Bend of outstaying its welcome: there is less than 29 minutes of music here, 12 of which is made up of ‘Child Of Trees’. Nonetheless, this is Isaksson’s best work: her songwriting has come on in leaps and bounds, and this time she has the bittersweet hooks to match the evocative backing. GRADE: B.

Roger Wootton & Piu (UK/Sweden): Cut The Air At Mello Club (Mellotronen MELLOCD 030, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2009)
Lisa Isaksson (joint lead vocals, guitar, flute, handclaps)
This is probably best described as a cross-generational, multinational acid-folk project, with Comus leader Roger Wootton backed by Swedish outfit Lisa & Piu. Lisa Isaksson proves a thoroughly adequate substitute for Bobbie Watson, and the set – consisting of two numbers from First Utterance, one from To Keep From Crying, the then-unreleased ‘Out Of The Coma’ and two by Isaksson – is consistently enjoyable, with Wootton and Isaksson’s songs dovetailing surprisingly well. It’s just a pity that there are only six songs, totalling around 35 minutes. GRADE: B–.
See also Hashish, Life On Earth!, Lisa & Lillportan, Lisa & Piu, Lüüp, Me & My Kites, Vårt Solsystem

Lite Storm (USA): Warning (Beverly Hills BH 1135, 1972)
Kali Bahlu, Sui-San
Formed by Kali Bahlu and husband Johnima along with three other musicians, Lite Storm offered funky rock with psychedelic edges, sounding a few years behind the times. The vibe sometimes puts me in mind of Jade Stone & Luv, although this isn’t as lush or as eccentric, with more of a stripped-down garage feel. The best cut is probably the instrumental ‘Nomad’, which features some stinging fuzz guitar, but this is a solid and enjoyable album throughout. GRADE: C+.
Lite Storm (USA): God Is Love (Beverly Hills BHS-1136, 1973?)
Folk/Psychedelic/World Music
Kali Bahlu, Sui-San
Completely different from its predecessor, this is mystical folk with an Eastern feel and some Hare Krishna raga moves. Occasionally recalling Bahlu’s earlier solo album, but far more structured and less pretentious, it’s a lovely LP containing some truly haunting moments. GRADE: C+.
Lite Storm (USA): God Is Truth (Sai Sound Samitee SSS 10-50, 1974?)
Kali Bahlu, Sui-San
The band’s third and final album falls somewhere between their first two, mixing folky, trippy rock songs with a few more new age-ish and psychedelic moments. The end result is a very pleasant album indeed, with no obvious weak moments. The band subsequently continued recording as One. GRADE: C+.
See also Kali Bahlu, One

Litid Eitt (Iceland): Til Hvers…? (EMI Parlophone MOAK 33, with booklet, Denmark, 1975)
Berglind Bjarnadóttir
This is a pleasant, varied album of folk and folk/rock, mostly with a gentle and wistful feel. Whilst there are no weak or offensive tracks, the exquisite female-fronted ‘Konungurinn I Thule’ is so hauntingly beautiful it makes one wish that the whole album had been in the same vein. GRADE: C+.

Marie Little (UK): Factory Girl (Argo ZFB19, 1971)
Marie Little (lead vocals)
The album opens promisingly with an eerie version of ‘The Twa Corbies’, unusually arranged for dobro guitar. However, the standard isn’t really maintained, with the remainder of the first side being pleasant but unexceptional traditional folk and the second offering above average orchestrated pop/folk. Ironically, it all comes full circle with the closing cover of Ralph McTell’s title track: another haunting dobro-led piece, and the second best track on the LP. Why the label chose to produce such a schizophrenic work is unclear: purist folkies would loathe the commercial aspects of the second half, whilst mainstream audiences would find side one far too sparse and dour, guaranteeing that almost every purchaser (and there were few) would dislike at least half the album. GRADE: C.

Marie Little (UK): Marie Little (Trailer LER 2084, 1973)
Marie Little (lead vocals, guitar)
Little’s second album is a huge step up from her first, sensibly concentrating on the acoustic side of her repertoire and mixing traditional and contemporary songs. The delicate settings effectively showcase her gentle voice, resulting in a consistent and satisfying album, if not a hugely distinctive one. GRADE: C+.

Marie Little (UK): My Eldorado (Greenage Recordings HGN 001, 1987)
Marie Little (lead vocals, guitar)
Little’s first album in more than decade clearly demonstrates a change in her tastes: this time round, her singing has a definite American (or more precisely, Appalachian) twang that is at odds with some of the material. However, this is still preferable to her in-character reading of ‘Flue [sic] Song’, which is precisely the kind of semi-humorous folk I dislike. On the plus side, I like her self-penned ‘John Willie Chadwick’ and her cover of ‘Desperado’, both with simple piano backing, but overall this is a slight step down from her enjoyable second. GRADE: C+.
Marie Little (UK): All In A Day (Greenage Recordings HGN 002, cassette, 1992)
Marie Little (lead vocals, guitar)
This time round, Little’s two compositions are perversely among the lowpoints: ‘Silly Willie’ is her stab at a kids’ song and ‘Take This World’ is a simplistic and decidedly average protest folk singalong. However, ‘Same Girl Sense’ (this album’s ‘Flue Song’) is not merely bad but excruciating, bringing to mind the worst moments of Fivepenny Piece. It’s a pity, as this is otherwise a better album than My Eldorado; it would have been better still with these three songs removed. GRADE: C+.
Marie Little (UK): Roundabouts And Swings (Greenage Recordings HGN CD 003, CD, 1998)
Marie Little (lead vocals, guitar)
This is the logical follow-up to her 1975 set, without any of the failed experiments or attempts at humour that marred her last two LPs. For sure, the emphasis is slightly different: notwithstanding a remake of ‘The Highwayman’, the feel is more transatlantic and the emphasis is more on singer/songwriters than traditional sources. Nonetheless, this is a consistently lovely set, and unlikeAll In A Daythere’s nothing you’re likely to want to skip. GRADE: C+.
Marie Little (UK): Hot Pants To Hot Flushes (Greenage Recordings HGN CD 004, CD, 2005, recorded 1987-2005)
Marie Little (lead vocals, guitar)
Oddly, this album is partly a compilation (three songs from My Eldorado, two from All In A Day and three from Roundabouts And Swings) plus seven new ones mostly recorded by Little’s new band Phylisan. The good news is that the old tracks are, for the most part, quite carefully selected. The bad news is that Phylisan sees Little comprehensively rejecting folk for country music. Little went one to release one further album, Hot Flushes To Free Buses (Greenage Recordings HGN CD 005, 2012), which I have not heard. GRADE: C+.

Little Atlas (USA): Neverworldly (HipKat, CD, 1998)
Joanna Katsikas (backing vocals)
Although promoted as progressive, this is nothing of the kind, being hardish melodic rock that fringes indie but also recalls the classic rock of the seventies. In particular, the excellent ‘Seek The Grey’ could please fans of Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac. GRADE: C+.
Little Atlas (USA): Surface Serene (No label LA75436, CD, 2002)
Joanna Katsikas (backing vocals)
Despite the web address on the back, this is still mainstream rock – more varied and atmospheric than its predecessor and more adventurous too, but not prog by any stretch of the imagination. GRADE: C+.

Liv Kristine (Norway): Deus Ex Machina (Swan Lake MAS DP0154, CD, with digipak and booklet, 1998)
Liv Kristine Espenaes (principal vocals)
The former Theatre Of Tragedy vocalist’s solo debut is an unusual affair that largely defies classification. There’s a definite pop sensibility at play, with some catchy choruses and plenty of electronics (faintly recalling Theatre Of Tragedy’s techno period), but everything is very languid and uncommercial. There are also strong classical and progressive elements at play, particularly on ‘Huldra’ and the following ‘Portrait: Ei Tulle Med Øyne Blä’, which move from Krautrock-like minimalism through an orchestrated classical section to an Enigma-like techno/choral crossover. The whole thing is beautifully crafted, tranquil and rather inconsequential, and could have definite appeal for fans of Enya and similar acts. GRADE: C+.
Liv Kristine (Norway): Enter My Religion (Roadrunner RR 8133-2, CD, 2006)
Liv Kristine Espenaes (lead vocals)
Espenaes’s second solo album is far more straightforward than her first, alternating soft pop with melodic pop/metal. There’s quite a bit of Eastern instrumentation, including saz, oud and sitar, used subtly, and the whole thing is very pleasant, but this is not an ambitious or particularly adventurous album. GRADE: C+.
Liv Kristine (Norway): Skintight (Napalm NPR 233, CD, with digipak and booklet, Austria, 2010)
Liv Kristine Espenaes (lead vocals)
Album number three ups the metal quotient significantly, alternating catchy pop/metal numbers with delicate acoustic ballads. The best of the latter is the gentle ‘Life Line’, but whilst this is listenable throughout none of its songs are individually outstanding. GRADE: C+.
Liv Kristine (Norway): Libertine (Napalm NPR 441, CD, Austria, 2012)
Liv Kristine Espenaes (principal vocals)
The hype sticker describes this as ‘pop/rock!’ (why the exclamation mark, I have no idea) and bills the album as being ‘for fans of Kate Bush, Lana Del Ray and Coldplay!’ (with another exclamation mark). I can’t hear any of those influences in the music, despite the closing Bush cover (which has to be good: the thought of a Kate Bush and Coldplay crossover is the stuff of nightmares), but this is certainly pop/rock with quite a few metal guitars. With rich melodies and a definite symphonic edge, this is her most consistent LP to date, though Deus Ex Machina was far more adventurous. I do, however, question the wisdom of her note-for-note remake of ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’: it’s nicely done, but what exactly was the point? GRADE: C+.
Liv Kristine (Norway): Vervain (Napalm NPR 568 LTD, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2014)
Liv Kristine Espenaes (principal vocals)
Aside from the orchestrated ballad ‘Oblivious’, this is Espenaes’s only solo album to focus entirely on metal. Like her previous couple of albums, it’s all very polished and symphonic, and it’s consistently good too. GRADE: C+.
See also Leaves’ Eyes, Theatre Of Tragedy

Liverbirds (UK): Star-Club Show 4 (Star-Club 148 033 STL / STY, West Germany, 1965)
Valerie Gell, Pamela Birch, Mary McGlory, Sylvia Saunders
The Liverbirds were one of the hordes of British bands who descended upon the Star Club in Hamburg following the Beatles’ elevation to superstardom. Like most of their contemporaries, they failed to follow in the Beatles’ footsteps, despite having the unusual (for the time) distinction of being an all-female outfit. This album confirms why: despite being thoroughly enjoyable garage beat, with lively performances and some suitably snotty vocals, it doesn’t have much in the way of variety or any original compositions. GRADE: C+.
Liverbirds (UK): More Of The Liverbirds (Star-Club 158 021 STY, West Germany, 1966)
Valerie Gell (joint lead vocals, guitar), Pamela Birch (joint lead vocals, guitar), Mary McGlory (bass), Sylvia Saunders (drums)
More of the same indeed: like their first, this is accomplished, unambitious, stripped-down garage beat with the winning combination of assertive combination, chunky guitar and a primitive yet effective rhythm section. Once again, it consists almost entirely of covers and once again it’s not exactly groundbreaking, but it’s nonetheless a fine example of its style. GRADE: C+.

Liverpool Clubmoor Singers (UK): Melody Time (Deroy, 10", 1967?)
This oddity will clearly have appeal for Deroy completists and could also be of interest to those who like school project albums. It sets a female choir against piano backing on an eclectic range of material, from ‘Puppet On A String’ to ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’, ‘With A Little Bit of Luck’ and ‘Sing Little Birdie’. The results are formal, staid and rather middle-of-the-road, but at the same time the singing has a certain sepulchral beauty. GRADE: C–.

Lives & Times (UK): Rattlebones (No Image NI CD 3, CD, 1992)
Lorna Cumberland (lead vocals), Teresa Griffin (bass)
This prolific band’s debut album thankfully has none of the electropop leanings of their earlier venture as A New Idea Of Heaven. Instead it offers quite unusual symphonic gothic rock, with effectively ethereal singing and lush swathes of keyboards but also a tinny drum machine that irritates throughout. The best comparison would probably be Dead Can Dance on their first album, and the best cut by far is the folky ‘Long Distance’, on which the drum machine is mercifully absent. GRADE: C.
Lives & Times (UK): The Pull Of A Tide (No Image NI CD 4, CD, 1993)
Lorna Cumberland (lead vocals)
The drum machine is still clicking away tinnily (and is once again the lowpoint of the LP), but this is better recorded and a bit more dynamic than its predecessor. With heavier guitars, this makes the new wave and post-punk roots of their music more obvious, sometimes hinting towards Siouxsie & The Banshees and at others having hard rock leanings. Oddly, in the middle of a procession of straightforward rock songs, the album offers a couple of symphonic instrumentals, which are vastly better and sound like they belong on a different record entirely. GRADE: C.
Lives & Times (UK): Waiting For The Parade (SI Music SIMPly 43, CD, Holland, 1994)
Lorna Cumberland (lead vocals)
Album number three comprises eight songs in the band’s usual ethereal, quasi-gothic style, followed by the twelve-minute instrumental ‘Ascent’. The songs are uniformly mediocre, notwithstanding that the drum machine is better integrated than before (or perhaps they’d purchased a better model?). The instrumental is unsurprisingly the highpoint, with rich neoclassical textures, and again the LP as a whole has a rather schizophrenic feel. GRADE: C.
Lives & Times (UK): The Great Sad Happy Ending (SI SIMPly 57, CD, Holland, 1994)
Lorna Cumberland (lead vocals)
Once again I find their songs rather underwhelming, but thankfully there are four instrumentals here. The only extended piece, the nine-and-a-half-minute ‘Wired To The Moon’, is unsurprisingly the highlight, and once again this sounds like a compilation of tracks by two different bands. GRADE: C.
Lives & Times (UK): There And Back Again Lane (Cyclops CYCL 029, CD, 1995)
Lorna Cumberland (lead vocals, percussion)
The songs here are a bit mellower than usual, but there’s nothing particularly interesting on offer. One of the instrumentals is in the same quasi-gothic vein as the songs, but the eleven-minute closer ‘This Year’s Drift’ is predictably in a different league to the rest of the LP. GRADE: C.
Lives & Times (UK): Hoarse (No Image NICD9, CD, 1997)
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals)
Lives & Times’ final album sees both a change of vocalist and the welcome addition of a real drummer. The live drums lift the LP enormously, and Ileesha Bailey has a less ethereal vocal style than her predecessor, making for a much brighter sound. On the downside, there are no progressive elements here at all and no instrumentals, with the album simply offering 12 solid but not great indie-rock songs. Thankfully, the band relaunched itself as the completely different and much more accomplished Karda Estra. GRADE: C+.
See also A New Idea Of Heaven, Karda Estra

Living Music (Italy): To Allen Ginsberg (RCA DSPL 10574, with booklet, 1973)
Gianfranca Montedoro (joint lead vocals)
This compendium of musical settings of Allen Ginsberg poems runs the gamut from ethnic acid-folk to jazz/rock jamming to pure experimentalism – all very controlled and understated but with real joie de vivre. Sensibly, the band don’t treat the music as secondary to the poetry, with some effective instrumentals thrown in, resulting in an LP with significant appeal for progressive fans. GRADE: B–.
See also Gianfranco Montedoro

Living Room (Germany): Chambers (No label, 1997)
Anke Schattefor (principal vocals, flute)
This obscure private pressing offers rather good garage psychedelia with some folky edges, nice use of flute and a few jamming moments where the band stretches out. There’s nothing particularly original or life-changing here, but anyone who likes the genre should thoroughly enjoy this. GRADE: C+.
Living Room (Germany): Times Like Lakes (World In Sound WIS-T2507, CD, with digipak, 2009, recorded 1997)
Anke Schattefor (principal vocals, flute)
The band’s long-delayed (and rather oddly titled) second and final album comprises eight demos for an aborted second LP plus four of their favourite songs from their first. The demos are actually better than the material from the first album, being rougher, rawer and more passionate, so there’s some fine material here. GRADE: C+.

Living Sacrifice (USA): Living Sacrifice (No label LS 770816, 1977?)
Diane Murray (joint lead vocals)
Formed by John and Diane Murray of Last Call Of Shiloh (with John Rosenberry and Jamie Tsapatoris helping out as guest musicians or songwriters), Living Sacrifice debuted with a lovely album of lush, melodic folk/rock. At its best, this has an eerie, haunted feel, with occasional use of acid guitar adding a psychedelic edge, with excellent acoustic and electric arrangements. On the downside, it can occasionally be a little twee, with their vision becoming more fully realised on the follow-up. As a footnote, this is one of the hardest albums on this website to track down – I have seen two copies offered for sale in the last twenty years. GRADE: C+.
Living Sacrifice Band (USA): Beauty For Ashes (Praise Jesus EARS-36, 1979)
Diane Murray (principal vocals), JoAnn Aller (guitar, backing vocals)
The band’s second and finest album is very much a game of two halves. Side one features five beautiful folk/rock songs with mixed acoustic and electric backing; all are quite precious but also extremely delicate and haunting. Meanwhile, side two has three longer cuts in a light progressive rock vein with some fine acid guitar leads. The first pressing featured a minimalist white sleeve with black lettering, whilst the second issue had a much more attractive full colour cover depicting a girl holding some flowers; opinions are split as to which version is harder to find. GRADE: B.
Living Sacrifice (USA): A Call To Brokeness (Shekinah SHM-3019, 1981?)
Their third and final album is different yet again, being melodic mainstream rock with strong AOR edges. However, the two extended cuts (‘Armegeddon’ [sic] and a remake of Last Call Of Shiloh’s ‘Marriage Supper Of The Lamb’) are absolutely superb, with some stunning lead guitar, electric piano and flute work. GRADE: B–.
See also Last Call Of Shiloh

Living Stilts (Italy): Shipwreck (Italy): Shipwreck (Azafrán Media AP1421, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, Argentina, 2014)
Maria Tomasello (joint lead vocals)
This concept album offers well-crafted but not especially distinctive symphonic progressive, with a wide range of moods and styles, including some linking sound effects and narration. The highpoints are a few lovely instrumental sections, but mostly this is pretty vocal, with all the lyrical quirks and mispronunciations one would expect from an Italian band performing in English. GRADE: C+.

Living Stones (UK): Jesus Music (Focus F33/24, with insert, 1975?)
Ruth Sommerville (joint lead vocals)This is one of the better seventies Christian private pressing, offering stripped-down, bluesy light garage rock with some excellent fuzz and slide guitar work. Band leader Jim Sommerville is an excellent songwriter, whilst the two vocalists have unusual and distinctive styles – Albert Bogle’s light tenor sounds more appropriate for a lounge or rock and roll band, whilst Ruth Sommerville resembles Judy Dyble (with the music occasionally hinting at a more amateurish early Fairport Convention). Most of the songs are mid-tempo and rather relaxed, with sparse instrumentation, and psychedelic fans will particularly enjoy the heavier ‘Disillusion’.


Living Witness (UK): Guide Me Lord (Sharing SC 012, with insert, 1979)
Folk/Rock/‘Incredibly Strange Music’
Esther Belfield (joint lead vocals), Miriam Belfield (joint lead vocals), Barbara Belfield (joint lead vocals), Joanie Margerison (percussion, strings)
Even by the standards of Christian LPs, this odd album projects a strange, otherworldly vibe (confirmed by the Stepford Wives-like cover pictures). With musical backing bewixt soft rock, ‘Songs Of Praise’ and a school project, the band sound like children when they sing, but most appear to be in their twenties. The group was made up of two sisters, a brother and a friend; their elderly mother Barbara ups the weirdness quotient by adding her formal, hymn-like singing to three cuts. The end result is a long way from a musical masterpiece, but it contains some pleasant cuts and is disturbing enough to appeal to ‘real people’ collectors. As a footnote, Joanie Margerison and Maurice Barratt of Sharon People produced and arranged (as well as playing percussion and strings and bass respectively). GRADE: C.
See also Sharon People

Lizette& (Sweden): This (Blue Lemon BLCD 003, CD, 2003)
Lizette von Panajott (lead vocals, keyboards, programming)
Lizette von Panajott’s other band Spektrum play neoprog, but this is more contemporary alternative rock with influences from techno, trip-hop and metal. The result is an interesting and creative record containing some strong and varied material. GRADE: C+.
See also Spektrum

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button
bottom of page