Mystic 2000 / Angel Air 2014
Quarter of a century on since their demise, multi-armed hermits make a welcome return.
With a two-keyboards-and-no-guitar setup, they were unique even for a prog band, operating on jazzier tangent than COLOSSEUM whence organist Dave Greenslade and bassist Tony Reeves arrived at the scene. The quartet had run its course by the mid-’70s, just when this kind of music started to lose direction but, as 1994’s reunion of their parent ensemble proved, the time came for another tide, so 2000 saw the resurrection of GREENSLADE.
True to their original identity, as panoramic opener “Cakewalk” demonstrates in its swirl of synthesizers, the presence of John Young as a second piano player and main singer gives the group a contemporary pop edge. It is revealed in another ironically titled piece, “Hallelujah Anyway,” and “Anthems” – shot through with an accordion-like line that makes the composition a translucent sequel to “Joie De Vivre,” and carries the catchy chorus of “No Room – But A View.” There’s palpable nostalgia behind the bright veneer, never more so than in “On Suite” which elegantly sprinkles the lyrics with hints at the COLOSSEUM canon into the lyrics, before Reeves’ punctures the ivories interplay with a fiercely elegant solo.
Mellower still, “In The Night” finds the ensemble in their most romantic, channelling the blues into a Gallic kind of a gracious sentimentalism, whereas the many shifting melodies of the title track could have tapped into a classic art rock bombast if it wasn’t so nicely textured. Yet “Lazy Days” offers a timelessly cinematic, if dimly lit, delight, and the finale of “May Fair” is a court dance glorifying the group’s majestic revival by projecting each of the members profile on the alluring canvas. Sadly, the new beginning became the end, and though GREENSLADE didn’t officially split, “Large Afternoon” remains their last record. Here’s hoping…