Recollections of the future that wouldn’t happen: obscure Torontonians’ treasure trove in its entirety.
Taken of the road to record an album and dismissed, once it had been produced, for the lost live shape: such was the fool circle that saw this Canadian sextet arrive and depart within a few years. A couple of singles – the result of local Yorkville label snatching a group called CLOUD from the clutches of RCA and changing their charges’ name – seemed to be the only document of the ensemble’s existence, but they planned to release an LP in 1972 and laid it down. The tapes, including those ’45s, didn’t become a platter, though – until now, when “Reminiscence” must be finally accessed and assessed because its span of genres demands a lot of respect.
At first glance, it’s a heavy proposition, yet the menacing riff of “For Those Who Listen” – a salvo destined to draw attention – will subside to a jazz-rock splash, where vocals harmonies are spiced up with brass and baroque organ that anticipate a nocturnal foray into dark pleasures but give way to a bass-harassed harpsichord figure and a flute-flecked bliss. A heady mix, indeed, and if “Inferno” is a feral stumble from rhythm-and-blues towards proto-metal, there’s a delicious madness blooming when a rather smooth sax gets blown out by acid-spiked guitar and a series of drum explosions of varying intensity.
“Stopwatch” may turn its piano-driven time signatures into solemn stomp and slightly hilarious march, and the country airs of “Scorpio Lady” may be alluring, yet”Philosophy” shapes the clang in a jollier fashion, Mike Langford delivering infectious screams and scats. In its turn, “Scat” shifts its focus to a series of searing solos until vocals get back to wordless romp, and the sprightly title track picks up the mood, fluttering on reeds until electric ivories take it down to earth with fusion runs and boogie rolls. The boisterous “She Made Me All Alone” showcasing the six piece’s interplay and the frisky “Can You Tell Me” are full of joie de vivre, too, that’s taken a few notches beyond the pale of reality by the intrusion of raga, all this without a speck of psychedelia.
The lysergic delight lurks in the epic “Four To Open The Door” – dramatically displaying all the elements of the ensemble’s method and opening a new perspective on the collective who had vanished before they delivered on such a promise. There’s could have been more – and wasn’t; what remains is impressive even today, and fans of adventurous British rock should apply for this trip into the past.