Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring-Self Titled (1971) / Second Hand-Death May Be Your Santa Claus (1971)

For these reviews i thought it would be fun to review them together, for a number of reasons. First, they were both released in 1971 in England when Progressive Rock was in absolute full swing. Second, both of these albums epitomize 2 polar opposite yet very common traits within Prog Rock; one is exceptionally well crafted and very mellow and controlled, the other is a zany wild ride through over indulgent musicianship and a very active imagination.

04 Shipwrecked Soldier by destroy the scene

First up we have Spring's Debut and only album from the 70s. It completely represents the lighter side of prog, where folk and the mellotron were pushed to the forefront. Oddly enough i have found this album easiest to describe by comparing it to other artists, though it in no way feels like a rip off and everything was originally written by the band and all the bands that they sound like were all happening around the same time, if not the exact same time. There are touches of Jethro Tull, Yes, Gentle Giant, Nilsson, and a lot of Moody Blues sound. Very chill yet never boring and the drumming on this album is some of the best recorded i have ever heard in prog, mostly for it's inventiveness lying next to it's restraint. This album in fact seems to be all about restraint with little adventurous flourishes but never overshadowing the melody. There isn't too much more to say about this album other than it is a fine example of super focused Progressive Rock and it is highly recommended, oh and the song(which is above) "Shipwrecked Soldier" sounds to me like it was highly influenced by Nilsson's "10 Little Indians" and sounds like Nilsson gone Prog.

02 Deatd May Be Your Santa Claus by destroy the scene

07 Sic Transit Gloria Mundi by destroy the scene

Next up it's Second Hand with their second album called "Death May Be Your Santa Claus". This thing is ridiculous. The musical stylings are all over the map. first it sounds like standard Canterbury Scene Prog with it's cheesy organ and flutes then it morphs into a really far out there experimental jam then back to almost proto punk style rhythms and back again. The whole time the madman of a singer is ranting about "hanging on eyelids" and death and stepping outside of oneself and all that shit, but rather than being an arty serious self reflection type thing it's more along the lines of Ween, so over the top it ends up being knowingly hilarious. In fact aside from The Mollusk this sounds like what Ween would have been in the early 70s prog scene. The above mostly describes the first half of the album, the latter half of the album is almost all dedicated to experimental soundscapes with found sounds and music concrete and just plain old noise and very trippy. This album was definately on the fringe of the prog scene at the time, though, it is exceptionally listenable and highly recommended. oh and if this album isnt in Mike Patton's collection i would be shocked, this sounds like the blueprint of Mr Bungle

Both of these albums are two of the best Prog Rock albums i have ever heard and sum up the whole movement when you really think about it.


  1. Second Hand are really cool, they were on the Nurse With Wound list

  2. we should start a band called Nurse With Wound List