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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus

Spirit

1970

Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Album Summary

Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus is the fourth album by the American rock band Spirit. It was produced by David Briggs, who is best known for his work with Neil Young. The original LP was released in November 1970 by Epic. The band's lowest charting album to that point, it peaked at #63 on the Billboard 200 in February 1971, spending only fourteen weeks on the chart. However, it sold well as a catalog item and became the band's only album to ultimately attain a RIAA gold certification in the U.S., achieving that status in 1976. "Nature's Way" became one of Spirit's signature songs, but was not a big hit at the time, peaking at #111 on the Billboard pop charts in 1971. To capitalize on the album's enduring appeal, "Mr. Skin" (the B-side of "Nature's Way") was released as an A-side in 1973 and also charted, peaking at #92. It was voted number 332 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.05

Votes

10491

Genres

  • Rock
  • Psychedelic Rock

Reviews

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View Author
Wed Apr 19 2023
4

I had to listen to this one twice because I couldn't figure out how I felt about it. On one hand, it feels a bit scattered. There's no real through-line to the album. But the songs aren't bad. Just... oddly constructed. On a second listen-through, I was able to focus a bit more on the fantastic production. The guitar tones are killer, the mix is super balanced while still being experimental, and the overall song construction is good if unconventional. I don't know, I went back and forth on this one but I ended up giving it a 4-star score mostly because it made me stop and think. There are a lot of albums on this list that can't manage to snag my attention for more than a song or two so that deserves an extra star.

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Wed Jul 12 2023
5

The fact that I already had 12 songs from this album liked in Spotify (all the original songs minus Space Child, plus the bonus track Rougher Road) will tell you how I feel about this album. To me this is the quintessential psychedelic masterpiece. I've owned it on vinyl for many years and listened to it hundreds of times. It's probably in my all-time top 10 albums. Spirit was a little too out there for most people. They were a little bit rock, a little bit jazz, a bit psychedelic, and several doses of just plain weird. I get why they never caught on like some of their contemporaries but when they were good they were oh so good. This album is Spirit at their best, by far. The album is a masterpiece, start to finish. It's rare to hear an album that holds together so well and doesn't really have a single weak spot. 5 stars, of course. p.s. Most people know this already, but an interesting tidbit if you weren't already aware. Listen to Spirit's song Taurus (from their self-titled 1968 debut album) and then listen to the opening of Stairway to Heaven. Randy California never sued over this during his lifetime, but his estate later did after he died. They lost, but I think it's obvious that Jimmy Page "borrowed" the iconic opening from Spirit, especially considering that the two bands had toured together and Jimmy apparently paid close attention as Randy was playing this song. Ah well, that's rock 'n' roll.

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Thu May 25 2023
4

I can see why zeppelin wanted to rip them off

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Fri Apr 28 2023
2

What.The.Fuck. I mean, they certainly tried, didn’t they?

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Thu Sep 21 2023
5

I think this is pretty great, its varied enough that it kept my interest the entire time, street worm is a certified banger and I've added to my general playlist. Few duff tracks but enjoyed more than I disliked

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Thu Apr 20 2023
4

These guys are very obviously talented but they lack something a lot of their more raw psychedelic contemporaries have.

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Fri Dec 08 2023
4

Mad album. First three tracks are good, next four are less so, When I Touch You is a strong return to form and it runs quite well to the finish. Not what I was expecting but I enjoyed this muchly.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
3

This album seemed to lack direction in some areas. Some tracks sound good, some are subpar, some feel misplaced, and some have an interesting sound instrumentally but are lacking lyrically. The lyrics on some of the tracks seem off and don't seem to have a good flow, which threw me off when listening. Overall nothing groundbreaking. Notable songs: Nothin' To Hide, Animal Zoo, Love Has Found A Way, Mr. Skin.

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Thu Dec 07 2023
1

This is really bad. Hippie nonsense. They be getting $0.00000000000000002 royalties on Spotify this year

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Sun Apr 30 2023
5

Sadistic, sinister and sexy. Dr. Sardonicus slays with this swashbuckling serenade. A summer spent in satin suspenders, sipping expensive soups, singing songs from Starlight Express and sucking my sisters' sensual saucepan-shaped swastika tits.

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Thu Aug 03 2023
5

Ended up really liking this album!

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Wed Aug 23 2023
5

Never heard of these and did not sound like I expected it to, judging by the cover and name. The image reminds me of Star Trek for some reason Did sound very 70s though. I do tend to like this era of rock/psychedelic rock, whatever is is. Really enjoyed it, total surprise. Really quite eclectic. Kinda progressive psych rock in parts but then not so much in others. More classic The opening to life has just begun is like the opening to America by razorlight..... Highlights: Nature's way Animal zoo Mr skin Street worm Morning will come Soldier I'll definitely be back to this. Listened a second time and it's even better... Why haven't I heard of this!? I think this is a 5

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Tue Oct 03 2023
5

Spirit is severely underrated. You can usually find their records pretty cheap, even in bargain bins, and I'm honestly sort of baffled by this. I consider this album a lost gem, and am glad to see it on the list. Spirit have a very unique brand of psychedelia that brings many influences together. They definitely get a little weird from time to time, as is customary in psychedelia, but it's not overdone, and they keep it all grounded with tasty hooks underlying everything. One thing I'm absolutely loving while listening to this album on headphones is that muted bass tone! So deep and rich. Definitely a P Bass. My platonic ideal. Brings so much power to the songs. This is their last great album before they fell apart. Absolutely top tier psychedelia. If you like this, definitely check out their first three records.

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Wed Nov 15 2023
5

'Animal Zoo' lijkt een beetje op Butthole Surfers - Dracula From Houston. 'Space Child' klinkt alsof het het grondwerk legde voor Jamiroquai - Seven Days in Sunny June. Dat zorgt ervoor dat het toch al vrij gauw enigszins herkenbaar klinkt, ook al ken ik het niet. De zanger klinkt heel af en toe als Kurt Cobain en de band als Led Zeppelin. Heerlijk gitaargeluid, goed gelaagde productie, een verzameling van verschillende (soms verrassende) instrumenten op een manier waardoor het niet geforceerd klinkt. Zelfs de koperen blazers irriteren me niet. Experimenteel zonder te abstract te worden: Dat is voor mij de sweetspot. Zo'n nummer als 'Morning Will Come' is haast pop-achtig, wat er mede voor zorgt dat het behapbaar blijft. Tel alle bovenstaande punten bij elkaar op en je krijgt een album waar ik flink door verrast word. Lekker!

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Thu Jun 13 2024
4

Lmao…is this where that website got its name? (Mr. Skin) Sorry for the detour…I’ve been 12 years old for the last 31 years. What a strange, stilted, intricate and exceptionally well produced record this is. Assuming that the songs are the musical representations of the “Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus”(fuck that album title, btw. It’s awful), its stilted flow from track to track makes sense: Our dreams are rarely thematically linked and often shift to unexpected tangents without warning. In that regard, the concept works. In truth, the flow of this album reminds of a Guided by Voices record in a way, with sharp, sometimes jarring transitions that don’t necessarily make sense at first, but after repeated listens feel just right. I’m willing to bet Robert Pollard is probably a fan of this record. Not that you care. You, the listeners of this site, have made it abundantly clear, by way of your Alien Lanes reviews, how shit you think Guided By Voices are. You’re wrong and you probably think this record is shit, too. One day, you’ll see the error of your ways, hopefully. [Dude, you gotta stop insulting the users of the site. They’re entitled to their opinions. It’s why god made horse races, we all get to pick a winner.] So…how about that Randy California? What an awesome guitarist. Dude was 19 when they recorded this record. 19 years old and he is on fire on this record. Fucking amazing, but I guess that’s to be expected from a guy that played in Jimi Hendrix’s band at 15. What a legend.

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Wed May 08 2024
3

Another album that surprised me a little. I enjoyed this album and many of the songs on it. I could listen to it again if I were in the mood. I’d call this a decent album.

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Fri May 10 2024
3

Had some stuff, kinda lost track of it half way through. Will I listen to again: 10%

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Sun May 12 2024
3

Nr. 171/1001 Prelude 3/5 Nature's Way 4/5 Animal Zoo 4/5 Love Has Found A Way 3/5 Why Can't I Be Free 4/5 Mr. Skin 3/5 Space Child 2/5 When I Touch You 3/5 Street Worm 3/5 Life Has Just Begun 3/5 Morning Will Come 4/5 Soldier 4/5 Average: 3,33 Better than I expected. This is a good 70s rock album.

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Tue Jan 02 2024
2

Well it’s not bad but it’s quite forgettable. The recording is good.

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Fri Feb 23 2024
2

Psychedelics without personality. Faceless rock.

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Wed May 29 2024
2

This might be an amazing album, but to tell you the truth, I'm so over exposed to Psychedelic Rock in this album challenge that I think I have become desensitised! Perhaps a bit of rebranding is in order '1001 Psychedelic Rock albums you must here before you die'

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Thu Dec 21 2023
1

Yet another album the curator's here dug up somewhere, but which should have clearly left alone.

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Tue Aug 15 2023
5

This is a grand album somewhere between psychdelic rock and early progressive rock. I really enjoyed this one, especially the interplay between drums and piano.

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Thu Sep 07 2023
5

super pretentious, but in the kinda way I like — 10/10

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Sun Sep 10 2023
5

This really felt like what a perfect album should be. I thought it was pretty incredible. Like really incredible! I shouldn't give it a 5, but I really want to. So I will!

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Wed Sep 13 2023
5

That’s fucking awesome! I absolutely love this and am sorry it took me so long to find it!!!

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Wed Sep 20 2023
5

There are a lot of fun songs. I love the smooth transitions between a few of them. Never heard them before but I’m really glad I’ve found them now! Some of the vocals are obnoxious, though.

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View Author
Mon Oct 09 2023
5

In the words of the bard, "This is some seriously good shit!" Everyone knows about Page ripping off the intro of Taurus which was somehow thrown out of court. What most of us don't realise is that they released some brilliant music despite never being big. Maybe they received some airplay on the US because I never heard of them in Australia. They are a band I'm going to dive into. Maybe the rest of their albums weren't as good but I'm expecting to hear something good.

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Fri Nov 10 2023
5

Psychadelic! They found so cool ways to make big transcendental sound. Love Has Found a Way is an incredible standout!

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Fri Dec 08 2023
5

F'ing loved that. Proper took me on a journey with layered music, what rock should be 5

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Sun Dec 10 2023
5

Excellent. Would listen often. 5 of 5

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Mon Dec 11 2023
5

Really like this album - have a cd copy of it but had not listened to it for years - the psychedelic rock from that time is not my genre - but on this album it is beaten by a strong pop feeling.

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Thu Jan 04 2024
5

This is fun. It feels like prog that is both willing to be wild and experimental, but also doesn't take itself too seriously. Maybe I'm just in a good mood but I'm leaning 5 for the second consecutive day. Fave Tracks: Nature's Way, Animal Zoo, Morning Will Come, Rougher Road, Red Light Roll On 4.6/5

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Wed Mar 06 2024
5

Inmersivo, rock psicodélico clásico de los 70. Progresivo y con impronta rock and roll. Con partes acústicas muy bellas. Una banda que seguro investigaré más.

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Sat Mar 16 2024
5

Really enjoyed this one!! The psychedelic sound was amazing.

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Wed Mar 20 2024
5

I have not listened to this album before or heard of the artist so it really shocked me how good it was. I found myself bopping along to pretty much all of the tracks. But my favorites were: Animal zoo, Mr. Skin, When I touch you, and Street worm. It had really catchy instrumentals and addictive vocals; will definitely listen again!

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Sat Mar 23 2024
5

I was prepped for something offbeat from the title and cover of this album. It felt very 60’s, although the music was not as weird as I imagined. I liked this after the first listen. Since I had some time I gave it a second listen and my like warmed up to love. A good variety of tunes with some interesting lyrics that I really enjoyed. Terrific!

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Fri Apr 05 2024
5

Man...this is excellent. One of my favorite totally new discoveries so far. The songwriting here is just top, top class. I definitely hear the parallels between this and Neil Young all the way through. If there's anything I love in an album, it's mood shifts and variations in feel, even within the tracks themselves. This album has that in spades. Favorite track: Morning Will Come

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Thu Apr 18 2024
5

Wow, I loved this one! It was sorta weird folk rock that felt like it was made especially for me!

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Thu May 09 2024
5

Never heard of this before and started playing it with slight concern that it might be "of an age". How wrong could I have been. Love this. Grabbed my attention and kept on shaking me to get more. On my third listen and I still don't know where the next track is going to take me apart from looking up their other releases. Thank you for unearthing another unknown gem

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Thu Jun 06 2024
5

This band is famous for having all the ingredients of a great late 60s rock group but never taking off for some reason….this album is the same. It’s really good but just never breaks into great. Still a really enjoyable listening experience.

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Fri May 05 2023
4

-didn’t write a BL, completely blind listen- AL: I’m often on the fence with psychedelic albums, some have the opportunity to lack all kinds of pacing and fall flat on their face, this however does not feel this way. I enjoyed this album and it was a very good listen, with some genuinely out there instrumentation at points - without ever feeling like it loses it’s way. Very good would listen again. FT: “Animal Zoo”, “why can’t I be free”, Red Light Roll On” 4/5

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Mon May 22 2023
4

V interesting - unique sound

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Sat May 27 2023
4

Side two was exponentially better than side one. I guess the dreams get better the longer you sleep. Best track: Street Worm

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Thu Jun 08 2023
4

Pretty good... I will say this list has introduced me to a lot of American Rock of this era that I hadn't listened to before. At times this almost transcends both its era and genre.

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Sat Jun 10 2023
4

I didn’t mind this. It drew me in straight away and kept me interested to the end. What more can you ask for?

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Wed Jun 14 2023
4

I wasn’t pleased when I saw a psych album from 1970, as we’ve had plenty of those already but this is a good one. Weird enough to be interesting but still tight with focus and direction.

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Sat Jul 01 2023
4

Si c'est assez bon pour Zeppelin, ca l'est aussi pour moi :P J'ai adoré et je découvre spirit sous un autre jouré. 4.85

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Wed Jul 12 2023
4

I'm not usually a fan of psychedelic rock as it can be a little too experimental. I didn't get that feeling with this album. I actually enjoyed the entire thing, their melodies are clean and the production is quite good.

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Thu Jul 13 2023
4

Great album! Strong grooves, licks, musicianship. The second half takes an odd turn, which ultimately holds it back from a 5. But overall a great rock album.

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Wed Jul 19 2023
4

Drôle de son et de chanson, mérite une deuxième écoute

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Mon Jul 24 2023
4

Don't really have anything specific to say about this album—another thoughtful and simultaneously goofy record with a complex 70s sound.

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Fri Jul 28 2023
4

It’s not without its problems but it’s got a lot of great 70’s prog riffs and harmonies.

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Thu Aug 03 2023
4

Favourites: • Mr. Skin • When I Touch You • Soldier

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Wed Aug 23 2023
4

I enjoyed a lot of this album, felt like the longer it went on the more I liked it. I preferred the more rockier songs to the psychedelic stuff but will definitely listen to this again. Highlights: Mr Skin Street Worn Animal Zoo Morning Will Come

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Wed Aug 23 2023
4

Never heard of spirit and it seems like they have a pretty large discography. Trippy, proggy, sometimes funky rock. These guys must have taken a lot of drugs. It was interesting, at times really enjoyable, the rockier songs where the singer was pushing his voice were the best of the bunch. A few tracks didn't land for me but that's to be expected from a band like this

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Wed Aug 23 2023
4

Excellent find this. Never heard of them before and I cant fathom why they werent as big as other similar bands of this genre. Albeit they seem to bend into quite a few genres to their credit! Sometimes rock, sometimes pysch, sometimes jazzy, always progressive and interesting. You don’t really know what the next track will be like. Highlights are: Prelude, Natures Way, When I Touch You, Street Worm. The riff in When I Touch you sounds like it’s straight from a Sonic Youth record. Class. A strong 4.5 from me

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Thu Aug 24 2023
4

Well this was incredibly fun! Never heard of Spirit before but was pretty blown away by this, it’s super varied and catchy and has quickly become a favourite dad rock album

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Fri Aug 25 2023
4

This was a shock. They're a bit late to the psych gang, but that only means they have so much inspiration. In addition to the standard SF psych sound, I'm hearing roots ("Nature's Way"), prog ("Street Worm"), pop ("Life Has Just Begun", "Soldier"), metal ("When I Touch You"), folk ("Love Has Found a Way"), jazz ("Mr. Skin"), glam ("Morning Will Come"), rockabilly ("Animal Zoo") and so much more. Most of the songs are strange and unpredictable. As one example, "Space Child" is a jazzy, jammy instrumental featuring highly unconventional synths with an ambient intro and closing section. It does resemble space rock, especially near the end with the echo, but there's so much more to it. One of the most engaging things about the album is how the songs transition well between each other. It's always shocking moving from one song to the next because you can never tell it's happening, and they're all so wildly different in structure and style. It always occurs so suddenly but not in an annoying way; they all feel finished. Whenever I get an album like this, I usually shrug it off as a band trying too many new things without knowing what they're doing, but they somehow hit the mark here. It's an entertaining list, with a lot of offer, but never being excessive or off-putting. Somehow, they still have a personality to stay consistent, even if that's the only thing tying the band together. Favorites: Love Has Found a Way, Mr. Skin, Space Child, When I Touch You, Morning Will Come

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Tue Aug 29 2023
4

There is some lovely psychedelic licks. Needs further listening, sadly I'm so far behind with my 1001 albums it's not getting the due diligence it needs

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Sat Sep 02 2023
4

Got to admit that I have never heard this before. Instant classic with me. Love it to bits.

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Wed Sep 06 2023
4

Nice album, would listen again

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Sat Sep 16 2023
4

Not bad at all. Started pretty strong but couldn't keep that level of quality throughout. Still a good album but nothing amazing.

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Mon Sep 25 2023
4

I was expecting a really boring rock album but I was pleasantly surprised by some really unique and interesting production that used classical instruments and some electronic sounds. I especially enjoyed why can’t I be free.

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Fri Sep 29 2023
4

Brani Preferiti: - "Nature's Way" - "Animal Zoo" - "Mr. Skin" Note: Tutto ciò che potresti aspettarti da una band psichedelica. L'album è piacevole da ascoltare perché è corto, senza portarlo alle lunghe riesce a mostrare ciò che ha da offrire.

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Thu Oct 12 2023
4

Interesting, I like this.. kinda kooky, very melodic. It reminds me of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for some reason - it could be the flamboyant vibe it gives off. Fun times!

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Wed Oct 25 2023
4

Actually a nice album, I enjoyed listening to it!

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Tue Oct 31 2023
4

Rock progresivo psicodélico. Me ha gustado. Un 4.

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Thu Nov 16 2023
4

Loved the guitar. Lyrics were great

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Fri Nov 17 2023
4

The only thing I knew of this band was that the guitarist / vocalist's name was Randy California (there's a 60s name for you). And that his family had been trying to sue Led Zeppelin because Page used their song "Taurus" for "Stairway To Heaven". But this album is actually pretty good. It has a lot of those 60s psychedelic and proto-progressive things to it. I've listened to it twice now, and liked it more the second time. "Morning Will Come" is probably the song I am in a love/hate thing with right now. The whole "co-hum" where they start singing in that high voice, along with the horns definitely puts that song square in the 60s. But a lot of the other music has a bit of a forward thinking to it. Definitely made me interested in looking up more of their stuff.

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Fri Nov 17 2023
4

early 70’s psychedelic rock. at times pretty heavy for its time. nothing bad to say about this one.

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Wed Nov 22 2023
4

Kind of cool, but lacking in star power of any one moment in the record.

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Wed Nov 22 2023
4

This is another chewer. It sits somewhere in the space between Yes, Led Zeppelin, and CSNY. Very dense, excellent arrangement, ridiculously clean production for 1970. But the songwriting and a few of the performances don't quite click at times... this is a tough one to rate for just one listen, but I'm going to give it a 4.

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Wed Nov 22 2023
4

This album surprised me with how forward thinking it is. While it owes a lot to psychedelia, there are some progressive elements that make it stand apart while still being accessible. The production is very clean and the musicianship is fantastic. Spirit is certainly on to something here. The song structures are interesting and the album as a whole feels more like a multiple movement piece of music rather than discrete songs. While interesting, this album doesn't quite reach the highs that it was capable of.

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Thu Nov 23 2023
4

Never heard of them, but enjoyed it

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Fri Dec 01 2023
4

Enjoyed this - great guitar sound!

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Wed Dec 06 2023
4

Never knew Nature's Way is the song from this album. I've only heard covers of it. Pleasantly surprised. Im a fan of prog rock so this is right up my alley.

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Wed Dec 13 2023
4

Really enjoyed this, it's weird and wonderful.

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Thu Dec 14 2023
4

Much too fat and a little too long. A bit unfocused on what the sound of the album was but maybe that was what they were going for. Every song was pretty unique and did not sound similar to last. I did really enjoy the weird jammy jazzy sounds like “Space Child”. Sometimes I heard Zepplin, sometimes I heard Yes, I liked pretty much all I heard. 8/10

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Thu Dec 14 2023
4

Weird at parts and sometimes I wanted to say it's a masterpiece then it would slap me in the face with some meh shit. Overall a solid album with some fucking badass songs on this that I loved. Would listen to again for sure. 8/10

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Thu Dec 14 2023
4

I wanted to write something edgy and say how awful this was but honestly it was kind of fun. Definitely weird and not what we normally have to listen to which was a nice change. The singing was alright too. I think this is a band I won’t forget but probably won’t listen to again. 7/10

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Fri Dec 22 2023
4

Aika modernin kuuloista, mutta samaan aikaan semmosia 70 luvub psykerock soundia. Miellyttävän kuuloista.

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Sat Dec 23 2023
4

Una banda tan de la seva época que ara només és recordada per la gent que la viure al seu moment i pels connoisseurs del génere. La resta de la seva discografia és irregular, però aquí van excel.lir com poques altres bandes durant aquells anys

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Thu Jan 04 2024
4

4 - Really enjoyed this, thought it was just a great listen

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