Saturday, December 31, 2022

Ethos - Relics (1973-75 us, extraordinary prog space rock)

Ethos were that rarest of things; an American progressive band who got a major label deal. Capitol signed the band around 1975 and let them release two albums before (presumably) pulling the plug. Of course, while in Britain it was punk that scuppered prog, in the States it was disco; unlike punk, a major-league cash cow for the record companies, without too much financial input. 

In 2000, an archive set, cheekily entitled Relics appeared, containing demos and live tracks from 1973-74, including early versions of both Intrepid Traveler and Pimp City. The material isn't all as good as that on their two proper releases, but most of it's pretty much up to scratch, making this a welcome find. The hidden track at the end is a slightly pointless instrumental jam, but as with most of the other tracks, it's got loads of (L. Duncan) Hammond and Ponczek's Mellotron and Chamby work, the only obvious exception being Intrepid Traveler, replacing the later version's Mellotron with string synth. Tape replay highlights are the great strings pitchbend work on Placebo and a lengthy section of flute lead on Experimental War.
1. Nightingale - 6:24
2. Elephant Man - 2:48
3. Placebo - 9:00
4. Identity - 4:02
5. Experimental War (Instrumental) - 5:39
6. Troilus And Cressida - 3:29
7. Intrepid Traveler (Instrumental) - 4:45
8. Doing Your Duty - 2:10
9. Perceptions - 6:44
10.Pimp City - 7:33
10.-(Silence) - 1:02
10.1.Dream - 9:05
Tracks 1,2,3,5,6,7,8 recorded at Thiele Road home studio in 1974.
Tracks 4,11 recorded live at Electric Flag Concert in 1974.
Tracks 9,10 recorded on home equipment in 1973.

*Wil Sharpe - Acoutic, Electric Guitars, Voice
*Michael Ponczek – Mini Moog, Poly Moog, Hammond Organ, Chamberlin, Rhodes Piano
*Mark Richards - Percussions, Moog Drum, Micro Moog, Voice
*Brad Stephenson - Bass, String Bass, Moog Bass Pedals, Voice
*Steve Marra - Vocals, Bass, Flute