Monday, April 29, 2024

Odin - Odin (1972 / germany / holland / uk, tough prog rock, 2007 bonus track remaster)

An international affair from the get-go, Honest Truth, boasting a British rhythm section and a Dutch guitarist, lit up German stages in the late '60s before calling it a day. Drummer Stuart Fordham and bassist Ray Brown promptly returned to their island home, but were coaxed back across the North Sea in 1971 by guitarist Rob Terstall and his new musical companion, German keyboardist Jeff Beer. Dubbing themselves Odin, the group's ferocious shows quickly caught the attention of the Vertigo label, which released the band's sole album, this 1972 self-titled set. 

From the opening track, the quartet's breathtaking musical skills are on display, with Terstall and the teenaged Beer trying to one-up each other's consummate solos. As diverse musically as they were nationally, the quartet incorporated an eclectic blend of styles into its set. The exhilarating "Life Is Only," for example, swings from storming organ-led prog to guitar-driven, Hendrix-riven funk-rock. In contrast, "Be the Man You Are" shimmers in effervescent folky fashion, while the lush "Eucalyptus" mixes surfy R&B-flavored guitar with lavish orchestral organ. Intriguingly, their cover of Quatermass' "Gemini" sticks close to the original, but still features some of Beer's best work, as does the album closer, "Clown." Both must have been absolutely lethal live, but it's the driving "Turnpike Lane" that probably brought the house down. 

With the album split between lengthy epic pieces and short sharp numbers, Odin offered a roller coaster ride across all that prog rock had to offer, and did it with amazing prowess and finesse. The band may have folded in frustration in 1975, but fans continued to search out this superb set. This reissue not only features the original sleeve's artwork, but also includes a poster to boot. 
by Jo-Ann Greene
1. Life Is Only (Jeff Beer, Ray Brown) - 10:48
2. Tribute To Frank (Jeff Beer) - 1:54
3. Turnpike Lane (Rob Terstall) - 3:42
4. Be The Man You Are (Ray Brown, Rob Terstall) - 2:43
5. Gemini (Steve Hammond) - 8:52
6. Eucalyptus (Jeff Beer) - 2:49
7. Clown (Jeff Beer, Ray Brown, Stuart Fordham) - 8:38
8. Oh No (Frank Zappa) - 13:51
Bonus Track 8

*Jeff Beer - Keyboards, Vibraphone, Percussion, Vocals
*Rob Terstall - Guitar, Vocals
*Ray Brown - Bass, Vocals
*Stuart Fordham - Drums, Percussion