Spectrum were the most adventerous of the early 1970's Australian progressive bands. The leader, singer and main songwriter, Mike Rudd, has said that they were so concerned with the serious music that they scorned anything like a single. To make the point, their first release was a single, no doubt released at record company insistance, the brilliant "I'll Be Gone" and was a minor hit. The band, however, refused to put it on their first album, "Part One". Harvest, the famous English prog label released the record, bearing the valueable SHVL prefix. An original is quite expensive today.
The album was made up of four long tracks featuring the loud organ of Lee Neale, the chords and slow guitar of Rudd and his distinctive voice. In concert, they used plenty of volume and improvisation was an intergral part of the live experience. I recall seeing them support a tour of blues legends. Normally the support band has great trouble gaining any interest and audience respect. Not so with Spectrum, at the end of the short set, the crowd wanted more.
By the time they recorded their masterpiece, "Milesago", they had honed their sound and songwriting skills. Although seroius, there was a need to lighten up, hence "A Virgin's Tale" and "What The World Needs Now (Is A New Pair Of Socks)". This lighter approach led to the band developing an alter ego "Indilible Murtceps" under whose guise they went on to make some great records.
It is a double album, again on Harvest, but with the SHDW prefix. Nonetheless, a quick trawl through Ebay will reveal that a good original is worth a small fortune.
This, of course, has nothing to do with the music, it is prog with a rock bent, coloured by the voice and guitar of Mike Rudd and with great variety in the songs. Rudd is not a flashy guitarist, but he is an excellent songwriter and arranger, such that he used his limitations to the band's advantage. It has always been one of my favourite albums and is essential for any lover progressive music.
After Spectrum folded a few years later, bassist Bill Putt and Rudd formed Ariel, their stab at pop. They had some success, but the music was vastly less interesting. Putt and Rudd still perform as Spectrum, but they are now deeply rooted in acoustic blues, a far cry from this masterpiece.
Review, Album, and Scans submitted by fellow contributor micaus