The biggest influence for Island definitely seems to be Van der Graaf Generator, and the band certainly approaches progressive rock from the darker end of the spectrum. In a similar fashion to VdGG, the group relies on saxophone and other wind instruments for heaviness rather than guitar, and goes for a quirky, sometimes dissonant, but strangely melodic feel. Unfortunately, the fire behind VdGG was always Peter Hammill's seething lyricism and incredible voice, as well as that band's ability to effortlessly build up into moments of raging apocalyptic fury. Island just doesn't go the distance the way their heroes do, preferring to meander along with well executed arrangements, and a merely acceptable vocal delivery. The band also evokes Gentle Giant in many of their more overtly complex moments, which can be superb at points but cold at others.
there are much ZEUHL leanings on this record. Zeuhll, you said? You mean MAGMA? Well certainly as far as the bass is concerned, but the overall style of the music on this album , this all yells out Zeuhl.
- Benjamin Jäger / lead vocals, percussion
- Güge Jürg Meier / drums, gongs, percussion
- Peter Scherer / keyboards, pedal-bass, voices crotales
- René Fisch / sax, flute, clarinet, triangle, voices
1. Introduction (1:28)
2. Zero (6:13)
3. Pictures (16:51)
4. Herold And King / Dloreh (12:13)
5. Here And Now (12:15)
Bonus track on cd release:
6. Empty Bottles (23:35)
The four guys from Switzerland really offer prog rock at it’s very best. The “Introduction” causes an atmosphere which is slightly reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. It’s made of percussion-breakouts, gongs, and weird saxophone, one of the best prologues I know, hilarious and attention-grabbing. With “Zero” follows a tune which finally gets you into this album (yes so early). It’s an instrumental which reminds me of Gentle Giant and Brand X at the same time. Again, the percussion is the dominating element. I also want to mention the tremendous so called walking-bass in the middle section. ISLAND’s music has a jazzy approach which is caused mainly by the Saxophone, flute and clarinet. “Zero” is a really terrific instrumental and alone worth download the album. “Pictures” has Gentle Giant like vocals, melody lines like the early Genesis but because of the free jazz approach totally different and unique. It’s also important to mention the nice clarinet solo in the middle of the song as well as the perfect rhythm section. The fragile vocals of Benjamin Meier append a mysterious coloration to the general sound, lovely. “Herold and King”, the song you can download, also has the right to be called masterpiece. A marvellous piano introduction introduces the song which is in general much queerer than all other songs of this album. Percussion attacks and backwards sung lyrics really grab hold of you. “Here and now” is the last song of the original LP. I really like the vocals and the long instrumental parts which are again a blend of Gentle Giant and some Fusion…every time the Saxophone appears you also can hear some VdGG…but I said it before, due to the free jazz approach the whole sound is totally new and can’t really be compared to any of the named bands. “Empty Bottles” is a bonus track of the CD-Reissue. It’s a mammoth track recorded some time in the studio. According to the sound maybe during a jam session.
(review compiled from progarchives and progweed)
Links in comment.
Island - Pictures: