LP: Three-starred Procol Harum (by Thom Thorsteinsen)
Now, as Procol Harum release their new album, Grand Hotel, its success will depend on the answer to one question: will the record appear to be a continuation of the group's previous studio product, Broken Barricades, or as a step along the road from their magnificent Live at Edmonton?
The first-mentioned record was very difficult to access, and in reality very unfruitful, while the Edmonton record must without a doubt be placed among last year's three or four best records.
Fortunately the answer is the latter. Luckily for the band, since they didn't enmire themselves further in the incomprehensible. And luckily for the audience, who in Grand Hotel have got a collection of melodies that are progressive pop at its best.
The record contains nine tracks, of which six can be said to be good, and three are just brilliant.
As usual Keith Reid is behind all the texts. This time he is absolutely clear and understandable – specially for those of us who often have great difficulties with the symbolism in modern lyrics. And as usual Gary Brooker has made the melodies, and he also dominates the performance by singing on all the songs.
The title track Grand Hotel portrays rather acidly the life of indulgence that the group has tasted at continental – presumably French – luxury hotels.
Toujours 'Amour is of the kind of song that should be played at full volume. Let the rhythm hit your feet, and the bass your stomach muscles, while Gary sings his sad love story. Wonderful!
And finally the raisin in the sausage (!): Christianne Legrand
from the Swingle Singers took the trip from Paris to sing variations over a beautiful
little theme in Fires (Which Burnt Brightly). A beautiful melody, and how refreshing
it is to have a female voice in the midst of the rather masculine Procol Harum
Grand Hotel is warmly recommended (Chrysalis)
More Procol Harum history in print