Picks and Pans Review: Gtr

UPDATED 06/23/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/23/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT


Return with us now to yesteryear, to the perishable joys of '70s art-rock. Both these groups, full of castaways from that lost decade, are technically proficient in their sweeping musical statements. The debut of GTR (Arista), however, is an unmitigated disaster. Led by guitarists Steve Howe, formerly of Yes and Asia, and Steve Hackett, a veteran of Genesis, the group piles on too much of everything, overinflating its sound. With his officious and uninteresting voice, Max Bacon, an alumnus of the British group Nightwing, pitches himself willy-nilly to the forefront of this crashing bore. The result is bad rock-opera. Infinitely preferable is the work of Emerson, Lake & Powell (Polygram). Cozy Powell, who played with Jeff Beck, ably replaces Carl Palmer as Keith Emerson's and Greg Lake's drummer. The creativity of the trio is most evident on this album in their performance of such longer pieces as The Score and The Miracle. Emerson's bravura keyboard playing is especially penetrating, sounding revivified after three years away from the studio. He still produces that unique tone, a cross between an organ and a trumpet. If you have to be stuck in time, as both these groups apparently are, it's obviously best to have the smarts and style of EL&P.

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