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Hey, it's not just me giving this album a poor rating - its average score on metacritic is 56/100. I wasn't expecting anything else though - Soundgarden were fairly good, Audioslave fairly mediocre.

Carry On sounds like it was made by one of those 'rock' American Idol / X Factor contestants, right down to the 'ironic' stripped-down rendition of "Billie Jean", done in post-grunge power-ballad fashion. Tellingly, the song itself is the best composition here by some measure, even with Cornell hammering home the vocals in an unsubtle and unconstrained manner - it sounds more like Rod Stewart doing the 'Great American Songbook' than anything actually interesting.

The most dramatic and by far the 'best' moment on the album is of course the James Bond theme "You Know My Name". Cornell wasn't perhaps everybody's first choice to sing a Bond theme, yet much like the new Bond Daniel Craig, Chris Cornell was able to bring something new to the franchise. The strings sail along dramatically, accenting the drama of the piece, and Cornell bellows the lyrics most enjoyably too.

That song had to be placed last on the album, because nothing else here even remotely touches its dramatic sonic atmosphere. Instead there's 'solid' middle-of-the-road power-rock numbers such as "Killing Birds". Plenty of tunes contain a nifty Rock guitar solo, yet the suspicion is that Cornell needs a group of young hungry musicians with him, guys with plenty to prove. He seems to be resting on his laurels too much throughout Carry On, rather than pushing himself.

The opening "No Such Thing" does seem to suggest that the album would indeed 'Carry On' from where Audioslave left off - it's a fine, angry and accomplished Rock tune. Otherwise though, it's mid-tempo, chugging, radio-friendly Rock songs of the kind Bryan Adams sings. Carry On is an album that lacks distinctiveness, bar Cornell's vocals (which are in fine shape), but too often he resorts to belting out the lyrics to try and inject some excitement into what are just basic Rock songs.

Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning

Posted: Tuesday 30th Sep 2014 3:36 PM

review
More than half of ELP's diverse debut is comprised by solo pieces, and it is generally more so 'post-Classical' than it is a fullblown Prog record on the whole, mainly because the meticulous structures of Keith Emerson's piano solos are so carefully-conceived as to recall the finest piano-centric works by the famed European Classical composers of centuries past!

And it's very well-deserved of Emerson to be taking the spotlight for the majority of this album - the last two minutes of "Tank" could frankly be the most glorious and sublime moment of synthesiser melodicism this side of Robert A. Moog, and the majesty of the "Clotho" and "Lachesis" segments of "The Three Fates" is the biggest aspect of the album that singlehandedly SCREAMS OUT 'European Classical' above all.

The 7-star "Take a Pebble" is plainly the single most beautiful piece of work ELP ever did in their career. Lake's emotional vocal delivery is stunning, and Jesus Christ, the lengthy instrumental section is a real mighty exploitation of the group's talents ... it really is some tossed salad of ambition! Not only does Emerson create a slightly peculiar melodic effect by taking a guitar plectrum to the innards of his piano during the first section of the song, but after a few minutes the calming qualities of Lake's guitar solo morph ever so suddenly into a jolting rodeo hoedown. It must be heard to believed ... if you only have one reason to purchase ELP's debut then YOU MUST make sure it's the sacredness of "Take a Pebble".

The Medieval-tinged storyteller "Lucky Man" - written by Lake when he was merely twelve years old - also emotionally moves to a great extent, and its assigned spot right at the end at the album makes it seem as though it's a sort of 'lullabye' to put you to rest after over a half-hour of rapid-fire ambition ... then of course you get treated to a surprise quick one-take Moog solo from Emerson. Bit dated-sounding nowadays, but remember: this WAS the first ever synth solo of its kind.

For me, this could very well be considered the most groundbreaking and coherently excellent ELP album, which is really saying something considering that it was their first offering (do bear in mind the past experience and expertise of the individual members), and it still stands as a truly indispensable 'Classical Rock' crossover record - one that set new musical precedents for the 70's, special thanks to the inventive and dynamic stylistic textures that dominate its instrumental segments. Plain genius.

Rated:
by Reviewer: Ryan Alexander

Posted: Wednesday 1st Oct 2014 6:14 PM

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