A.F.T. - Automatic Fine Tuning. 1976 England

A.F.T. - Automatic Fine Tuning. 1976 Charisma

Reissue: None, and certainly one of the UK's last great albums not on CD. A perfect choice for Esoteric. This album is featured on our CD Reissue Wish List. I've owned the LP since the 1980s, back when you could find albums like this just rummaging around a used record store.

*1. The Great Panjandrum Wheel (Part One) -- in 4 parts
2. Gladioli
*3. The Great Panjandrum Wheel (Part Two) -- in 5 parts
4. Queen of the Night

It's not easy to maintain an interesting album with dual electric (no acoustic) guitars carrying the load throughout the entire recording, but that's exactly what A.F.T. manages to do. The rhythm section is no slouch, but their primary purpose is to keep the compositions moving along, rather than act as a feature. So no boring drum solos, or acrobatic meter sections are highlighted. Just dual guitars, with occasional solos. Fortunately guitarist's MacDonnell and Cross are up to the task, and provide the listener with many exciting sections, and add plenty of tonal changes to keep it interesting. The knee-jerk reaction is to compare AFT to other dual guitar acts from the UK such as Wishbone Ash and Man, but that isn't really the case at all. In fact, you have to fast forward another decade, and look towards the California group Djam Karet for any kind of relative comparison. While the feature pieces are the lengthy 1) and 3) that opens each side, the shorter track 2) is similar, and no less exciting. Track 4) sees the band try their hand at a more straightforward hard rock format, with vocals. And while pleasant, the 3+ minute track comes across as a bit of a throwaway. Otherwise a super album.

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