Lady Lake - No Pictures. 1977 (1997) Netherlands

Lady Lake - No Pictures. 1977 Q Records

CD Reissues: 1997 Musiphyle (France); 2010 MALS (Russia)

Packaging details: My first copy of this fine album arrived from Europe in a trade in the early 90s. As soon as the CD came out, I sold the original LP in one of my catalogs (from 1995 to 1999 I had 7 lists under the Creativity and Chaos moniker - to ultimately be replaced by ebay). Today, I probably would have kept it, but I really have no regrets on selling it. The packaging is basic and offers little for collectors. Funny enough, the price it goes for on ebay is pretty much what it went for 20 years ago. The CD (the second cover photo), on the other hand, is outstanding. It features wonderful sound, a complete history of the band with unique photos and insights. Perhaps even better, the CD contains a completely new album's worth of material recorded in 1997, and could easily be considered two albums on one CD. Musiphyle is a sub-label of none other than Musea. Not sure why the different designation, though it may have something to do with the new album being included with the reissue. Like many of the Musea albums, Lady Lake's album has been reissued legitimately in Russia by the excellent MALS label. It's a shame, though not entirely undeserved, that Russia has a reputation for being a land of pirates. There are many hard working, honest and totally above board business folks there as well. And MALS is one of them. Don't shy away from their reissues if you see them.

Review: Lady Lake, from The Netherlands, present a pastoral, melodic, yet complex progressive rock album. Acoustic guitar is the backbone to their sound, and recalls early Genesis around "Selling England By The Pound". This ostensible light background is offset by plenty of psychedelic guitar sequences, which are quite striking in this setting. Moog and Fender Rhodes play a major role as well. Vocals are fortunately sparse and ultimately unnecessary. The music never sits still too long, always on the move, while surprisingly being able to maintain its melodic core. My vote for best track would be 'Fading Trees' though 'Magic Twanger' is a close second. "Mirage" era Camel is probably the most obvious influence overall. More obscure references would include Hoelderlin ("Clowns and Clouds"), M.L. Bongers Project and Ivory (Germany).

As mentioned prior, the CD also contains newly recorded material from 1997 that was originally composed from 1979-1982. Not surprisingly, the music has a similar compositional quality to the original "No Pictures" album. Of course, the guitar here is more "90s pig squeal" and less "70s psychedelic" which is a pity. The aural landscape is more broad brush, with less finely pointed detail. But still a fine effort, and shows the band hasn't lost touch with their ambitious progressive background. Camel clearly remains their main influence on these tracks. From here, they were to continue and actually improve on their next proper release "Supercleandreammachine" (2005).

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