Egg - The Polite Force. 1970 England

The album opens with the 8+ minute 'A Visit to Newport Hospital', which is a quintessential Canterbury like number. The opening chords will remind one of Black Sabbath, except as played on the organ! From there, the track unwinds into a marvelous jazzy progressive piece, with those trademark fuzz organ solos, and whimsical melodic British vocals. It is, in fact, darn near perfect. If only the whole album was like this! The 4+ minute 'Contrasong' continues in the same manner, perhaps a bit more towards the jazz spectrum. And then.... Egg completely lost their minds. 'Boilk' is 9+ minutes of painful improvisational noise. One begins to question if there are indeed Homo Sapiens in the room at all. I often wonder why bands of immense talent like Egg feel it necessary to demonstrate that they too can play like a 3rd grader on their first music lesson. What a waste of time really. This leads to the side long track appropriately titled 'Long Piece No. 3'. It's an encapsulation of everything Egg was about up until this time. Wonderful progressions, and memorable melodies, offset by tuneless improvisation. Fortunately Egg cut the excess on the latter, and the composition as a whole is thoroughly enjoyable. A fine album, stripped of masterpiece status due to a near 10 minute nasty stain. Tragedy that.

Personal collection
LP: 1970 Deram
CD: 2005 Deram/Universal (Japan)

Apparently the album wasn't released until 1971, though the copyright date is clearly 1970. Despite Egg being a high profile band, CDs were strictly the fodder of pirates  for years, since the only digital version was the obscure and expensive 1991 Japanese press. The Japanese mini from 2005 is exactly what you would expect in terms of quality packaging, and I'm guessing they used the same masters as provided back in 1976.

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