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London Underground - 2000 London Underground

ARTIST: London Underground
ALBUM: London Underground
LABEL: Record Heaven
YEAR: 2000


LINEUP: Daniele Caputo - drums, percussion, vocals * Marco Piagessi - bass, banjo, backing vocals * Gianluca Gerlini - piano, hammond, organ, moog, clavinet, mellotron

Additional Musicians: Claudio Bianchini - pedal steel guitar * Stefano Cudia, Gianni Corongiu - guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Kultual Opus #1 * 02 Magda K * 03 Worst Is Yet To Come * 04 Squadron Leader * 05 Everywhere I Go * 06 Mass Baptizer * 07 Was She Worth My Time * 08 Love Is A Beautiful Thing * 09 Whatcha Gonna Do

The confounding progressive trend towards recreating early '70s sounds continues unabated with new bands armed to the teeth with Hammond organs, Mellotron and Orange amps appearing on the scene regularly. The Swedes seem to have a special affinity for this particular style, producing a number of bands over the years including Anglagard and their dark 1992 masterpiece 'Hybris' which can be held responsible for opening the wormhole in the first place. Initially when I heard 'Hybris' and other albums by Landberk and Sinkadus it was a novelty and fun, but now not so much and could you ever really call it 'progressive'? Its appropriate then, Italy's London Underground formed by two members of another '70s influenced band Standarte signed to the Swedish prog imprint Record Heaven, which was for label and band like a magnet to steel I imagine. Several reviews over the years have compared the London Underground's music to everyone from Pink Floyd to Germany's Birth Control and more importantly The Beatles which naturally peaked my interest especially when I checked out the packaging.

The Songs
Presented in a very cool booklet and back tray card of vintage color 'Swinging London' photos, the band or label set the mood perfectly, but their supposedly biggest influence - The Beatles I hear very little of leaving me to wonder if I listening to the same record. Sounding very much 1970 and to my ears a blend of Procol Harum and Atomic Rooster with loads of organ as if the ghost of the late Vincent Crane haunted the sessions. Yeah, there's some backwards guitar on 'Kultual Opus #1' and 'Everywhere I Go' is in the music hall-all you need is love-mystery tour style which is where The Beatles comparisons stem, but really this disc is a keyboard lovers dream especially the Mellotron drenched 'Was She Worth My Time' and the driving Hammond of 'Love Is A Beautiful Thing' which recreates the spirit of early Procol Harum almost perfectly.

In Summary
For what it's worth, the London Underground debut is a fine effort although it's never been a disc I've played much since I'd rather hear the early Procol Harum albums for the real 'vintage prog' deal. The band recorded another disc 'Through A Glass Darkly' which was released in 2003 on the French label Musea, although with an ever lengthening LP and CD want list, I doubt I'll be hearing it anytime soon.

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