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Klaatu - 1977 Hope

ARTIST: Klaatu
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-11633
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2002, Bullseye (Canada), BLR-CD-2511 * 2011, Klaatunes, KR-CD-0002


LINEUP: Dee Long - vocals, keyboards, guitar * Terry Draper - vocals, drums, percussion, trombone * John Woloschuk - vocals, keyboards, bass, acoustic guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 We're Off You Know * 02 Madman * 03 Around The Universe In Eighty Days * 04 Long Live Politzania * 05 The Loneliest Of Creatures * 06 Prelude * 07 So Said The Lighthouse Keeper * 08 Hope


Klaatu as a band are probably best remembered by many for being mistaken for The Beatles back in the 70's, which is a shame as Klaatu produced some excellent music which was overshadowed by the hype surrounding the band. 'Hope' being the follow up to the excellent '3:47 EST' debut album is a brilliant piece of work, conceptual in nature and broad in its vision and deserves(ed) far more recognition. Produced by the band and Terry Brown of Rush fame, this album delivers a cornucopia of delights. The music contained can loosely be described as symphonic prog, with a dash of psychedelic pop and Queen like bombast. With this album band members John Woloshhuk, Dee Long, and Terry Draper were on a creative roll, they also utilised the London Symphony Orchestra to embellish their lofty ideas, but the final product saw a lot of the Orchestration unfortunately removed. This was put right on the 2005 compilation album 'Sun Set' which, although hard to find has the complete 'Hope Orchestral' version of the album which is also a delight to hear.

The Songs
The album starts off with the jaunty Beatles influenced 'We're Off You Know' with its 'Penny Lane' influences worn very much on its sleeve. 'Madman' is a rockier affair, with vocal effects added to make for a somewhat menacing track.'Around The Universe In 80 Days' is a lush keyboard led song with intricate vocal and instrument arrangements.'Long Live Politzania' is one of the albums centrepieces and at over 9 minutes contains (admittedly, now cod) spoken interludes, Queen like histrionics and ambitious orchestral arrangements, the song finishes off with the Plotizanian anthem which is a joyous, OTT melody typical of the early to mid 70's prog type of nonsense, but marvellous none the less. In old money that would be side one dealt with. on to side two which is, for me one of the best pieces of 70's music ever delivered, yes I know that that sounds rather grand but this side of the LP is very special.'The Loneliest Of Creatures' is a delicate song full of exquisite vocal arrangements and has a gorgeous melody to boot.'Prelude' is wholly instrumental and far reaching in its scope and grandeur and is befitting of any 70's prog album. 'So Said The Lighthouse Keeper' is melancholy in nature and again has a beautiful melody contained within its deep, dark undertones. 'Hope' finishes off the album beautifully understated, with a Beatles 'Abbey Road' flavour to it, and with a reprise of the opening track 'We're Off You Know' to round off proceedings. All in all an album that probably not many people know about, but if they have a passing interest in the symphonic prog of the early 70's and like a good concept then this should be right up their street. The production of the album is superb with a depth and real richness to it. This album has stood the ravages of time and is one that I regularly return to, and stands as a monument to ambitious and creative writing and arranging.

In Summary
Without doubt this album is an acquired taste, no howling guitars but an album that is multi faceted with hidden depths, and back in '77 this was perfect for my burgeoning musical tastes. In truth this album came out of nowhere, after the promising debut, no one was prepared for the sheer scope, pomposity and ambition surrounding this release, so no wonder then that 'Hope' did not meet with universal appeal and so this album like so many others was doomed to live a life of misunderstanding and benign indifference. If you haven't already guessed I love this album from start to finish... a lost 70's masterpiece which sits comfortably with all the other symphonic prog greats. After this album the band carried on making music but nothing came close to this opus, and with diminishing returns the band finally split in 1982. There is a 2012 re-mastered version of 'Hope' available through the bands website... well worth investing in.

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#1 | Eric on August 03 2014 19:41:31
Nice review. I was credited in the 'Sun Set' booklet as they pulled quotes from my interview with Dee Long. I owned that release for three months, when I finally played it, I was thumbing through the booklet and there it was. I 'bout fell off my chair, the label never told me.
#2 | Nick C on August 09 2014 08:41:42
1st two Klaatu are classics. I should pick up their 3rd and 4th I guess.... both as a 2 on 1 so the time might be right. Having read this I just picked up Magentalane from the band site which was always a bit pricey for me...a penny over £14 inc postage so that'll do nicely.
#3 | swazi on October 10 2014 15:38:47
Hmmm ..., I must admit, this disc is not really my cup of tea. They certainly do sound sort of beatles-ish, but this one is too weird for me ...
#4 | Explorer on October 10 2014 16:04:01
Fair comment....this album did come out of nowhere and it took me many plays to get into it fully, but I can appreciate it,s not for everyone.

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