Prog Round-up: November 2015

Geoff Barton on new releases from Sendelica, Octopie, Starship Trooper, Inner Odyssey and Eloah

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Sendelica: Live At The 7th Psychedelic Network Festival 2014

If you think of prog as a slow-moving behemoth, you couldn’t be more wrong. Next year sees Welsh psych wizards Sendelica celebrating their 10th anniversary and all manner of festivities are planned, including a brand new studio album with guests Nik Turner and Twink, due for release in February, with a further freshly recorded full-length to follow later in the year. Plus there’ll be a split 7-inch single with Chicago’s the Luck Of Eden Hall, together with tons of touring.

In the meantime, we have this live album (recorded in Würzburg, Germany) to keep us happy, which is best appreciated in double vinyl album format and its glorious Hawkwind-esque gatefold sleeve. Kicking off with the slow, stalking Spaceman Bubblegum, the band are on top free-form, er, form, Lee Relfe contributing some standout sax playing. Sides three and four are dedicated to the epic Master Benjamin Warned Young Albert Not To Step On The Uninsulated Air, which equates to 45 minutes of delicious delirium. (810)

Octopie: *The Adventure Of Harry And Walrus Kane*

Finland’s Octopie have produced a deeply affecting album about (stop sniggering at the back there) a walrus who helps a lonely man find joy and meaning in his life again. Reminiscent of a childlike Primus in places, and laced with quirkiness and humour, this comes highly recommended. Goo-goo-good job. (710)

Starship Trooper: *The Great Pond In The Sky*

Canadian multi-instrumentalist Ron Charron was inspired – if ‘inspired’ is the correct word – to record this album following the passing of Yes bassist Chris Squire earlier this year. A noble idea, for sure, but the end results – *Fragile *sanitised for consumption in a department-store elevator – are questionable. Sarah Brightman won’t lose her heart to this one. (510)

Inner Odyssey: *Ascension*

This Canadian band were formed by Vincent Leboeuf Gadreau in 2007. At that time they had a vocalist named Pier-Luc Garand Dio but he has now left, the result of a preposterous name clash. This accomplished – but mildly derivative – album falls between Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater and Gentle Giant. A little more individualism and they’ll be ones to watch. (610)

Eloah: *Planet Zargo*

We were initially attracted to Eloah due to the press-release comparisons to Stomu Yamashta and Jade Warrior. It was therefore a shock to find they’re more closely affiliated to the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, with plummy Stanshall/Innes-style vocals and a wacky sense of the absurd. Once you get over the surprise, this is enjoyably idiosyncratic. (610)

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.