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HIGH TIDE Sea Shanties Ecelectic (2006)

High Tide

Appearances can be deceiving. Its cover and title suggest 'Sea Shanties' to be a folk rock effort: the musical equivalent of jolly jack tars enjoying a break from swabbing down decks on a sunny day. Yet the closest maritime analogy to this extraordinary music would be the sight of the mid-Atlantic in a winter storm: a slate-grey heaving mass of brutal and unyielding force, awesome and threatening yet mesmerising.

Ex-Misunderstood guitar virtuoso Tony Hill came up with the formidable concept of High Tide in 1969. The band's song-writer, he aggregated his skills to Simon (Hawkwind) House's violin and then ramped these up to the sky with Peter Pavli's solid basslines and the explosive drumming of Roger Hadden.

Opening track, 'Futilist's Lament', sets out the stall with density and relentlessness, fusing hard rock, psych and snatches of folk into an unstoppable industrial might topped by Hill's theatrically gloomy vocals (a hybrid of Arthur Brown and Jim Morrison).

The rest ('Death Warmed Up', 'Pushed, But Not Forgotten' etc al) deliver a further four work-outs topped off on this latest reissue by three equally formidable previously-unreleased recordings from the sessions, plus two album demos.

Complex, individually intricate playing forms a maelstrom milestone in this 'must-have' for any hard rock fan.


Review by Peter Muir

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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