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Lucifer's Friend: Banquet

Album Notes

On Banquet, Lucifer's Friend finally pulled together the many different elements to their sound (prog, soul, jazz, hard rock) into one cohesive and totally distinctive style. This time out, the primary focus of the album is epic prog numbers with complex instrumentation that go through a variety of surprising and ambitious changes in their arrangements. The standout example is the opening track, "Spanish Galleon": this pirate-themed epic starts with a Latin-flavored rock groove, that is given further power by the addition of horns, segues into a lyrical, pirate-themed song section that climaxes with a rousing chorus, takes a left turn into an instrumental portion studded with jazzy solos, and then finishes with a stirring reprise of the song section. The other prog numbers continue in a similar vein, reaching heights of almost orchestral complexity, but working in enough hooks and solid songcraft into the compositions to keep the listener hooked. Another standout in this arena is "Sorrow," a keyboard-based epic that features a lovely midsection where a keyboard solo is accompanied by a lush string arrangement. Banquet also balances out these epics with a pair of shorter, poppier songs that still manage to show off the band's firepower and complexity in their tighter format; the best is "Dirty Old Town," the closing ballad that builds to a jazzy, horn-powered chorus. All in all, Banquet is a fine, underrated prog outing and is worthy of rediscovery by art-rock fanatics. It's an ideal introduction to the sound of Lucifer's Friend. ~ Donald A. Guarisco


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