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Pirana: Pirana/Pirana II (remastered)

Pirana were a little known band from Australia who released two albums back in the early '70s on the EMI/Harvest label. Pirana (1971) and Pirana II (1972), the only two albums the band would create before splitting up, are both fine examples of progressive rock/hard rock that was very indicative of the time. The band did plenty of touring in Australia supporting major acts like Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, and Procol Harum, and the influence of those bands certainly rubbed off on them.

This Progressive Line remaster contains both albums on a single CD, and the sound quality is very good. You can hear bits of Deep Purple, Santana, Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly, Pink Floyd, Nektar, and Wishbone Ash in the music of Pirana, the band driven by some sizzling guitar work of Tony Hamilton and the marvelous Hammond organ & piano of Stan White and Keith Greig. Jim Yonge (drums) and Graeme Thomson (bass) round out the line-up. Many of the songs are somewhat lengthy, featuring lush atmosphere as well as some spirited jams, with vocals handled by Hamilton, White, and Greig. Tunes like "Elation", with its crisp wah-wah guitar riffs and raging Hammond, or the soaring "Sermonette", a mix of melodic pop and frantic Santana/Chicago influenced jams, show how much this band had to offer. Hamilton is a truly special player, his style a cross between Terry Kath, Carlos Santana, and Andy Powell, quite melodic yet fiery at the same time. There's more than enough adventurous material here to please the prog crowd, but the band did a great job mixing elements of hard rock & pop into their early proto-prog sound, like on the catchy "Easy Ride", which makes both of these albums a must for anyone into early '70s rock in general.

"Stand Back", with its bombastic Hammond, sinewy lead guitar lines, and rich vocals, easily brings to mind Deep Purple, Vanilla Fudge, and Uriah Heep, while the mysterious "Pir'ana" and the haunting "Then Came the Light" could have easily been leftovers on any of the early Santana albums. In fact, much of the second album has a very prominent Santana influence running through it, with "I've Seen Sad Days" especially sounding a bit similar to "Soul Sacrifice" at times and drummer Yonge more than displaying his Latin inspired drum & percussion chops throughout. Personally, I can't get enough of the Leslie soaked Hammond organ and scorching guitar solos of "Thinking of You" and "Here It Comes Again", two groove laden and quite jammy tracks located near the band end of the Pinana II album. They close out the record with the upbeat "Move to the Country", again with Hamilton's Kath-meets-Santana fueled wah-wah licks and Greig's swirling organ leading the charge.

Honestly, it's not hard to fall completely in love with these two albums, as there are just so many memorable tunes here, many of which feature outstanding guitar & keyboard work, plus addicting vocal melodies. It's a real shame that this band never really broke out of Australia and caught the attention of the rest of the world, as they could have easily been a major attraction in other markets given the chance. Nice job here on this remaster, though the booklet is pretty bare bones and doesn't really give any info on the band. If you like early '70s rock music with elements of prog-rock, hard rock, and pop, you definitely need to seek this one out.

Track Listing
1) Elation
2) Sermonette
3) The Time Is Now
4) Find Yourself a New Girl
5) The River
6) Easy Ride
7) Stand Back
Pirana II
8) Pir'ana
9) The Came the Light
10) I've Seen Sad Days
11) Persuasive Percussion
12) I've Got to Learn to Love More Today
13) Jimbo's Blow
14) Thinking of You
15) Here It Comes Again
16) Move to the Country

Added: May 3rd 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 2629
Language: english

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