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Lift: The Moment of Hearing

The multitude of fantastic American prog bands from the 70's underground is staggering, with bands like Hands, Mirthrander, Cathedral, Pentwater, and Lift all recording some classic prog rock music that unfortunately did not find its way to the masses. Greg Walker at Syn-Phonic has kindly re-released the material from Lift, and this CD contains the original album Caverns of Your Brain(recorded between 1972-1975 in New Orleans) plus recordings from a later period in the bands history that were finished in Atlanta. The result is a fine CD of energetic and sometimes atmospheric Yes/Genesis flavored prog.

The epic "Simplicity/Caverns" kicks things off in grand style, and features vintage keyboards from Chip Gremillion (Moog, Hammond, Mellotron), melodic vocals from Courtenay Hilton-Green, and furious guitar work from Richard Huxen. The song is "mammoth" to say the least, and goes through many twists and turns, rhythmically kicked by bassist Cody Kelleher and drummer Chip Grevemberg (yes, two Chip's in this band!) who also put in fine performances. "Buttercup Boogie" is a very speedy piece that showcases Gremillion's nimble keyboard work, which at times is reminiscant of Rick Wakeman or Patrick Moraz. The New Orleans recordings end with another epic, titled "Tripping Over the Rainbow", which is a Mellotron lovers delight. The drama that the band creates on this track is quite impressive, hightened by fluid guitar work, bass pedals, and great vocals.

"Perspectives" starts off the Atlanta sessions, recorded between 1976-1979, and is another Yes flavored track, featuring new vocalist Laura "Poppy" Pate, who has a lovely voice. There is also a strong Genesis feel to this song as well, with some melodic Steve Hackett inspired fretwork from Huxen, which differs from some of his more fiery playing elsewhere on the CD. New member Mike Mitchell adds some nice 12 string guitar work as well. The middle section has a very ominous, spacey feeling which really works, and fans of "Suppers Ready" by Genesis should get a kick out of it. In fact much of the material from Atlanta is a bit more atmospheric in nature, quite like what Genesis was doing at the time, as opposed to the more aggressive songs from New Orleans. Both "The Toast" and "The Waiting Room" are a bit more mellow than some of the other material, the latter having a Renaissance flavor to it thanks to Pate's passionate vocals. "The Masque", written by guitarist Huxen, has a heavier guitar sound, but contains majestic piano and synthesizer, plus multi-layered vocals from Pate, new bassist Tony Vaughn, and Huxen. It's important to point out the talent behind Richard Huxen's guitar playing. While there are similarities to both Steve Howe and Steve Hackett at times, Richard utilized flashy lead runs, monstrous volume swells, Echoplex, and lush acoustic strums, to great effect throughout this CD. The final track on the CD is "Wind Psalm", a song left off the Atlanta sessions, and here a rough instrumental mix was recreated on MIDI in 2001. This song, even in this bare format, is much more commercial sounding, which according to the liner notes, is the reason it was never recorded originally.

The one drawback to this CD is the sound quality of the Atlanta tracks, which is a bit below average, but that is a minor flaw, as the songs hold up well. Another fine release from Syn-Phonic of a lost treasure, so to speak.

Added: July 17th 2002
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Lift Website
Hits: 8204
Language: english

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