This is ELP's WTF album.
Having never heard 1978's Love Beach before – I'd only heard about the record, including a diss from Carl Palmer himself, who made fun of its Bee Gees-like cover on his last U.S. tour – I popped in this 2008 reissue with an open mind. Upon spinning the first five songs, each clocking in at less than four-and-a-half minutes and sounding suspiciously like wannabe pop songs revolving around love and even (gasp!) sex, it became clear that audiences back in the day must have been nothing short of shell-shocked when hearing this for the first time. Didn't ELP epitomize the bombast and excess of Seventies progressive rock in all its overblown glory? It had to have seemed as unexpected of a career killer as, say, Judas Priest releasing a two-CD symphonic-metal concept album about a 16th-century French prophet would be today.
Recorded in the Bahamas, the locale's sunniness is reflected in bassist/vocalist Greg Lake's songs. Palmer makes the most of the situation by incorporating some intricate rhythms, and the trio attempts a return to form with Rodrigo's "Canario" and the four-part suite "Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman." But Love Beach obviously took its toll on ELP. The group would not work together again until 1992's Black Moon, and this album remains the black sheep of the catalog.
Still, whether it be for the sake of nostalgia, history or plain curiosity, Love Beach is available once again. It's remastered, too, although there are no bonus tracks. You don't really need those…
1) All I Want Is You
2) Love Beach
3) Taste of My Love
4) The Gambler
5) For You
7) Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman