BGO Records has done a fantastic job the last few years reissuing rock, jazz, and prog classics on 2-on-1 CD's that are affordable for all import buyers here in the US. The first two albums from Canadian band Klaatu are a perfect example of mid-70's symphonic progressive rock, and while the big rumor going around at the time was whether Klaatu were actually the Beatles or not, the band actually at times sounds just like the Moody Blues, Barclay James Harvest, or Allan Parsons Project as well as the Fab Four.
The bands one big hit, "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" (turned into an even bigger hit for the Carpenters later on) is a lush symphonic affair, similar to the sound of the Moodies or BJH, with soaring Mellotron, synths, and fantastic melodic vocals. "California Jam" shows their Beatles influence a bit , with raucous guitars and layers of background vocals, while the hard rockin' "Anus of Uranus" has hilarious lyrics about late nite visitors from space. The McCartney/Lennon vocal thing rears its head on the pop splendor of "Sub-Rosa Subway", a wonderful ditty that just drips Beatles, and features horns, bubbling synths, and effective, chunky guitar work. More gritty hard rock (sounding like a charged up James Gang) can be heard on "True Life Hero", while the Mellotron again pops up accompanied by sitar on the whimsical "Doctor Marvello." Those into humorous, British sounding renaissance period music will love "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III", while "Little Neutrino" reminded me a bit of ELO, with lots of multi-tracked vocals (including utilization of the Talk Box) and layers of synths and strings.
The Hope part of the CD kicks off with the happy-go-lucky and symphonic "We're Off You Know", another tune squarely in the style of the Beatles. Hard rock guitar and intense organ dominate the psychotic "Madman", while "Around the Universe in Eighty Days" shares more than a few similarities to "Dear Prudence." Regardless of that, the song features some cool cello, Mellotron, and haunting vocals. The band goes for some Sgt. Pepper styled fun on the rocking "Long Live Politzania", symphonic prog on the beautiful yet desperate "The Loneliest of Creatures", full-fledged BJH flavor on "Prelude", and more trippy Beatles/ELO sounds on "So Said the Lighthouse Keeper/Hope", which actually ends the album in pure light-hearted fashion.
Both of these albums by Klaatu are light prog classics, not meant to stimulate the ears with intricate instrumentation or defy the mind with vague and deep lyrics. Perfect for a bright Sunday morning while flippin' some pancakes, crackin' some eggs, and reading the Sunday paper. The music will certainly bring a smile to your day and brighten it up a bit.