Arthur Brown And Vincent Crane - Faster Than The Speed Of Light (1980) - Replica Radio

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Arthur Brown And Vincent Crane - Faster Than The Speed Of Light (1980)

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Faster Than the Speed of Light got in just under the deadline of the new decade, a spectacle of grand progressive rock excess in a style that just wouldn't be possible in the '80s. The instrumentation on this album consists of Arthur Brown on vocals, Atomic Rooster's Vincent Crane (who had co-written Brown's signature track, "Fire," in 1968) on organ and piano, and drummer Clifford Venner, plus the entirety of the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra. The resulting prog rock symphonics mesh somewhat uneasily with Crane's forward-looking synth rock experiments on songs like "Nothing We Can Do," but as a whole, this apocalyptic concept album makes a virtue of its own overblown pomposity. Arthur Brown always had a knack for deflating his occasionally pretentious lyrics with a refreshing modicum of dry wit, which holds him in good stead on the opening "Storm Clouds." On the centerpiece track, "Storm," Brown sings in an unexpected falsetto over a synth-dominated backing track reminiscent of some of Frank Zappa's mid-'70s work. Of course, all the various elements come together on the climactic title track, featuring some of Brown's most enjoyably overwrought vocals, a keyboard solo that Keith Emerson himself might find excessive, and some of the biggest orchestral swells to be found in the entire symphonic rock genre. It's all a bit over the top, naturally, but somehow it doesn't seem pretentious or annoying.

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