Eloy - Performance
Category : underrated
Whan it comes to this German Progressive Rock band, everybody seems to agree that they peaked in the second half of the seventies. As was the case with many Prog bands (including such greats like Yes and Rush), the early eighties brought along a shift in sound and feel, due to the new tendency in production to make everything sound more crisp, but also colder. The 80's output of Eloy suffers the same fate. But I have never let the sound of a production stand in the way of appreciating a good song. Even worse, I think that many songs benefit from a slick production (*), especially if they're coming from bands that make some kind of melodic Rock with lots of synths.
The material isn't strong throughout the entire album, so many people put it in the same league as the follow up 'Metronome' (I think even that one still had one or two decent tracks, by the way). But in my opinion 'Performance' is saved from mediocrity by three fabulous tracks that can easily stand next to their best material. The three songs may sound poppier and sometimes also lighter than older material, but my feeling is that this is still signature Eloy. The typical vocal melodies, the recognisable voice (and the German accent) of Frank Bornemann, the spacy synths, the driving bass,... it's all there.
These are, in short, the three tracks I am talking about: 'Shadow in Light' is one of the most "glorious" sounding Progressive Rock songs I have ever heard. Eloy are masters at this kind of elaborate pomp. 'In Disguise' is a pleasant melodic Rock song. The eight minutes long 'A Broken Frame' is a dramatic sounding slow Progressive Rock song with lots of soloing going on in the last three minutes.
Watch out: this is only for Progrock fans. If you're into other types or Rock and Hard Rock, you'll find this very serious and way too pompous. But since that's also a very accurate description of my own personality (add the love of greased poodles and shaved hamsters and you'll know everything there is to know about me) it's exactly the same kind of album l like to torture my next of kin with at regular intervals.
(* note = no I have not had a lobotomy (yet))