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19 Feb 2017

Gizmo “Just Like Master Bates…” 1979 UK Canterbury Prog Rock

Gizmo “Just Like Master Bates…” 1979 UK Canterbury Prog Rock
Early 1978. It wasn't a great idea to be a Progressive Band in the UK. In 1978, it was even worse to be `folkiness - or in Gizmo's case, the forerunners of the movement that gave us Porcupine Tree, Marillion, IQ, Pallas, even as Gentle Giant etc. Over the last 20 years, the collector's value of this album has soared beyond reason.

Gizmo were successful they are, "Just Like Master Bates" is a testament to their success, come the tail-end of the 70s, progressive was still bubbling healthily underground. With the original (white) vinyl changing hands for ridiculous sums, this is an extremely welcome release for anyone interested in completing their progressive jigsaw.................

Not all bands from Canterbury played the charming, jazzy style of the local scene.Gizmo, formed in 1975 and centered around guitarist/singer Dave Radford, begun as a sextet and released the same year a single on President Records, but the following year Radford made a complete lifting to the line-up, which after several auditions featured keyboardist/volinist Maurice Memmott, ex-Judge Dread drummer Steve Wyse and Seventh Wave's tour keyboardist Brian Gould.In late-70's Gizmo entered the Oakwood Studios, based in Kent, and recorded their debut ''Just like master bates'', released in 1979 on Ace Records.

The album had little to do with the emerging NWOBPR scene, as Gizmo's style sounds as being left sometime between early- to mid-70's, while having also a quite US-styled approach on Progressive Rock akin to HANDS or ETHOS, though not that complicated, with strong hints from the early sound of EAST OF EDEN and touches from a more synth-drenched Progressive Rock along the lines of some German bands (ANYONE'S DAUGHTER, AMENOPHIS) or even MARILLION.With secure but tight songwriting and a good, flexible style, Gizmo avoided to play in long arrangements, still their tracks are full of surprises, breaks and adventurous themes.Stuck somewhere between old-school Symphonic Rock and a more synth-led Progressive Rock, their music contains good Classical references in the violin passages of Memmott and the organ moves of Gould, lots of nervous electric piano parts (maybe their only link with the Canterbury scene) and soaring synthesizers, which either sound closer to 80's-styled Prog or having a big symphonic flavor akin to GENESIS.Apart from the MARILLION-eque synthesizers the only other thing providing the band's identity is the beatiful and emotional singing of Radford.On the other hand the blend of quirky, complex moves, the discreet rural influences and the warm, symphonic textures have a typical US-Prog flavor.The multi-offered keyboard alternations and the changes between emotional soundscapes and impressive instrumental textures seem to be the band's strong point and Gizmo managed to do it very well in these sections.

As the original vinyl issue is very rare, a CD was relaunched in 2007 on Canterbury Records (propably led by the band itself), featuring two bonus tracks.''Onto the sun'' sounds closer to 80's British Prog with a similar style to CASTANARC, full-synth driven Prog with great, emotional vocals and a grandiose atmosphere, while in ''Armageddon'' the New Wave influence on the group becomes really apparent, in a track, which sounds attractively cold, led by bombastic electronics, distorted vocals and shifting tempos.

The CD release of the album gave the chance to all Prog followers to taste Gizmo's early and originally quite rare material.''Just like master bates'' sounds like a decent bridge between 70's Classic Progressive Rock and 80's synth-driven Neo/Symphonic Progressive Rock and comes warmly .......

Drums, Percussion – Steve Wise
Engineer – Graeme Quinton-Jones
Keyboards, Synthesizer [Minimoog], Organ [Farfisa], Clavinet – Brian Gould
Organ [Farfisa], Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Violin – Maurice Memmott
Producer – Gizmo (10), Gizmo
Vocals, Electric Guitar [Fender Telecaster], Twelve-String Guitar [Acoustic] – Dave Radford

1 Gravity Brings You Down
2 Long Gone Song
3 Storyteller
4 Those Lying Eyes
5a Kismet
5b Hour Glass
5c Not That Far To Go
6 Come The Day
7 Dance Of The Emmets
8 One And One Is Two
9 Onto The Sun
10 One And One Is Two

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..