Gracious! — Gracious!
(Repertoire REPUK 1033, 1970/2004, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2015-08-06
McLatchey's Second Tier
When most of the big name progressive rock acts were barely out of their pajamas, this Vertigo band was already leaping forward from the influences of the Pretty Things and the Small Faces to create one of rock's most adventurous early records. Like many albums from the era the eclecticism and anything-goes ethics from the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's meant that a lot of musicians weren't afraid to patch things together in all sorts of inventive ways and Gracious put together an awe-inspiring debut here that doesn't eschew passion and drama as it navigates from song structures into classical and experimental segments and back again, tying it all into mythical archetypes like "Heaven," "Hell," and "The Dream." Even the shortest songs here chart over five minutes and all are stuffed with the sorts of original ideas and playfulness that would be in short supply by the end of the decade. At this point symphonic rock had not become a style in its own right yet, and if the Moody Blues and King Crimson were the first to take stabs at it, Gracious followed their lead and ran with it. Unfortunately the band was not long lived, creating an inferior (but still pretty good) second album before signing off. Now Martin Kitcat's Mellotron is in the service of the modern retro act Bigelf.
Related artist(s): Gracious!
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