Pavlov's Dog's second release 'At The Sound Of The Bell'
(1976) received a bit of a pawing from the critics, a major setback given the success of the debut 'Pampered Menial'
Third album 'Has Anyone Here seen Siegfried
?' (1977) was dropped by the band's label.
It has now been reissued in digitally remastered form with 10 (ten) previously unreleased - and mostly live - bonus tracks. The source tapes must have been in good nick, as the remastered sound is superb (apart from the occasional glitch).
Pavlov's Dog's mainman (songwriter/vocalist/guitarist) was, and still is, David Surkamp.
As has been often remarked, his voice is something of an acquired taste. One that I acquired pretty quick. It's a very stylised, mannered, warbling falsetto, but suits the band's left field progressive (seventies' style) / rock mix down to the ground.
In honesty, the unstoppable force of the first two albums had slowed and mellowed considerably by the time of '...Siegfried'
, but it remains high calibre stuff.
Surkamp's knack for writing and performing affecting love songs was clearly an artistic talent given flight by the band's tight, collusive studio arrangements and production, (though it's reported that there was a lot of outside interference on '...Siegfried'). 'Painted Ladies'
and 'Falling In Love'
remain among the best Surkamp has written.
That said, ironically, perversely even, the standout track - 'It's All For You'
- was actually written and sung by guitarist Steve Scorfina. A beautiful ballad, it's part Pavlov, part Beatles, part Beach Boys.
To go off tangentially for a moment, this recalls the sixties/seventies rock band, Love, where Arthur Lee wrote all these great songs, yet the less prolific Bryan Mclean, the band's guitarist, comes up with the massive 'Alone Again Or'
There are musical parallels too. Love's evolved artrock sound could easily be held up as a rough template for '...Siegfried
Elsewhere, the album is peppered with Yes
and Pink Floyd
and Syd Barrett type moments, but is inherently American, like maybe how Kansas
would have sounded if they'd been born and brought up in the UK.
The bonus tracks are a mixed bag sonically, but to hear Surkamp really soar (and for enthusiasts and completists) they're something of a must have.
Written by Brian
Monday, June 18, 2007Show all reviews by BrianRatingsBrian: 6.5/10
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