Odin - Odin

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Living In The Past
Catalog Number: LITP 1972-002
Format: CD
Total Time: 39:44:00

Winston Churchill, wartime Prime Minister of Great Britain, once said of Odin, "they are a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." No, ? wait, he said that about the former Soviet Union. Actually, what Churchill would've said about Odin (if I wasn't making all this up) would've been something along the lines of "what? ...who?" I get quite a kick from re-discovering old progressive rock bands and their music. The 1970's were such a fertile, creative musical environment (stop me if you've heard this already) that I can't help but think that there are still many gems to be unearthed, and I recently bought Odin (Vertigo, 1972) in just such a quest.

I like to find out as much as I can about the bands that I review, but in the case of Odin there is little if any information to be found. They were an English band that moved to Germany, were signed to the Vertigo label and produced one album in 1972. One song on that LP, "Gemini," was a cover, originally written and recorded by another English band Quatermass. That's it folks.

I guess the only thing there is to talk about is the quality of the music and performance on this CD re-issue. This CD is an interesting and somewhat pleasant surprise from a virtually unknown and forgotten band, a varied and yes, somewhat schizophrenic collection of songs that cover a good bit of musical territory and touch on a number of stylistic sub-genres within progressive rock music. We get a few good, hard rocking progressive numbers, a faithful tribute to Zappa and his unique sound, some acoustic folkiness and some laid back atmospheric instrumental tunes featuring simple melodic themes with accompaniment on vibes and Mellotron.

This is an album that to some extent sounds unfinished. I hear a band that had obvious talent, and some very good material, but recorded before they had achieved a balanced and directed sound, and with only one album in the cards, they made no distinct impression. Of the seven tunes on this CD, three are instrumentals, and two of these, "Turnpike Lane" and "Eucalyptus" are good, but end without sufficient melodic resolution, leaving an unsettling effect. The third, "Tribute To Frank," is, you guessed it, an ode to Frank Zappa and is one of the best moments of this set. It features a classic, early seventies, wide interval long melody line ornamented with vibes and xylophone. At under two minutes however, it also suffers from the sense of haste and incompletion that plagues much of this release.

"Be The Man You Are" is an acoustic track, similar to some of Traffic's work, with nice guitar work from Rob Terstall. I believe that Rob also provided the vocals on this track, which are far worse in quality than the other vocals. But this track at least seems to have an ending, which about half the other tracks seem to lack.

Only three good, complete songs, one of those three being very good, salvage this release, rising above the litany of failures that mark this album. "Gemini," a Quatermass cover, features some great 1970's style jamming and a long and very impressive B-3 organ solo that goes some way toward making up for some embarrassingly bad lyrics. Get out your mood ring and bell bottom blue jeans before listening to this one. The first and last cuts are the saving grace of this CD. "Clown" closes this album out with some heavy instrumental firepower from Jeff Beer's keyboards and strong vocals. This is a rocking track, quite simple and straightforward in its approach and construction.

The best work on this set is the opening track "Life Is Only." This is an absolutely great number, with raging, dissonant B-3 work, Yes-like song construction, and very good guitar and vocal work. This is the tune that made me order this album, and I will go out on a limb here and say that this song is alone worth the price of this CD. Like I said, I am always looking for that great undiscovered progressive rock song from the past and sometimes you have to wade through a great deal of garbage to get that one gem. That is definitely the case here, but oh, what a wonderful treat for the ears we get with "Life Is Only".

Odin was made up of some very talented musicians. Sonically, the band sounds much like Argent, Fields, Warhorse and Gypsy, all heavy, organ led bands. If, like me, you thrill to the sound of ripping B-3 organ and enjoy frequent mental trips back to the jamming 1970's, then you will find something to appreciate in the music of Odin.

Life Is Only / Tribute To Frank / Turnpike Lane / Be The Man You Are / Gemini / Eucalyptus / Clown

Jeff Beer ? keyboards, percussion, vocals
Ray Brown ? bass, vocals
Stuart Fordham ? drums, percussion
Rob Terstall ? guitar, vocals

Odin (1972/2000)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: June 7th 2004
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Artist website:
Hits: 1039
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]