East of Eden's third album starts with a full attack on the senses, which leaves you wondering "Is this hard rock? Is it folk? Is it country? Is it prog? What the hell is it?" The fact is that these questions will remain unanswered even after repeated listening of this strange brew.
East of Eden never got the recognition they so rightly deserve. The first album by this UK band, titled Mercator Projected (1969), featured some of the most original dynamics and unusual instruments usage of the time, with a unique Eastern flavor; and was as essential to the progressive rock movement as King Crimson's In The Court of the Crimson King. A year later, the jazzier SNAFU followed, glorifying the band's reputation as experimental, a tag the band tried to shake off in this more accessible 1971 third release, East of Eden.
Celebrating life, East of Eden took the wild violin, saxes and flute that were the band's trademark, but wrapped them in a more straight-forward, rockier package than before; alongside a blistering performance of the traditional rock instruments. The true magic of this album is the way the jams and instrumental passages flow naturally within the well written, concentrated songs they come to serve.
Each instrument (including the vocals) is placed in masterful hands, making it serve as a layer on its own throughout the recording. Moreover, much like in Object Oriented programming, the relations and correlations between the instruments are as important as the instruments themselves, and can be studied with a great deal and care, much in the way that they are played.
The lyrics are generally light and optimistic, pointing the brighter aspects of new days and lost loves, and together with the exciting music this makes the album a great starting point of every fresh day, even for those who will dwell in darker corners later on.
So shake off your gloomy image and give life a chance, or at the very least, give East of Eden one.