Ethos 1 and 2 is the definitive document of Victor Lovera and R. Stevie Moore's short-lived early-'70s band Ethos. Although the early demos collected on Herald, Goods. are more polished (having been recorded in a professional studio instead of Lovera and Moore's apartment, as these tracks were) and the career-spanning The Eros Ethos covers more ground, Ethos 1 and 2 has all of the band's highest points in one convenient place, and shows that it's a real shame that this band never amounted to much during their brief lifespan. Although Moore went on from Ethos to become a cult hero as the father of the modern D.I.Y. scene, Ethos was primarily Lovera's band; the New York-born singer/songwriter wrote nearly all of the songs and handled the majority of the lead vocals, while Moore played the majority of the instruments. (Moore's high-school buddies Roger Ferguson and Billy Anderson provided acoustic guitar and keyboards, and Pete Spero played bongos and other percussion, but the electric guitars, bass, and drums are all Moore.) It's an equitable division of labor, because at this stage in their careers, Lovera was a better songwriter than Moore, who at this point was getting his progressive rock excesses out of his system in his own writing. These songs were recorded with Moore's trademark production style from this era, a mix of hollow-sounding, echoey drums, trebly guitar tones and vintage synthesizers, but they're more conventionally pop-oriented than Moore's solo material of the period, and unfailingly enjoyable. Moore enthusiasts will be particularly impressed with Ethos' original version of "Because We're the Dig," a Lovera song that Moore later recorded himself, but other highlights include the Wings-like pop mastery of "Runaway With Me," and "Wash Your Face, Clean Your Hands, Write Your Name," which sounds oddly like a glammed-up mix of Sparks and Badfinger, complete with speeded-up Chipmunks-style backing vocals on the chorus.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason