The Electric Prunes

Release of an Oath

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The second album on which composer David Axelrod and producer Dave Hassinger usurped the name of the Electric Prunes (the band which recorded "I Had Too Much Too Dream Last Night" had long since split -- their names and likenesses are nowhere to be found on this LP) is much less notorious than its predecessor, Mass in F Minor. This is a shame, because it's actually the better album by far. Mass in F Minor is a halting, muddy attempt at combining rock and classical instrumentation, an idea that's better explored on Release of an Oath (which is, according to the liner notes, based on a centuries-old prayer called the Kol Nidre). Songs like the liturgical "Holy Are You" and the mostly instrumental "General Confessional" combine swirling string and woodwind parts with heavy guitar and organ in a more organic and cohesive fashion than before. Musically complex and intriguing without being nearly as pretentious as a capsule description might indicate, Release of an Oath is a remarkable piece of early American progressive rock. Be aware, however, that it's quite brief even by '60s standards: the whole thing is over in 24 and a half minutes.

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