Lucifer's Friend

Where the Groupies Killed the Blues

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On their second album, Lucifer's Friend pushes their sound in a more straightforward prog-rock direction with mixed results. The resulting album, Where the Groupies Killed the Blues, shows the band had the instrumental dexterity necessary for this style of music but lacked the discipline to create focused and coherent art rock. The album is riddled with instrumental solos that seem so different from the songs surrounding them that they often feel like they have been arbitrarily added to the songs. A good example of this problem is "Rose on the Vine": it features an arresting, Black Sabbathish guitar riff that is effectively doubled by the vocal melody but makes the mistake of burying these hooks in a series of noodly keyboard and guitar solos. The numbers that work the best are the ones that cut back the excesses and play up the group's songwriting skills: "Hobo" is a keyboard layered rocker built on a solid array of riffs and a dramatic vocal from John Lawton, and "Burning Ships" is an acoustic-based number that utilizes the band's instrumental chops to create a compelling atmosphere for the strong tune at its core. Ultimately, Where the Groupies Killed the Blues is neither fish nor fowl: it is too artsy and jazzy to please heavy metal fans, yet is too full of guitar bombast to make a comfortable listen for prog fans. It has enough moments of interest for anyone seriously interested in the work of Lucifer's Friend, but will most likely be seen by casual listeners as an interesting misfire.

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