Keith Emerson

Murderock

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Murderock continues Keith Emerson's string of soundtrack albums he released after disbanding Emerson, Lake & Palmer in 1980, and just like the others (especially Best Revenge), the album is a mishmash of intricate instrumental keyboard pieces and attempts at mainstream album-oriented rock. "Streets to Blame" and "Not So Innocent," which feature singer Doreen Chanter, are so laden with loud guitars and unspectacular hooks that they sound identical to whatever Pat Benatar was recording about the same time, and the contrast with a delicate piano piece like "Prelude to Candice" is almost ludicrous. Fortunately, once the requisite pop songs are out of the way, the remainder of the disc consists of instrumentals, from the jazzy, lighthearted "Coffee Time" to the heavily orchestrated "Candice," most of which are at the very least pleasant and all of which have moments of inspiration. Still, it's a shame that Emerson felt constrained into doing middling radio-friendly junk to accompany some of his best instrumental work (especially since even during his days in the Nice, it was always clear that he works best outside the standard verse-chorus-verse straitjacket), and in the end, Murderock remains, despite some very good music, a frustrating jumble.

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