Night on Bald Mountain

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Recorded in the short-lived "stereo-quad" format -- which, fortunately, is still quite playable on stereo turntables -- Fireballet puts in a credible and often ambitious performance in their debut. Producer Ian McDonald comes out from behind the board to add his talents on flute and sax on a few numbers, too. As one might expect, the use of two keyboardists gives this album a heavy flavoring of Mellotron and especially Moog, and it works to great effect in conveying the sweep of the title piece. At the other extreme is "Atmospheres," a succinct and pleasant piece with arpeggiated guitar and gentle flute, and it effectively summons up the ghosts of Genesis past. Not every experiment works: a narrator nattering on about the "crown's treasury" in "Les Cathedrales" is a bit precious for guys from New Jersey. But still, it's hard not to give credit to a band with the stones to take on a full-fledged, side-long reworking of "Night on Bald Mountain" on their debut.

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