Quintessence

Quintessence

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While Quintessence's second album had a guileless sincerity to its spiritual striving that was uncommon in pop music, it's very much a relic of its hippie age. The good points? An uncalculated, genuine wish to both reflect the era's ideals and to use its music as a tool to achieve them, as well as a willingness to blend aspects of jazz, Indian music, and religious invocation into an overall psychedelic-progressive rock structure (complete with flute and some acid rock guitar). The bad points? An absence of conventional songwriting chops, exacerbated by the band's tendency to ramble on in formless jam-like passages, though actually none of the tracks here exceed six minutes. Certainly it's eclectic, with a commune-like vibe permeating the proceedings, though the recording's quite professional. "Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga" sounds rather akin to the We're Only in It for the Money-era Mothers of Invention, though minus any hint of satire or irony in the over-the-top beatific lyrics. Overall, though, it feels a little like listening to the house rock band of a pan-religious cult that doesn't have anything of particular value to sell. [The 2004 CD reissue on Repertoire adds a live version of "Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga" (originally released on the first pressing of the 1970 Island compilation Bumpers) as a bonus track.]

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