H.P. Lovecraft / Lovecraft

Valley of the Moon

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Drummer Michael Tegza is the only original from two years prior when the band was H.P. Lovecraft on Phillips Records. For this 1970 Reprise release, they are dubbed Lovecraft and have abandoned the psychedelic Jefferson Airplane sound for a progressive Crosby, Stills & Nash-meets-Uriah Heep flavor. In 1975, drummer Tegza re-formed the band again and separated the two words, their Love Craft album, We Love You Whoever You Are, took things into an almost Santana-goes-soul direction. The lineup here of Tegza, Jim Donlinger, Michael Been, and Marty Grebb is more than competent, maintaining the strong vocal presence of the original band, but the direction is too studied and not as much fun as the previous incarnation. "We Can All Have It Together" sounds like Seatrain's "13 Questions" meets Lighthouse's "One Fine Morning." "Brother I Wonder" delves right into that Crosby, Stills & Nash territory, while "Love Has Come" is "Carry On" by Graham Nash and company. Tegza's drums are big, and perhaps a bit out of place for what was a psychedelic band. Even on this, he tends to overplay, the rolling thunder of the percussion interfering with the acoustics on "The Dawn," which is an otherwise interesting piece. "Never Gonna Go Back" is the Doors Soft Parade by way of Rare Earth -- not a good combination. The worst excesses of the group are bared here when they should've blended the Doors with Roxy Music, the saxophone on this song not as outrageous and wild as it could be. "Dear" is one of the stronger tracks, with British flavors and exquisite harmony vocals and piano. There are no qualms with the musicianship, it's just that the promise of early H.P.Lovecraft has dissolved into very mainstream and somewhat uninteresting material. "Hopefully We'll All Remain Together" also almost makes it, but the preaching gets in the way of sounds that are in transition. This is a strange one, for sure. Interesting Jack London poem hidden on the bottom right of the front cover espousing the philosophy Neil Young sang about on "My My Hey Hey." The album just doesn't have the intensity this poem describes.

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