Argent
Argent


3.5
great

Review

by Dewinged CONTRIBUTOR (88 Reviews)
June 29th, 2020 | 20 replies


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rod Argent's zombie-walking into the 70s progressive rock scene.

Caught between the rise of the progressive rock scene that flooded into the 70s and the lack of immediate impact on sales of The Zombies' Odessey & Oracle in 1968, English keyboard virtuoso Rod Argent felt it was the right time to jump off the old wagon, let it crash, and start anew. Progressive pop rock Argent was formed in 1969, just as The Zombies' last relevant release was starting to echo its success in the charts with extreme delay. It included Rod Argent and his former band's bass player, Chris White, who would just work as a producer and co-writer for the band's debut. The rhythm section was comprised of bassist Jim Rodford and drummer Robert Henrit (a few years before they would go on to join The Kinks). Prolific songwriter, singer and guitarist Russ Ballard completed the line-up that would record Argent's outstanding debut in 1970.

Argent's music, rooted in the psychedelic pop of The Zombies but veering towards a much heavier sound, was a shock for those who saw this new project as the logical follow-up to the late success of Odessey & Oracle. Rod Argent's new adventure showed a stronger influence from American rock, far from the Beatles' tribute band sound that had blessed and cursed the Zombies across the years. The second track, "Liar", is a fine example, with its explosive chorus and playful guitar solos, was like nothing Rod Argent had done before, partly because of the fresh approach Ballard brought to the songs. The fantastic summer vibe of "Be free" and the sticky melody of the lyrically disturbing but otherwise sweet "Schoolgirl" are two tracks I would personally highlight going in Argent on a first listen, probably due to the discernible influence of The Zombies in these two middle cuts. "Dance in the Smoke" follows up showing how Rod Argent and co. were trying to delve deeper into the progressive rock scene but unable to give up the psychedelic pop they grew up with. The mix is quite interesting though, with plenty of melody hooks and brilliant vocal harmonies gliding over rhythm patterns that never get too complicated but still let room for intense moments like the brief keyboard unwinding and impromptu jam at the end of the track.

Argent's second half is a bit less fruitful, only saved by the smooth and slick atmosphere of "The Feeling is inside", and the irresistible charm of "Stepping Stone", where Russ Ballard his strengths as a front man, leading the vocals with impressive highs and mellow tones. The closer, "Bring you joy" is a rather inconsequential blues ballad that closes Argent's debut without fireworks, leaving a sour taste that contrasts greatly with the vibrant first half of the album. Although the band would go on to make six more studio albums and several live recordings, Argent's ever-growing presence and intention to make Argent a full-on progressive rock act eclipsed Ballard's writing, right until the latter left to pursue his solo affair. And may that be the real value of Argent and its gentle blending of influences, a moment of transition into the new decade shared by talented songwriters that would sadly never happen again.




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user ratings (7)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


12766 Comments


Sweet. Archival reviews coming in Dewi style.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


20553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Apart from 2 or 3 tracks, this is one of my favorite albums of 1970. So many good tracks.



Here's a live performance of "Liar" for German TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4VUDgPNkik



Hope you enjoy it!

Digging: Jaga Jazzist - Pyramid

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


20553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

haha good sniping Rob ;)



yeah feeling archival these days, having a great time checking the oldies.



I checked the new releases this week and felt quite overwhelmed so I retired to my classics playlist haha

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


12766 Comments


I actually deleted the timestamp on your first comment (I did not) to get mine in there. Couldn't resist.

--I checked the new releases this week and felt quite overwhelmed so I retired to my classics playlist haha--

What were you looking at/what was out of reach that would've normally garnered your attention?

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


20553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There was an immense amount of extreme metal, I actually wanted to screen cap it and send it to you but The Last of Us 2, blah, blah, blah, I forgot.



Some names: Sickening Horror, Tiberius, Exocrine, Pessimist (GER), Kenziner, Fellwarden, Hornwood Fell, Inexorum, VoidCeremony, Creature, Fordomth, and the list goes on.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


12766 Comments


I'll take that screen shot when you stop wanking that controller - already a couple names there I've overlooked.

parksungjoon
June 29th 2020


21531 Comments


woah!

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


20553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[2]

parksungjoon
June 29th 2020


21531 Comments


anyone hear tihs from a couple months ago?

https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/through-doors-of-moonlight

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


20553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nope, but it looks sick. Plus they are homies.

parksungjoon
June 29th 2020


21531 Comments


whose homies

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


20553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mine, they're Spanish.

parksungjoon
June 29th 2020


21531 Comments


ohhh nice

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


20553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They look quite scary though, definitely wouldn't hang out with them on a mountain cabin party.



But this album's good, yeh.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


14591 Comments


I don't think I've ever heard of these guys before, sounds interesting.
Nice write-up as usual Dewinged.

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape

wham49
June 29th 2020


5356 Comments


I'm sure you have, Hold Your Head Up is the song most people know

I have heard In Deep and all together now, but not this, good old 70's band

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


14591 Comments


I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that song wham

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


20553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah they had some chart crashers in later albums. Never heard The Zombies either Notrap?

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2020


14591 Comments


I think not, Dewinged

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 30th 2020


20553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, I don't know if they are your cup of tea, since they are a bit more poppy, but these guys I am pretty sure you'd like some tracks.



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