(Tommy Schonenberg, Vintage Prog)
During the Late sixties the Netherlands
developed a flourishing rock scene with international appeal.
Golden Earring and Shocking Blue were lively examples for this
fact. The Dutch answer to the early Pink Floyd and Genesis was
the band Earth and Fire. As usual, the band's start in 1969 was
not like sleeping on roses. Hard work in clubs and open airs
earned the group a reputation as a quintet with an individual,
sophisticated sound. The self titled first album of the group in
1970 gifted the band with national fame and high chart position
in Holland. Other countries followed soon. Specially in Germany,
the band's complexly orchestrated keyboard arrangements,
dominated by Jerney's high voice, found many friends.
In the mid-seventies the creative power of the band started to lame and the intervals between albums became longer. Ton van der Kley lost interest and left the group being replaced by the drummer Theo Hurt and the master percussionist Nippy Noya. After this change Earth and Fire creativness took up speed again and brought the band back into the charts and headlines. The group disbanded in 1983 leaving behind an inheritance of 8 albums and a significant trace in the Dutch progressive rock scene. Earth and Fire music is created by the female vocalist Jerney Kaagman, the twins Chris (guitar and vocal) and Gerard Koerts (keyboards).
21st century show (4:14) was and is the great beginner of greater things to come! This debut album is vivid, wild, warm, dangerously sweet and very, very exciting. Ruby is the one (3:26) paves the way, and the whole LP is full of shimmering, glimmering sounds, soft Jerney's vocals, superb Kleij's drumming, and all above. Wild and exciting (4:27) may also be named a song that sets the pattern and this pattern is good. I never heard such a mature debut work as this one! Greatly recommended to all Dutch Prog lovers!
(Dennis Popov, Progarchives)
I remembered back as a kid when my dad bought "To the World of the Future", thinking there'd be no way in hell in ever finding out anything more about EARTH & FIRE, one of the great Dutch prog rock bands. My dad bought "To the World of the Future" not really knowing what he was buying (he wasn't exactly the most musically informed person out there), and since none of my family ever been to Holland, he bought that album either mistaking them for EARTH, WIND & FIRE, or simply liked the '70s futuristic cover artwork. This was back in the 1980s, and so I just thought getting info on this band was worthless. There was no Internet, and running in to people who collect this sort of stuff was rather rare. I never mentioned anyone them for the obvious reason of bewilderment or mistaking them with EW&F. Just to let everyone know, by the time they released "To the World of the Future", they were starting to explore disco, but hadn't yet abandoned prog.
In the 1990s, I met someone else who owned a few EARTH & FIRE albums and ever so glad they had many more albums, and I very much treasure "Song of the Marching Children" and "Atlantis" greatly (since I originally had cassette copies of these courtesy of that guy who owned EARTH & FIRE albums, and then me acquiring the original Dutch Polydor gatefold LP copies of those albums).
This self-entitled album was their debut LP, but they already released a couple singles prior, "Seasons" b/w "Hazy Paradise" (1969) and "Ruby is the One" b/w "Mechanical Lover" (1970), both A-sides ending up on this album. So this album ended up having two songs with original drummer Cees Kalis, and the rest with new drummer Ton van der Kleij. This here is the original LP, released on Polydor/Medium with the matchbox cover, in which the cover folds open to reveal matches, and of the song contents. In 1971, this album received a UK release on the Nepentha label, which features the Roger Dean cover (that's been used on the German Repertoire CD reissue as well as the Japanese reissue). The Nepentha LP is even harder to acquire than the Polydor/Medium matchbox cover, so I went for the matchbox cover (the Nepentha LP regularly goes for $200-400). This album is less polished than the albums to follow ("Song of the Marching Children", "Atlantis"), the Mellotron hadn't even yet appeared (although I suspected a little synthesizers was used near the end of "Twilight Dreamer"), and there's more of a late '60s psych feel.
The album opens up with "Wild and Exciting", which became a hit for them in their home country. "Vivid Shady Land" features some aggressive guitar from Chris Koerts, plus male vocals, and of course female vocals of Jerney Kaagman. "Seasons" was the very first song they ever recorded, as mentioned, previously released as a single. This song wasn't written by either of the Koerts brothers or any other EARTH & FIRE members, but George Kooysman of GOLDEN EARRING (who supported EARTH & FIRE and helped sign them to Polydor, the label Golden Earring was recording for). "Love Quiver" bears more than a striking resemblance to JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, right down to the vocal harmonies, although Jerney Kaagman's voice doesn't sound much like Grace Slick (more like STEELEYE SPAN's "Maddy Prior", but with a Dutch accent, or perhaps Mariska Veres of SHOCKING BLUE). But very unlike something from the AIRPLANE, you get a lengthy organ solo (rather than an extended Jorma Kaukonen guitar solo like on the "Volunteers" album). "21st Century Show" is much like the rest of the album, but features a nice flute solo. "What's Your Name" is a laid-back acoustic piece with flute. It sounds like Jerney Kaagman isn't doing any of the vocal duties here, not even backing vocals, the vocal duties seem to be from the Koerts twins, this song gives you a clue what EARTH & FIRE might have sounded like if they didn't feature a female vocalist. It's obvious that these guys need to brush on their English, but regardless, it's a pleasant piece, especially after the aggressiveness of "Love Quiver" (which preceded it). It's understood that "Song of the Marching Children" and "Atlantis" shows the band at their best (I can't argue with that), this debut album is still excellent with promise of more great things to come.
Their debut album is actually quite different than the following albums . Unlike those , this album is very guitar-dominated and loaded organs from the RnR twins. This album is very much RnR sometimes sounding like fellow Dutchmen Golden Earrings (especially the opener) and Focus (Twilight ) and some almost Gregorian chants on the fourth track and some weak flutes lines on the closing track, are what the progheads should look out for in here. This album received many re-releases , the one I heard being with a Roger Dean artwork depicting a huge root full tree in mainly black & white drawing. The many releases have different bonuses most of which where singles throughout their career up to their disco days (actually still fairly pleasant to the progheads believe it or not). Of those bonuses , I will point out Hazy Paradise with Grace slick-like vocals and overall Jefferson Airplane ambiances.
(Hugues Chantraine, Progarchives)
The first truly classic masterpiece from the group. Now the band had also added mellotron to unbelievable good effect on the 18-minute title-track. The track is stuffed with beautiful themes and melodies, and as I said, the mellotron sounds incredible. And there's still a lot of great organ and some flute here. The shorter tracks are also great. "Storm and Thunder" is, just as the title-track, a classic Earth and Fire track. "Carnaval of the Animals" is just as nice and cosy as the title suggests. A beautiful album that is essential in any progressive rock collection.
(Tommy Schonenberg, Vintage Prog)
EARTH & FIRE's "Song Of The Marching Children" falls somewhere within the song-oriented prog category. The album consists of short tracks on side A, and a larger epic on side B (my CD also came with a bonus track, but there is another CD that features SOTMC, and Atlantis). All of the tracks on Side A feature some of the best qualities found in more adventurous progressive rock, and they end up sounding like miniature epics. The side- long track sounds like 5 songs pieced together. Overall, the music from this band has a strong European symphonic sound, meaning that Baroque, classical, and even circus influences are all over the place.
The band likes to weave in and out of major/minor chords and scales, so the music alternates between happy and sad moods. I also hear a noticeable early KING CRIMSON sound (heavy on the orchestral mellotron sound). EARTH & FIRE had a female lead-singer with one of the warmest, and charismatic, voice that I've heard in prog. She is usually mentioned first when people talk about the band. Some of her lyrics are silly in a surreal, counterculture, sort of way, but her beautiful voice quickly makes you forgive the naive lyrics. This is a majestic album that will please fans of early KING CRIMSON, PFM's "Per Un Amico", and FANTASY.
(Steve Hegede, Progarchives)
EARTH & FIRE were one of the leading prog rock bands to come out of Holland, while at the same time, being able to rack up a bunch of hits in their homeland. "Song of the Marching Children", their second album, released in 1971, is by far their best one, as far as I'm concerned. The band was by far best known for female vocalist Jerney Kaagman, which her voice is put to good use on songs like "Carnival of the Animals", "Ebbtide", "Storm and Thunder", and the side-length title track. The album is also loaded with lots of great Mellotron work. Hard to describe their music, but I've heard it described as JEFFERSON AIRPLANE meets KING CRIMSON.
Anyways, the original Dutch LP on Polydor features a gatefold with some truly trippy artwork inside (although later pressings did not come with a gatefold).
This is truly one of my favorites to come out of Holland. (4 1/2 stars)
Earth & Fire (do not confuse with the
well-known American R&B band Earth, Wind & Fire), was one of the
leading prog rock bands to come out of the Netherlands, along
Alquin. 1971's Song of the Marching Children is their second
album and is by far their best, as far as I'm concerned.
The band featured female vocalist Jerney Kaagman, twin brothers Chris and Gerard Koerts (Chris handled the guitars and Gerard handled the keyboards), bassist Hans Ziech, and drummer Ton v.d. Kleij. The band sounded something like a Dutch version of the Moody Blues fronted by a female vocalist. They also sound like how Shocking Blue (another Dutch band, they're the ones that gave us "Venus") might have sounded like if they were a prog rock band (Jerney Kaagman does sound a bit like Mariska Veres).
Surprisingly Earth & Fire had quite a few hits in their native Holland, like "Seasons" (1969), "Ruby is the One" (1970), "Wild & Exciting" (1970), "Invitation" (1971, released only as a single at that time), "Memories" (1972), and many more. In fact, Song of the Marching Children had a Dutch hit as well, "Storm & Thunder" (but was edited for single release). When this album came out, the band started to include the Mellotron and synthesizers to their keyboard setup (as well as the Hammond organ, which they used from the beginning), as well as including a side length epic.
The album opens up with "Carnival of the Animals" which, unsurprisingly, has a rather circus-like atmosphere. The next cut, "Ebbtide" is a rather pleasant, atmospheric number, with flute. "Storm & Thunder" is the next song, in its entirety (the single version omits the organ intro, and the Mellotron outro). The Mellotron makes its first appearance on this song.
"In the Mountains" is an all-instrumental piece that sounds a whole lot like their countrymen Focus (similar guitar work that sounds like something Jan Akkerman would do). Just listen to Focus 3 (1972), especially the song "Focus III" on that album and you'll see how similar that is to "In the Mountains". It's hard telling whether E&F ripped off Focus or the other way around (given Song of the Marching Children came out a year before Focus 3, I'm willing to say Focus stole from E&F).
The album then closes with the side length title track. This song was previously released as a three minute single earlier in 1971 as the flip side to "Invitation". The band simply re-recorded "Song of the Marching Children" (the song, that is) and turn it in to a 17 minute prog epic, loaded with suites and Mellotron. This is simply one of the greatest prog epics I've heard out of Holland.
By the way, if you're an LP collector, here's some things you need to know. The album was released on Polydor. Later versions of this album do not feature the gatefold. The original version features a gatefold, with some stunning psychedelic artwork. The original LP features the catalog number Polydor 2925 003, if the numbering is different, you have a later version. Also there's a German version of this album released in 1972 called Memories/Song of the Marching Children which featured the entire album, as well as "Memories" which was the hit single for the band at that time.
Earth & Fire amazes me, because, while they were able to rack up the hits in Europe (specifically Holland, of course, and Germany), they were able to make some great prog albums in the process. Atlantis (1973) is much in the similar vein to Song of the Marching Children, and is recommended. To the World of the Future (1975) finds the band exploring more synthesizers, and disco tendencies were starting to surface, but still worth having. I have not heard Gate to Infinity (1977) or anything after (1979's Reality Fills Fantasy, 1981's Andromeda Girl, 1982's In State of Flux, and their 1989 reunion album Phoenix). Those albums are said to be of a more commercial, pop-oriented direction (i.e. the band was concentrating more on the singles market, which is little surprise when prog rock went downhill by the late 1970s) and are probably to be passed up unless you're a completist. Still, Song of the Marching Children finds Earth & Fire at their absolute finest, and is totally essential to your prog collection.
(Ben Miller, Hippy)
This top notch Dutch band from my hometown The Hague had their progressive pinnacle during the early Seventies when they delivered some unique symphonic rock LP's. The album 'Song of the Marching Children' belongs to the best of the Dutch progrock history. The moving song 'Storm and Thunder' (as a single it reached the #6 position) contains a sumptuous church organ sound intro, soaring violin-Mellotron and great vocals from Jerney Kaagman. The epic title track (almost 19 minutes) is wonderful: the sound is very warm and melodic with lots of changing atmospheres, accelerations and surprising breaks. The one moment you hear a mellow organ, twanging acoustic guitars and a fairy-like voice from Jerney, the other moment there are bombastic eruptions with majestic Mellotron, heavy floods of organ and powerful electric guitarwork, topped by Jerney's powerful voice. This album is a touch of international symphonic rock class!
(Erik Neuteboom, Progarchives)
This album is generally pointed out by progheads as E&F's peak and I agree somewhat with them but as you can see by my rating , this is hardly the Everest , more like a foothill in Progressive Rock Mountains Range. E&F is one of those many Dutch band that obviously listened to a lot of classical music before starting a rock band (Focus , Ekseption , Trace etc..). The problem with that is that I see a great lack of originality/personality in those bands (Focus excepted) and prefer groups such as Supersister , Finch or Golden Earring . Since Holland is where I live during the week , I feel particularly con cerned to give a proper review and explain well why I appreciate a band or not.
E&F has one beautiful female vocalist that sings in accent-less English (as is often the case with the Dutch) sometimes brilliantly but at times also very annoyingly/irritatingly. The main thing about this album I would suggest here is that too much mellotron kills the mellotrons effects and here this is a lot more of an orgy ....... more like an indigestion. Use and abuse , where does one draw the line?!?! Well , it is not clearly drawn out but IMHO we are over the line by a few miles... If I was a music instrument dealer , I would use this album to clients as a sales brochure for the full spectrum of the capabilities of the instrument. But too much is toooooo much....
Side 1 is full of reworking the classical music and is rather tedious and sometimes sound like a third rate Focus or a second rate Ekseption, filled with mellotrons layers. Side 2 holds the side-long suite that gives its name to the album and is relatively pleasant with interesting KB lines (other than mellotrons that is) even though there are lengths (the long March as pointed out heavily by the drumming) and the facts that there are borropwed themes (heard elsewhere). I just find it very much over-rated as much so than the other side-long suite of the following album Atlantis.
(Hugues Chantraine, Progarchives)
Earth and Fire were a stunning band, which really knew how to combine catchy pop with powerful and original prog rock. Some of the attraction is no doubt due to the soaring vocals of the female lead singer, sounding like a better version of Annie Haslam of Renaissance. However, they succeeded where Renaissance, who could not break out of the pop/folk straightjacket, failed - making memorable pop hits and at the same time leaving a rich legacy of sophisticated symphonic progressive rock. Their songs are usually well-structured - loaded with original melodic ideas yet seamlessly transitioning from one theme to another, then returning to the original themes. The arrangements are equally brilliant, combining mellotron with heavy organ which provides a darkly rich backdrop to their melodic explorations. The real surprise for me was the guitarist, whose style is as unique as his chops are solid - he is a rare breed among guitarists - a melodic player, who does not solo to show off his skills, but to express a melodic idea. But the most amazing thing is that Earth and Fire is a rare band that manages a convincing prog sound without ever losing that pop feel, which makes listening to them so refreshing. This album manages this beautifully, with the gorgeously breezy prog-pop of "Memories", and the more "serious" 19-minute, mellotron-dominated, epic symphonic title track. The same also applies to the follow-up album "Atlantis", which follows the same formula with great success. Simply beautiful stuff, whatever you want to call it.
(Eliott Minkovitch, Progarchives)
The second classic. The mellotron is not so visible as on the previous album, but you can still hear it. Starting with the 16-minute title-track, you know you're in for another masterpiece. The vocal-parts has a almost folky feel to them, while the instrumental parts still is very symphonic and grandiose with GREAT themes! The organ on the part called "Rise and Fall" is great! The album also includes some more poppy tracks like "Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight", but with the typical progressive Earth and Fire sound to it. "Fanfare" is another classic in the style of "Storm and Thunder". If you like bands like Genesis and early King Crimson, then you'll LOVE Earth and Fire.
(Tommy Schonenberg, Vintage Prog)
1973 followup to "Song of the Marching Children", but I felt it was just a notch down. The album, entitled "Atlantis", of course, is a concept album on the rise and destruction of Atlantis (something ELOY would do four years later for their album "Ocean"). This album is pretty much in the same vein as its predecessor, so really little has changed in the band in those two years. Even the lineup is the same (Jerney Kaagman, twin brothers Chris and Gerard Koerts, bassist Hans Ziech, and drummer Ton v.d. Kleij).
The album opens up with the side length title track, which actually sounds like a collection of separate songs, but still works quite well. Great vocals from Jerney Kaagman as usual, and the ever presence of Mellotron. The music of course, tells to story of Atlantis, the birth, and the destruction thereof. The second half of the album mostly consists of non- related music, with the exception of a recurring theme. One song, "Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight" is without a doubt, the most pop-oriented number on this album. I am not pulling your chain that this song sounds a whole lot like SPANKY & OUR GANG (it reminds me of "Sunday Will Never Be the Same"). Of course, unlike that CHICAGO folk-pop band that's often derided as little than a second-rate MAMAS & THE PAPPAS, this song has Mellotron, to let people know this is a prog rock band. There's the much more progressive "Fanfare", with enough Mellotron to keep anyone happy. "Love, Please Close the Door" is a nice acoustic ballad that closes the album. Great album, nonetheless, even "Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight", and if you're new to EARTH & FIRE, I suggest you get both this album and "Song of the Marching Children" in one go.
Give this album another halfstar. Although
almost a carbon copy of its predecessor , I find this album less
worthy but still worth a listen for mellotrons fanatics. As I
said in the review of Marching Children, the over-use of
Mellotrons is simply too much as this is almost another showcase
for that instrument alone.
The eponymous side-long suite has the same flaws as the one in the preceding album full of delicate moments but maybe too delicate/precious (in the bad sense of the word) to truly enjoy. A useless Prelude , a clichéd Prologue (now there is a redundancy if I ever heard one : Prelude+Prologue) the main theme all too classically inspired , weak vocals composition during Rumbling ..... the lists goes on to stop this from being really and truely a masterpiece..... More like a Prog rock troubleshooting manual . Most progheads into symphonic prog will disagree with this but this is the way I feel about E&F in general along with the many borrowings to classical masters and the mellotron indigestion. Side 2 is rather different with relatively weaker and shorter numbers with one track reprising the main theme of side1 : did I hear the word pointless. Fanfare is again almost a mellotron solo.
So with so many flaws , you might want to ask why I still rate this not that bad..... well because this album does have its charm (this is also true of its predecessor) and does have enough qualities that I did not mention because of the flaws that will remain unspoken by other reviewers.
(Hugues Chantraine, Progarchives)
Earth and Fire presented a refreshingly unique and different sounding kind of symphonic progressive rock on their fourth album "To the World of the Future". The symphonic and progressive structures from the two previous albums were still there, but in a different form. Koerts used synths on a much wider scale than earlier, and he had also added el-piano and clavinet to the sound. This, and the slightly funkier rhythms on the album helped the band to create a sound that reminded of no other symphonic progressive rock group around. The songwriting was still on the same high level as before. The 11-minute title-track was a good example of their new sound, with lots of great vocal harmonies and funky rhythmic patterns that got relieved by majestic and symphonic instrumental passages with lots of spacey synths, swirling organ, Mellotron and some emotional guitar work from Chris Koerts. "How Time Flies" and "Only Time Will tell" are both simply beautiful and melodic symphonic songs. Koerts' synths imitate horns to quite good effect on "Voice from yonder" and the instrumental "The Last Seagull". "Love of Life" is symphonic pop at its best, while the closing number "Circus" is a full-blown symphonic progressive rock goodie with a majestic and irresistible melody.
(Tommy Schonenberg, Vintage Prog)
The law of diminishing return seems to apply
for EARTH & FIRE. Again, another two year wait between LPs, but
at least they tied people over the previous year (1974) with a
single entitled "Love of Life"/"Tuffy the Cat". At this point,
original bassist Hans Ziech left (but still continued writing
material at this point), with new bassist Theo Hurts replacing
him. This album is a bit of a departure from their previous
offerings. The Mellotron isn't as present (it's still used, but
this time, it's the white 400 model, and string synths are now
used), but the band increased the synthesizers quite a bit.
Also, some disco tendencies are starting to show.
The album opens up with the title track, which starts off with a sequence of spacy synthesizer sounds, before the music kicks in. The music itself has more of a disco sound that would obviously throw off old time EARTH & FIRE fans. It's not bad, and there's still that progressive element. The next song is the ever sappy and (in my book) unbearable "How Time Flies". Just overdramatic and overly sentimental. Luckily the album rebounds nicely with the instrumental "The Last Seagull". It starts off with the sound of seagulls, and the spacy string synths come in, before the band jams with electric piano and guitar. It's nice to hear the band using electric piano and string synths, sure gives the band more dimension, that's a plus. "Only Time Will Tell" was another song released as a single, is more in the vein of their previous album, "Atlantis". "Voice From Yonder" is another favorite of mine, it starts off with an electric piano. The lyrics deal with a séance, and in fact, the band was apparently conducting a seance, and you even hear a voice used from that séance. What a cool song that is. Then there's "Love of Life", which was already released as a single the previous year. This song previewed listeners the direction EARTH & FIRE was heading (that meant a more synth-heavy direction). Then the album closes with "Circus", which is a great song that goes through several changes.
"To the World of the Future" was the very first EARTH & FIRE album I was ever exposed to, thanks to my dad buying a copy when I was still a kid (I'm sure my dad probably didn't know what he was buying when he bought that album, but I'm glad he did, and I'm glad many years later I found out they had many more albums). Anyway, not as strong as their previous albums, but still worth having.
I disagree with the labeling of this band as
'Dutch answer to Genesis' as it was mentioned in the sleeve
notes of one of their early albums. This album is by no
exception. Yes, most of the tracks are keyboard and mellotron
based but the composition is different structurally. The choice
of melody is different. So, I think it's too simplistic assuming
this band in the vein of GENESIS. I fail to classify under which
box this band, especially this album, we should put in. It has
female vocal. So what? Should it be classified under RENAISSANCE
or BABE RUTH or ATLANTIS / FRUMPY? It is so silly classifying a
band based on sexual genre of lead vocals.
I think the title track 'To the world of the future' represents the heart of this album. It has great composition as the music flows dynamically starting with an upbeat tempo, a bit like disco music (not really, actually), moves slightly to a slower tempo. The bass line used is very dominant and set the right ambient of the track. Keyboard and mellotron are used significantly in this nice and dynamic track. Vocal part is done by JERNEY KAAGMAN and CHRIS KOOERTS in a dialogue style. It's a perfect combination of male and female vocal. The tag-line melody is really touchy and memorable. The inclusion of keyboard and mellotron sound at the background have made this track very rich in its musical nuances. This track is full of energy and can stimulate your positive emotional feeling and gear your motivation up. The guitar solo in the middle of the track is really stunning. I bet you'll love this track regardless you are a progger or not. It's a fantastic song! As I am writing this review, I have been playing this track four times with no sign of getting bored!
Having been rocked by the first track, the next 'How time flies' is mellow track with acoustic guitar, female vocal and keyboard play. It's nice. No drumming in this track. It's a great break after an upbeat tempo track. . 'The last seagull' is a great instrumental piece opened with keyboard sounds that create a situation at the beach. This track is heavily influenced by jazz with stunning organ / keyboard solo with mellotron sound at background. There is lead guitar solo as well. The music flows smoothly from start to the end without any surprise in melody or rhythm changes. It's very enjoyable track. 'Circus' is a song with great melody and lead vocals. The organ solo in the middle of the song is really excellent. This is another track that I always repeat listening. Excellent composition. The band use many musical transitions in this track.
I think you will enjoy this album very much whether you like prog music or not. It's not a pop music, definitely. But is not as complex as any prog rock music. Music lovers would like this album, I think. For me, it's an excellent addition to my prog collection. RECOMMENDED. Buy the CD! The title track itself is worth for having this CD in your collection.
(Gatot Widayanto, Progarchives)
Sad but true. The band simply ran out of steam by that time. The album is still very professionally made, with all the marks in place - strong vocals, excellent drumming, great synth/bass/guitar interplay, but the main weak point is the lack of good songs. Recognition? (5:30) still rocks, but the rest is a filler, although Driftin' (5:36) is also very very good. Sad, but this is the end of good great old days...
(Dennis Popov, Progarchives)
I'm not certain which is odder: "Reality Fills
Fantasy" being reviewed here in the first place, or someone
having given it a positive review.
Granted, Earth & Fire was a superb progressive rock band in its earlier days; and granted, most of the later pop-oriented albums contain at least some progressive moments. This, however, is the exception: "Reality Fills Fantasy", simply, is a disco record.
Earth & Fire was always a major influence on Abba, and it was little coincidence that both bands' fascination with disco saw them releasing a whole album in the style in 1979. Abba's "Voulez-Vous?" wasn't brilliant, either, but whereas Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus were versatile enough songwriters to turn their hand to most styles with aplomb, the Koerts twins here prove themselves incapable of writing good disco music.
Only the vaguely Jefferson Starship-like "Fire Of Love" is halfway listenable; the remainder (including the eleven minute opener "People Come, People Go", which one might expect to be the token progressive cut) is an assemblage of dreadful disco clichés, more dated and hackneyed today than a white suit with ten inch flares.
The album's defenders may cite the success of the reggae/pop single "Weekend", which reached number one in at least one European chart. Then again, the "Crazy Frog" ringtone is top of the pops here in the UK as I write this.
(Richard Falk, Progarchives)
The later E&F album is not for everyone. The music is smooth, gentle and even pop. But this is far from the old art rock of olden days! Anyway, the LP is not that bad. Jerney is still great as a singer and songs are crafted skillfully. The opener, Dream, is the evident hit here, with its strong piano riff and great chorus line. The main track lingers a bit, but still has its moments.
(Dennis Popov, Progarchives)
This album is a little quirky and you might have to play it quite a few times to appreciate it and indeed you may play it one day and like certain tracks and another day think differently. 'In A State Of Flux' being the title track is a little unusual, as it is an instrumental. 'Twenty-Four Hours' and 'The Two Of Us' I suppose are the most popular ones for me although as said the others are variable in strength which makes them interesting 'Jack is Back' is featured on the DVD which is a surreal video and seems to fit the song. IF you are thinking of buying any Earth & Fire this could be the last one on your list as you do have to work on it to like it. Fans of Earth & Fire should find an album which is not on CD.
(Chris Martin, Progarchives)
Phoenix being the last album by Earth & Fire as named was indeed something of a revival of Earth & Fire although not the same line up as in the past but with Jerney's voice which cannot be mistaken and the arrangements are familiar. 'French Word For Love' is a fantastic song which has an extended version on the Single is quite impressive. 'Winds of change' is a powerful and appealing song. Then 'Streets of Shame, a long and unusual track. Finally the one that has a Rock sound is 'Under a Burning Sky' which partly goes back to those far off days of Earth & Fire's heritage. 'Keep On Missing You' has to be rated as a good guitar track. For me there is no Bad album and I think they all can be taken on their own merits. As does Jerney's solo albums, which are familiar but have a different slant on her songs. Overall I would not be without it in my collection. Beware those who like the 'Rock' sound you won't find that apart from the one song I have mentioned. Good listening!