(2010 - Esoteric - UK)
Eela Craig never did sound exactly like any other bands from the 70's progressive symphonic psychedelic space rock movement and that’s why they still sound fresh today. The original album was released in 1976 on the better than average Vertigo label. This 2010 remastered ‘One Niter’ on British Esoteric label actually benefits from the minor clarity improvements more than most of the deluge of reissue remastered classics that the market has seen over the last two years.
Many people thought Eela Craig was a German band, but they were from Austria. Often lost in the haze of so many groups being discovered during the guzzling 70's, I was happy to see the reissue of this extremely nice work. For me, I enjoyed the combination of many flavors that were connected from one song to another, and especially in the multi-part compositions. One huge bonus is the fine vocals throughout. Even the three part harmony was great. We all know how many bands who had super instrumental skills, were marred by weak to terrible vocals. So rest assured you get the whole package of good things here. The second thing I liked a lot about Eela Craig was the large band format. They used, triple keyboards, flute, and choir along with the typical rock band gear.
As for styles, you can enjoy a pot full of them mixed in. I have to mention the great skill in which the compositions were done. The flow from one style to the other is as smooth as I have ever heard. So much so, I didn’t even mind the more funky jazz parts, mixed with the more fusion jazz rock, celestial space music, Canterbury influences, and cool psychedelic slant on the whole thing. They were adventurous in the fact that not only did they go many directions, but they were slow dreamy one second, then took off with a fast jazz part out of nowhere. So for me, this was interesting then, and still keeps my attention now. I also feel this is their best release as things got less interesting and progressive on subsequent recordings. What bands might you be reminded of along the minutes? To name a few, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Nektar, Trace, Ramses, Passport, Gandalf, Camel and you’ll hear snippets of Genesis, and a dose of psychedelic with everything from The Byrds to Procol Harum.
If you only buy one CD to check Eela Craig out, buy this one. It’s a keeper for what seems to be the best Austrian progressive band from that year. If you really love both the German space rock of old (Ramses of “Le Layla” fame etc) and the old to mid period Pink Floyd, along with a little jazz rock for the adventure, then you’ll love this recording.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on May 24th, 2011