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Welcome 1

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Album Review

Besides some only cursory similarities to ELP and Genesis on this self-titled album, Welcome don't bear any influences too openly on their sleeves and, thus, avoid much of the pomp of mid-'70s American hard rock and some English progressive-rock via a sort of home-made, unpolished musical bed full of uncommonly great keyboard work (robotic organ, spacy Moog runs), thick, warm bass, and perfectly-recorded drums. Yes, the long, extended mini-suites-the kind early Genesis composed-are present, as are virtuoso futuro-keyboards, and Peter Gabriel's handywork is certainly heard in Bernie Krauer's lead vocals ("Dizzy Tune," which, otherwise, is nearly gospel in its overtones, with prevalent, fugue-like organs and tubular bells). But the singing is much more geared toward group harmonies than much progressive rock; the band delves into early-'70s American harmony-rock (America, Bread, etc.) just as often as they play progressive. "Glory" is like an expansive, orchestrated Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young acoustic ballad, and "Chain of Days," too, strongly recalls CSNY (especially David Crosby's jazzy compositions) during its verses. But these are never more than influences to Welcome. All but one of the five songs clock in at under seven minutes, and three are over eight minutes long, so it is a tribute to the band that they can not only maintain interest throughout a song, but actually keep you waiting for and wanting more. The band was a self-contained trio, and each member could sing and play various instruments. Unfortunately, music this adventurous and exploratory was no longer commercially viable in 1976.

Welcome 1, Welcome To
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