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End of the World / Rain and Tears

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Album Review

The debut album of the only Greek 1960s rock band to make an international impact could have almost been the work of a foppish British psychedelic group on the cusp of turning progressive, if not for the notable foreign accent on the (entirely English-language) vocals. The use of the Mellotron in particular recalls the early psychedelic Moody Blues, as do the mild influences of classical music in the keyboards and melodies. If there's something distinct about Aphrodite's Child, it's a certain Mediterranean sentimental streak to both those melodies and the songs, which get more overtly romantic than virtually any British (or American) psychedelic band would have thought suitable. Though Aphrodite's Child stood up well to the British bands in their level of instrumental accomplishment and production, End of the World is an uneven record. The more heart-wringing numbers will be way too sappy for many listeners, some of the hard-rocking songs have overwrought soulful vocals, and there's a general awkwardness that's inevitable when bands are singing in a non-native language. But this epic melancholic grandeur also makes Aphrodite's Child stick out to some degree among second-division psychedelic acts, and their use of skin-crawling psychedelic effects, while dated, is quite imaginative (especially on the closing "Day of the Fool"). The title cut could well have been a standard European pop ballad without those effects, and is certainly the catchiest song here, if the drippiest, though it was the yet daintier "Rain and Tears" that gave them a hit in parts of Europe. The 2010 U.K. reissue on Esoteric adds useful historical liner notes and two bonus cuts from their 1968 European single "Plastics Nevermore"/"The Other People," which are a bit more pop-oriented than most of the album's material, though not to the songs' detriment.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

A Greek band of the late '60s and early '70s, Aphrodite's Child scored only one European hit, "Rain and Tears." Though it was a big one, the group became little more than a trivia answer after keyboardist Vangelis Papathanassiou dropped his surname and hit number one with the theme to Chariots of Fire in 1981. Aphrodite's Child also included drummer Lucas Sideras and vocalist Demis Roussos, who enjoyed some solo success himself as a pop vocalist. The band formed in Greece in the mid-'60s, and the...
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End of the World / Rain and Tears, Aphrodite's Child
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