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4 June 2009

Aphrodite's Child - '666' (Vertigo)

Any record that starts out with a chant of 'defile the system!' before exploding into a trumpet-accented psych-pop song drenched in fake crowd noise is A-OK by me.  Add in the presence of a young Vangelis Papathanassiou (yes, that Vangelis), a weird inner gatefold painting of a car jacknifing through a brick wall, and the cryptic liner note of 'This work was recorded under the influence of "Sahlep"' and I'm even more interested.  Did I mention it's a double-LP concept album based on the book of Revelation?  While not as Satanic as the cover/title suggests, it's a scorcher.  The album, while long, is pretty evenly split between catchy songs, instrumental  rock, and a few 'out' jams thrown in, most notably the song that is just an infinity symbol (awesome idea, dudes!) which has the sexiest female orgasm vocals this side of Brainticket.  Though there's some slight Jesus Christ Superstar tendencies, A.C (hey, another A.C band!) employ enough wigged out guitar solos and perfect psych production to make this a total classic.  The bass thumps in just the right way, and there's some obligatory Greek instruments to remind you of the flavor of this trip.  What strikes me now is how catchy these songs are - Vangelis has some real pop hooks up his sleeve that are best situated alongside West Coast psych like Moby Grape or Jefferson Airplane.  There's a few goofy genre excursions, such as 'Who Can Find the Beast?' -- which is a bit too 'Bad Bad Leroy Brown' to be convincing (these are Greeks, after all).  Side four opens with the big jam, with some axetastic riffing and mixed-in moments from earlier in the record, before ending with the pure pop of 'Break'.   This was a smash hit and deservedly so; if you haven't heard this, seek it out and hold onto your (Greek Orthodox) Bible.

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