Before the end of the 60s, former Zombie Rod Argent and his bassist cousin Jim Rodford drafted drummer Bob Henrit and guitarist Russ Ballard from the pop band Unit 4 + 2 to form Argent. The band clearly centered on the keyboard talents of its namesake, but also had gifted songwriters in Ballard and ex-Zombie Chris White. "Lothlorien" and the second side of 1971's Rings Of Fire pointed to the progressive, but it would take the Argent a few more albums before they consummated the direction. In the meantime, they scored a massive hit with "Hold Your Head Up" b/w "Keep on Rollin'" in 1972, reaching No. 5 on both sides of the Atlantic. The accompanying album All Together Now also charted well, as did its follow up, 1973's In Deep. Argent was an undisputed master of the Hammond organ, and both albums oozed "classic rock"—albeit more on the blues-inspired end of heavy rock, with one foot still in the 60s. Thus, it wasn't until 1974's Nexus that the band delivered a bona fide prog rock album. The album opens with a "celestial" suite of three instrumentals, all written by Argent and White. "The Coming of Kohoutek" opens imposingly, before descending into a nice little vamp. "Once Around the Sun" goes majestic, with Argent's keyboards paving the way; while "Infinite Wanderer" playfully winds up the suite. Ballard's "Love" features a tender and sympathetic vocal from Argent. Yet "Music From the Spheres" is the album's cornerstone. The band descends into a killer jam, anchored by the Rodford/Henrit rhythm section, then finish it off with a long, hypnotic coda. The second side, written primarily by Ballard, switches gears to a few earthier, funky numbers, like "Thunder And Lightning" and "Gonna Meet My Maker." Despite the strong showing, the album did not chart.
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Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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