George Starostin's Reviews



Become a Certified Commentator today by following this link!

!!Before adding new comments, please check the GUIDELINES. Don't say I didn't warn you!!


No reader comments yet.

3:47 EST

Barry Stoller <> (27.07.2004)

Klaatu - what a 70s guilty pleasure! (Why not the Beatles in 'disguise'? Wasn't the Wings McCartney in disguise?) George, ya gotta get the next two LPs to fully evaluate this interesting pop footnote. Hope, the big budget follow-up, goes deeper into prog with lots of (lightweight) nods to Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'; Sir Army Suit returns to the Beatles formula with a better batch of hooks than the debut. All in all, silly as hell (cooler than ELO, though).

Eric Bukowski <> (08.07.2005)

When I first heard this album I really didn't know what to think, it has to be one of the most off-kilter and wildly unpredictable releases of the 70s. Track-to-track it sounds like a totally different band! It's almost as if different musicians and singers were hired for each song. With as annonymous and concert-phobic as they were it's something to chew on for a minute.

Time to talk about the music, it is for the most part pretty decent, it rarely scales tremendous heights but the entire album is definately palettable. Gotta agree with you George, "Sub-Rosa Subway" is the standout (or did you pick the saccharine "Calling Occupants?" I'll have to look again) and it would have made a more-than-respectable side-closer on Magical Mystery Tour. Although rarely did they truly sound like the Beatles, when they did ape the Beatles they sounded just like the fucking Beatles. I've played this track for friends and had them guess who it was and they all said "The Beatles!" instantly when the singing kicked in. It swirls and stomps and takes lots of panoramic twists and turns considering it's short running time.

Gotta disagree with you on 'Little Neutrino'. Sure, it's a little bizarre but this tune really takes me places and I can't fight its intoxicating power every time it comes on. Sure, the processed vocals are immensely corny but that's part of its strange appeal. It's my little brothers favorite part of the track! But listen to that ending, such intellegent and amazing production effects. When that bomb explodes and it dissasembles into the ticking clock I'm left speechless every time.

"Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby" is just downright hysterical. I don't see how one couldn't get swept up in its ridiculous, giddy rush. Nods to "True Life Hero" too.

Good album, although a lot of it isn't the worlds greatest material it's diversity and unpredictability make it a more than worthwhile listen. Your rating of 11 was more than appropriate.


Eric Bukowski <> (08.07.2005)

Wow! The first album was a shock but not even close to how I felt when i first spun through this wax on the platter. At Noise Pollution records in Philly I found a sealed vinyl copy of this with an assload of promotional material inside for 5 bucks, definately a steal considering how cool the artwork is (Funnily enough I found a sealed copy of the vastly inferior Sir Army Suit a block up at Philly Record Exchange too. I assume that radio stations never even opened Klaatu records after the debut).

"We're Off You Know" belongs to the monster-pop trio of the 3 best Klaatu pop songs ("Routine Day" and "Sub Rosa Subway") and has an arrangement to fucking die for. These guys were truly masters at their game in all fields, production, arranging, writing, and musicianship - when they really set their minds to it. This song defines whimsical, light-hearted, and is so free sprited that it might just inspire your muppet ass to fire up your tugboat and sail away on a sea of ice-cream soup for a magical adventure. That's the only way I can think to describe it. The nooks and crannies of their best pop songs are so stuffed to the brim with hooks that it boggles the mind!

Once again, they made a point of steering each song in the complete opposite direction of all that preceded it and this time they really made it work as a cohesive statement. Reading the lyrics along with the album really makes the story come alive. Although it's somewhat trite it's still completely enjoyable. This makes 357 EST sound like mere blueprints for Hope.

"Madman"'s twisted structure really does reveal some interesting stuff after repeated listens, and "Around THe World In 80 Days" is a nice breather from the chaos.

"Long Live Politzania" is probably one of the most hilarious and disjointed epics in the prog canon, from the orchestral flourishes to the menacing thunder of horse hooves it reveals itself to be as colorful as the album artwork. Up-and-down-and-sideways-DOWN! It twists around and maneuvers itself all kinds of ways making for a super-interesting listen. The Politzania national anthem is a real hoot. You can almost picture hordes of alien Politzanians in some bizarre Star Trek style chorale singing the the hilarious "La la la la la la la laaa laaaaa la la laaaaa's!" at the end. Red, white, and green? Isn't that the Polish flag? Hmm.

The first side is good enough, but the 2nd side reveals the real treats, especially with the final trio of songs, which I can't think of enough good things to say about, and I don't think I'm even able to try except that the ecstatic techno-orchestral romp "Prelude" and "So Said The Lighthouse Keeper" always warrent rewinds. The latter track is my favorite of the album, truly conjuring up images of the poor, abandoned lighthouse keeper. So sad. When that astoundingly beautiful chord progression at the end blasts through with the explosive drums and stately organ chords I get goosebumps and several times have been near tears. It fades out far too soon. "Hope" is notable only for being a great long lost Harrison tune that's just like "Something" except about half as good.

Definately reccomended, and I don't understand the relatively low rating. At LEAST a 12, but for me, a 13. It's light years better than their horrid 3rd album Sir Army Suit and not only their best but it represents all sides of the band. If you buy only one Klaatu album make this it. The cover speaks for itself, the music is a mirror image of the artwork, otherworldly, colorful, and spacious. Most importantly, it's some of the least serious and most tongue-in-cheek prog you could ask for (Utopia's Ra eat your heart out!)


Eric Bukowski <> (08.07.2005)

Once again, a shock (I bought the albums in chronological order) and this time not a good one. They've stripped away all traces of psychedelic Beatle-isms, the colorful arrangements, the lengthy tunes, and the humor and conceptual vibe that make Klaatu Klaatu. Basically, they made a half-decent Badfinger album that's more half-awful than half-decent.

This album delivers the goods exactly twice. "A Routine Day" may very well be my favorite Klaatu song and is really the only thing I can reccomend heartily to just about anybody. Who doesn't live the groundhog day life? Wake up, stare out the bus window on the way to work, do your stupid pointless job for a mostly pointless paycheck, go have a lunch, notice something strange that only seems strange from complete boredom. Monday through Friday, this song is totally me and is most likely my favorite song of theirs. Finally, Klaatu truly resonated emotionally with me instead of just taking me on some fantastic journey. Of course, it boasts a stellar arrangement and is crammed with hooks and catchy lyrics. It's rare to hear pop song structure so detailed and progressive, the song always seems like it's going somewhere different yet retains the same feel and tempo throughout. Klaatu, in a rare state of classiness and restraint, delivered a great straightforward tune, sound effects and musical effects are kept to a bare minimum. Although they did it before this boasts some of the most standard instrumentation of any track of theirs to date, and although it works well it's an ominous hint of the boredom to follow. Not until you split-kick your way through the riotous "Juicy Lucy" though!

We'll get to the sound of the rest of the album. It's bland! Totally predictable instrumentation. Although "Juicy Lucy" is a really fun track it sounds exactly like 5 million other tracks in the sub-par white-disco style and I could easily do without it. A little cheesy clavinet part, the trademark decending dimnished scale decending horn blasts, some choppy, funky guitar, and none even above a mediocre level of excellence. Hey, I'll give the actual song credit though, it's damn fun.

I've listened to the album three times, and absolutely nothing about the rest of it stands out to me, maybe with the exception of "Older" which only really stands out for being listenable and not horrendous. "Mister Manson"'s lyrics are embarassingly inane, and "Silly Boys" is the nadir of their career up to this point. It's almost like they took "Little Neutrino" and tossed it in the Beatles paper shredder.

"Everybody Took A Holiday" is I love airy-fairy homosexual pop as much as the next guy but this is just overkill on the syrup.

This "Tokeymor Field" track you highlight was a major upset, how this bland number could ursurp "Routine Day" goes right over my head. Maybe I should try listening to the whole thing, it always bored me too much to listen to the whole track.

Sometimes you surprise me George but your rating of this REALLY shocked me. I was really expecting a 6 or 7. A 12? For THIS garbage? Please! There is one essential track, "A Routine Day" and one good one, "Juicy Lucy." After two songs, the albums already spent. I'd call it totally worthless if "A Routine Day" wasn't so excellently great. I'm gonna play it again tonight as I havent listened to it at all since I played it a few times last year. Maybe it will reveal some ingenius stuff? Forget it I don't even want to try again! Yuck!

Return to the main index page