Retro Retrospective: Czar S/T
New material is coming, seriously.
To tide you over until that eventuality, I’ve got a juicy little dose of riffs from 1970′s Czar. A relativity obscure band (they don’t have a Wiki page), they first formed in 1967 as Tuesdays Children and were one of the many pop-rock bands that dominated the time period. Their record label was determined to keep them one the straight and narrow pop path, as that’s where the money was. However, in 1970 the band changed their name, released one self-titled album and then broke up.
According to the ProgArchives most of the album was recorded late at night after their day-job gigs and written then recorded on the same day. This is one of many albums from a smaller band during the early days of prog. While the heavy hitters like King Crimson were busy making headlines, many understated bands like Czar were putting out one-shot records into these previously uncharted waters.
The album’s openers, “Tread Softly On My Dreams” and “Cecelia”, are classic examples of early prog, with lots of nuanced guitar lines, weird vocal harmonies, meandering solos and plenty of organ/synth work. Since this is still “first wave” the songs don’t go completely insane, with longer but not epic run times and a fairly solid undercurrent of rock. In that sense you could almost consider this more art or post rock, but I don’t feel like postulating about genres.
Bonus points go to some pretty sick guitar noodling that kicks in at about the one minute mark on “Tread Softly On My Dreams”. The song feels raw to a certain extent but the rough edges and shitty production can be attributed to the fact it was the seventies and this was fairly experimental. It also adds a certain charm to the track, as you can tell there wasn’t a lot of money behind the song. It’s by far the best track on the record, to such an extent these guys are essentially one-hit wonders of prog.
Sadly, the strong opening is followed up with a pretty flat and forgettable mid-section. The songs aren’t bad per-say but they sure aren’t interesting or original by any stretch. The album’s closer, “A Day in September” manages to somewhat redeem things but still doesn’t get near the sound of the first two tracks.
This album is an interesting example of early prog development, from a band that never made it big but was necessary in expanding the fledgling genre. I’ve included the two opening tracks below and I’ll get some new new music up later today. Seriously.
“Tread Softly On My Dreams”