I never thought of myself as a fan of “progressive” music, although I certainly listened to some of the bands (Crimson, Tull and early ELP, along with YES and a few others, back in the day) . More than 40 years later, the concept seems dated, and the term seems to apply to a range of music that didn’t fit neatly into one easy to define genre. At its best, it reflected music that followed an almost “classical” form, but drew from jazz, pop and more contemporary influences, including the use of Mellotron, synthesizers and other keyboard instruments, along with strings, horns and other symphonic elements to deliver “long form” suites and symphonies that transcended the usual 3 minute pop tune in length and complexity. In retrospect, some of this stuff seems a little pretentious and a lot of it sounds dated.
This band’s first album on Vertigo is a show-stopper. You can get a sense of it on the Vertigo Annual 1970, which includes the track “To Play Your Little Game.” Vertigo released the record in several other countries outside of the UK, so those contemporaneous pressings may offer a cheaper alternative to the original UK. This is one of the best records released on the Vertigo Swirl label in my estimation, and is worth every penny if you can find a clean player. Why this band is not in the pantheon of “progressive” greats like King Crimson is inexplicable.