If you haven’t heard of this band, or this record, don’t feel bad. The best way I could describe it is early ELP meets King Crimson on the way to new age: tuneful pop, heavy on the keyboards and extremely high production values. This is apparently one of those records that was done with little overdubbing, and does have all the earmarks of what we now think of as “progressive” rock- elaborate, big, complex, Mellotron-infused, classical music styled-soundscapes that morph into pop riffs, and merge back into larger motifs.
It’s also not one of the cheaper Vertigos. I have the early UK pressing and it was in subpar condition- it needed repeated cleaning, and this was one of those records that forced me to double down on my cleaning methods and re-examine my assumptions about what constitutes record damage and what can be removed by effective cleaning. What I now have (after some serious cleaning) is a very good player with a few revolutions that (still) suffer from wispy tracing distortion. If I could find a minty copy that wasn’t crazy money, I might replace it, but this copy is (now) a better than acceptable player. I haven’t compared the contemporaneous non-UK Vertigo releases, but there are several from the usual European countries, and I’d probably opt for one of those over the later reissues. (Note: the Si-Wan Records reissues from Korea aren’t bad sounding, I have one- of another Vertigo, not Gracious!, so that may be an alternative too). In some ways, this album is a throw-back but it is also a very cool album.