Saturday, September 30, 2017

LOTUS – Lotus (SMA, 1974)

International relevance: ***

Following the demise of Malmö based Asoka who released a very rare and sought after album in 1971, guitarist Robert Larsson and keyboardist Claes Ericsson went on to form Lotus, abandoning the heavy rock of their former band in favour of an all instrumental straight up progressive sound.

”Lotus” is a less organ oriented album than one would expect, the emphasis being on the guitars which are sometimes heavy, sometimes lyrical and melodic, as in the case of the quirky ”At El-Yago 9-3”, and of album highlight, the Zappa-esque ”Zero”. However, Ericsson gets his chance to show off his skills in ”Ungersk dans”, suggesting Dave Stewart of Arzachel/Egg was a major inspiration of his.

There's no doubt about Lotus being a very tight unit, pulling off every track with an effortless grandeur. But while their collective chops may be alluring to some – quite a few even, judging by a couple of reissues prompted by the price tags usually attached to copies of the original pressing – the cleverness and aptitude soon get boring to anyone not merely into applauding their well rehearsed efficiency. Still ”Lotus” is a far more listenable effort than their second album, the fusion permeated and impossibly overbearing ”Vera O'Flera” released by a different line-up in 1976. 

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