It took EELA CRAIG five years between full blown LPs. They did release a single in 1974 ("Stories"/"Cheese") that totally turned away from the bluesy/jazzy psych and prog of their debut, and was to define their symphonic prog sound of the late '70s (specifically "Hats of Glass" as both were re-recorded for that album). By 1976, they were finally recording for Vertigo Records in Germany, giving them exposure outside of Austria. The band now started going hog-wild on all sorts of equipment. The original LP shows the band members with all their gear on the back cover (an analog keyboard lover's dream come true). There's vocalist/keyboardist Hubert Bognermayr (hard to miss him since he was partially bald, although he was always like that, and he was still in his 20s when "One Niter" came out) with a Hammond organ, two VCS-3 synthesizers, a Wurlitzer electric piano, and a couple keyboards I can't recognize (looks like I see an RMI electric piano, but can't be sure). Bassist Gerhard Englisch is standing next to an amplifier, and two bass guitars are standing by it (including a Rickenbacker). Frank Hueber is seen playing his drum set. Vocalist and guitarist Fritz Riedelberger is seen holding a Gibson "The Les Paul", keyboardist/flautist Hubert Schnauer is seen standing next to a vibraphone, and a custom made Mellotron 400 courtesy of EMI, with a black top, and Harald Zuschrader is seen playing his Mini Moog, and although hard to see, I think it's a Hohner D-6 clavinet (as plent is used throughout the album). This photo is taken in some place in the countryside (I wouldn't mind living), with some overgrown vegetation, and some small valley down below. Love the picture of giant sculpture of a telephone, makes me wonder where that is, and if it's still there? Well, not only was the band going hog-wild on their equipment, it also shows they now had three guys handling keyboard duty as well as the usual other prog rock gear. They were going for a more funky-brand of prog rock, often dominated by the clavinet. "Circles" is a four movement suite that starts off with some really loud and startling Mellotron brass, before things quiet down with some synthesizer and very pleasant flute. Then they go in to a killer jam dominated by clavinet and Moog. Then they go in to a gentle ballad. This is where the vocals first appear, courtesy of guitarist Fritz Riedelberger. Then they go back to the Mellotron and pick up speed. "Loner's Rhyme" is the track Hubert Bognermayer handles the vocal duties. The band goes in to an extended solo, including some great Moog solos and funky clavinet, as well as Hammond organ. "One Niter Medley" is a five movement suite, starts off with synthesizer and Mellotron, before you hear a short song from Bach with an experiment in phasing. After that the band goes in to funky jam, before mellowing out with string synths. "Venezuela" is a nice acoustic song with Fritz Riedelberger handling vocals. "Way Down" starts off with some really nice flute and some droning keyboard in the background. Once again they go in to a funky jam before mellowing out and the vocals kick in. A totally wonderful album to have in your collection.
Ben Miler as reviewed for ProgArchives]