PHOENIX - Cantofabule

This is Romanian band Phoenix's third release, being a double album from 1975. For this effort the band recruited a keyboard player and expanded their musical range to incorporate styles as varied as psyche, folk, and even a touch of glam rock. The album opens with the vaguely familiar heavy rock of 'Invocatie', while 'Delfinul, Dulce Dulful Nostru' is a lovely Eastern European folk song, and 'Uciderea Balaurului' is quite a commercial track, with a nice melody and harmony vocals. 'Pasarea Roc...K And Roll' starts off like Sweet's 'Blockbuster' and then marries it to The Glitter Band's handclaps for quite an interesting take on glam rock. I can't tell if this is a pastiche or if they are serious, but it is very enjoyable either way. 'Zoomahia' is one of the tracks that benefits from the addition of the keyboard player, with the pulsing rhythms bringing the sound up-to-date. With the psychedelic folk-rock of 'Cintic-Lu A Cucuveaua-Lliei' mixing in with the other muscical styles on here this album ends up as the most ambitious attempted by the band. For the most part it comes off extremely well, and bearing in mind that the country is not exactly known for their rock bands it is a most creditable effort which can easily sit alongside comparable works by UK groups. A rather strange post-script to the Phoenix story is that shortly after the release of this album most of the band members fled to Germany and Holland, and did not return to Romania until 1991 where they got back together for some reunion concerts. 'Cantofabule' is out on CD, with a different (and in my opinion inferior) sleeve design.