BEAST – Higher And Higher

This is the second album by Denver band Beast, released in 1970, and follows on from their eclectic first album, which contained some mellow instrumentals featuring flute and trumpet. This one does away with the brass, although the flute is retained to lead the jazzy ‘Communication’, while ‘The Man Outside’ goes in entirely the opposite direction with some good-time pop. ‘Migration’ is a short flute-led instrumental, leading into another good-time pop track in ‘Whistle’, thankfully less than a minute in length. ‘I Am’ is back to the good stuff, being more progressive than previous tracks, and with a subtle horn backing making it sound more sophisticated. ‘Don’t You Think It’s Time?’ is a slower song, with the flute once again taking the lead, and the gentle organ backing gives it a melancholy feel. ‘Move Mountain (You Got It)’ is the band’s attempt at heavy rock, and while it is a good stab at the genre it does lack the inventiveness of tracks like ‘Communication’ and ‘I Am’. ‘It’s So Hard’ starts out as a rock ballad, but then 40 seconds in turns into a jazz piano and guitar piece, before the rock ballad returns to end the song, and ‘Legal Machines’ closes the disc with a good psyche/rock song which fades out just a little too soon. While there are some enjoyable songs on this album, the diversity of them does make for a something of a disjointed listen, with good-time pop vying for space with jazz and heavy rock, so best to try and hear a few sample tracks should you ever find a copy.