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Steve reviews Argent self-titled album Print E-mail
Monday, 30 September 2002

Steve wrote a review of Argent's self-titled album for  When the site shut down I thought it might be lost, but I remembered that the Internet Archive ( sees all, knows all :)  You can see this piece at

It was originally published on 30/9/2002.


An enchanted and enchanting debut album by the group formed from the ashes of the Zombies around 1969. I'd seen this record in a record club catalogue and I already liked the cover (a large neon "a") and I liked the song titles "Like Honey", "Liar", "The Feeling"....which seemed sufficiently suggestive and promising in a soft focus way, songs of nascent love.

Remember, I was only 15 at the time. The other thing was that it was
always out of stock which made it a holy grail of sorts, specially as I absolutely loved "Time of the Season" (the electric piano, the effortless lounge-Latin-swing, and the simple but slightly menacing lyrics) and I hoped that Argent (the French word for silver) would be along similar lines.

And then one day in a record shop in Melbourne whilst on holidays I came across that big neon "a" somewhere between The Archies and Adam Faith, took this record home and imprinted my memory with it. I don?t know how a listener today would feel encountering it for the first time but 15 year old me was delighted with this records subtle, romantic, erotic undertones.

Most music to me is associative in some way and this record represented to me a past I'd never if I'd been like 10 years older and had grown up in swinging London instead of unswinging Canberra...., although this impression is very nebulous and is hard to pin down..... The lyrics by today's standard would probably be considered na?ve, often concerning youthful seduction "Schoolgirl", betrayal "Liar","Stepping Stone" and all things lovey dovey and so on "Be Free", "Joy" but always engaging and evocative; winter days, dancing in smoke, the lonely wee hours ...good stuff.

The music itself was a perfect setting for the words, very accomplished instrumental and ensemble playing but before the excesses of heavy and prog had ruined (for me) a lot of what was to follow in the long solos or moogs.

There are so many nice touches and flourishes on this record like the poignant guitar arpeggios which begin the album, the mock church organ motif in "Feelings Inside" spidering around in gothic fingers, the crescendos of "Liar" (check out Queen's song of the same name on their first album...and marvel at the similarity) and my favourite little thing which is between "Stepping Stone " and "Joy", a couple of minutes of the most beautiful quasi-Rachmaninoff you've ever heard, a lone piano, tender, tentative, gorgeous and sad.

Indeed there is lots of lovely organ and electric piano all over this record inducing a nightclubby lushness that soothes and seduces ears weary of screaming guitars. I may be as bold as to say that Rod Argent was the first person I'd ever heard play a 'lectric piano on "She's Not There" and he had a lovely way with the instrument, sounding breezy, jazzy and modern all at the same time.

The soft acrobatic vocals by Rod Argent and guitarist Russ Ballard (a la Colin Blunstone's Zombies template) pull off most of their ambitious
aspirations, only very occasionally congealing into stodge. Ballard's guitaring is melodic and concise being pre-long obliggy heavy solos (man) and his parts are inventive and cool.

This record seems to have captured a crystalline moment at the beginning of a career that would see them take up the slog of prog and see them have a couple of monster hits, "Hold Your Head Up" and also "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll To You" (covered by Kiss (!?) and "Liar" covered by Three Dog Night. The last track "Joy" always sounded to me like a lost song from "Porgy and Bess" and brings proceedings to a suitably jazzy nightclub torch song ending. If you are lucky enough to see this record in your local reputable store, snap it up and enjoy this many virtued little number.

Last Updated ( Friday, 25 November 2005 )
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