The Best Prog Bands You’ve Never Heard Of (Part Six): Lift

lift

I bring to you yet another fine American band that  would have been sadly forgotten if not for the saving graces of the Internet.  Hailing from New Orleans, Lift released one album in 1974, the curiously titled Caverns of Your Brain.  It is probably the best obscure prog album I’ve ever listened to.  All five band members are more than capable when it comes to handling the complex rhythms and lengthy compositions that distinguishes progressive rock from other musical genres.  Fans of Yes, ELP, Hawkwind, and even Premiata Forneria Marconi will enjoy this album.  Lead singer and flautist Courtenay Hilton-Green sounds similar to Jon Anderson (sans Lancashire accent) and Franz di Cioccio (of PFM fame).  Cody Kelleher’s bass guitar sounds similar to Greg Lake and, at times, Chris Squire (from his pre-Fragile days).  The standout on the album, however, is keyboardist Chip Gremillion.  His work on all four songs is comparable to that of Tony Kaye, and he does a superb job on each piece.  Guitarist J. Richard Huxen and drummer Chip Grevemberg are excellent on their respective instruments as well.  Now to the songs:

Simplicity – excellent opening song; similar in sound to Yes’s debut album; catchy bass and keyboard intro

Caverns – more tranquil and “spacy” song, similar in vein to Hawkwind and Gabriel-era Genesis; piano solo reminiscent of Tony Banks’s finest work; and a superb acid guitar solo (reminds me of Gilmour)

Buttercup Boogie – more frenetic than the others; exceptional keyboard work yet again; fine drum and bass anchor the piece

Trippin’ Over the Rainbow – another great keyboard and bass intro (bass sounds similar to Greg Lake’s best work); excellent synthesizer work gives song a space/acid rock feel; part of the bass line includes the Peter Gunn theme (famously played by ELP in concert)

These are four well executed songs.  For those of you who enjoy the symphonic side of prog, this is an album for you.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable beginning to the New Year.  Let’s hope it’s a good year for freedom!

Here is the full album: