Pye, 1969


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Have you ever listened to an album, finished it, and asked yourself, “What the hell was that all about?!?”

If so, you’ve just summed up this reviewer’s experience with Revelation, the 1969 debut effort from Wales-based rock group Man. Arguably more psychedelic than their later releases, this disc tries to take the listener on a trip that is, at alternating times, a creation story, a spacey trip, a sexual escapade and—when things actually work right—a rock concert.

Led by Roger “Deke” Leonard, Man’s first effort was definitely a product of its time. The opening clap of thunder on “And In The Beginning” sets a bit of a pompous tone to the disc, as it announces the coming of man (though whether the human race or the band is to be decided by the listener). And, for the first part of the album, we’re led on what can only be called a confusing trip.

The problem early on is that Man doesn’t know just what kind of a band they wanted to be. Did they want to be a psychedelic group akin to Iron Butterfly or period-piece Moody Blues (“Sudden Life,” “Empty Room”)? Did they want to stretch out their musical chops (“Puella! Puella!”)? Or did they actually want to work on their songwriting (“Love”) and see where that took them? The experimentation on the first half of the album is, eventually, what dooms the project as a whole.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It’s not that I’m against psychedelia. Pink Floyd was able to utilize it to their benefit in the early part of their career. Iron Butterfly made it their career in the ’60s, as did The Grateful Dead, and I listen to both bands regularly. But to do psychedelia for psychedelia’s sake is a daunting task, and Man just wasn’t up for the challenge on this album.

Revelation was most noted in its time for “Erotica,” a song that was banned due to the inclusion of suggestive orgasmic moans and groans from an unidentified female vocalist. Musically, it’s not a bad piece. But, as is too often true in real life, it doesn’t seem like she’s had time to finish what they started—which is as frustrating for the listener as one imagines it might have been for her.

There are glimmers of hope on Revelation, though. The second half of the album contains the strongest material, with solid efforts found on “Blind Man” (reminding me a bit of Wishbone Ash—who hadn’t even released their first album by that period in time) and “Don’t Just Stand There (Come In Out Of The Rain).” Had there been more songs in this vein on the album, it’s quite possible that Revelation would have been on more people’s playlists over the years. And while I think the song needed more development, I liked the Tchaikovsky hints on “And Castles Rise In Children’s Eyes.”

Unfortunately, there is a return to the confused weirdness as concepts introduced on the first half of Revelation are revisited on “The Missing Pieces” and “The Future Hides Its Face.” All in all, not a strong way to end an already weak effort.

Leonard and crew would eventually find a musical style they were comfortable with and would gain some notability in the musical world (if not superstardom). Revelation suggests they had a long way to go before they would hit that milestone, and is not recommended.

Rating: D

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2023 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Pye, and is used for informational purposes only.