After their spaced-out debut, Pulsar released their second album Strands Of The Future that sounded drastically different, presenting a very Genesis-based symphonic prog that would actually pave the way (and in a way pre-face) for future neo-prog groups of the 80’s and give Ange a run for its money in terms of national sales. With their third album Halloween (recorded in Switzerland), Pulsar reached their artistic peak, even earning a release on an international CBS label.
The album is made from two multi-movement suites sung in English (reminiscent of future Fish ambiances in Marillion), but I must say that the “romantic” (both in the literal and visual sense) artwork always looked suspicious and actually still repel me a bit even nowadays and the storyline seems rather thin and derived from more famous children storytelling. Sound-wise Pulsar still retains the Floyd soundscapes that was their trademark, but the Genesis influence was more notable than on their previous two albums. Although there are lots of delightful moments, Pulsar’s sense of writing long epics still leaves some (lots at times) space for improvements: ideas succeed to ideas but are not leading into one another. Those two epics seem a bit too much like a collage of the different shorter tracks (9 in all, ranging from 1 min 30 to 9 min+) without a succession of chords that the greater groups would’ve managed.
And while Pulsar had everything to gain with the promotion of this album, their CBS label (where they had a three-record deal) suddenly decided for obscure reasons not to promote it, cutting Pulsar’s wings, as they were about to soar towards unsuspected heights. But this was 77, the French public being one of the first markets for the advent of punk music with the Mont-De-Marsan in 76 being the first international punk festival. This maybe explaining that, but as much as Pulsar is hailed as a superb prog group, I never thought of them as likely to break the big leagues simply because although musically good, they were never great virtuosi and songwriters. I will round up the rating to the upper unit, but this is more academic than really heartfelt.
- Victor Bosch / drums, percussion, vibes
- Gilbert Gandil / guitars, vocals
- Michel Masson / bass guitar
- Roland Richard / flute, clarinet, acoustic piano, strings
- Jacques Roman / keyboards, Mellotron, synthesizers,
- Xavier Dubuc / congas
- Sylvia Ekström / child voice (1a)
- Jean-Louis Rebut / voice (2e)
- Jean Ristori / cello
1. Halloween part I: (20:30)
a) Halloween song (1:20)
b) Tired answers (9:30)
c) Colours of childhood (6:00)
d) Sorrow in my dreams (3:40)
2. Halloween part II: (18:40)
a) Lone fantasy (4:50)
b) Dawn over darkness (6:10)
c) Misty garden of passion (2:15)
d) Fear of frost (3:35)
e) Time (1:50)
Rip from CD 256@ (artwork included)