(All Album Reviews by Hippy Pants)
Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, Spirit's fourth effort, finds the band at their creative best. Having three previous albums under their belts, they'd honed their songwriting and craft this time to a sharp brilliance. Using advanced production values, and all the studio techniques of the day; they produced this gem of a record.
"Prelude-Nothing To Hide" opens the disc with Randy California on acoustic guitar, which quickly goes into a rock number, and near the end California lets go with some killer-diller electric slide. "Nature's Way" is a beautiful ballad, and one of the few songs that made its way onto the radio at the time, along with the songs "1984" and "I Got A Line On You" off their second album. I always thought "Nature's Way" was a poignant song about death, but I later read, it's open for interpretation. Although California later admitted, it's about environmentalism, having wrote it watching the smog roll in off the ocean in San Francisco.
Every song on this album sort of blends into the next one, so it's sort of a concept album like the Beatle's Sgt. Peppers. And every song on Sardonicus is a winner, so I won't comment on each one individually. But among some of my favorites are: "Love Has Found A Way" (great lyrics, and studio wizardry on this one), and the spacey, jazzy instrumental, "Space Child". "Mr. Skin" has a nice lead guitar hook near the end of the song, and Spirit also used a lot of horn arrangements to help punch up production values on this record.
This is a classic 60's album, and advanced for its time. I maintain, it's as fresh sounding today as the day it was released, but I'm biased. If you are unfamiliar with Spirit's sound, I'd say start your listening here first, and then discover their previous disc.