The Best of a Bygone Era
Bill Jacobs | Macomb, IL | 12/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Spirit's albums prior to Dr. Sardonicus were on the rock cutting edge: progressive and creative yet with some very jazzy instrumentation that lent a more mature feel to their songs. Their talents and song writing had such breadth that their previous albums were somewhat disjointed. Everything came together with Dr. Sardonicus. It was the best of an era that embraced good musicianship, electronic wizardry, and no fear for pushing the envelope.Dr. Sardonicus is a lush musical feast for the ear and the head. This album would probably be better known today if the original band had continued after its release. Alas, they did not. This is an album that is probably rightfully considered a "cult classic." You should consider giving it a listen and helping to elevate it into the mainstream status that it deserves. On the other hand, maybe you shouldn't. Maybe you're not ready for it."
Spirit's Best Overall Album.
Terry Olynik | Canada | 05/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Twelve Dreams of Dr.Sardonicus represents the zenith of the "original" group Spirit and unfortunately the last album by the Randy California, Jay Ferguson, Mark Andes, John Locke and Ed Cassidy quintet. While other albums would follow with a dizzying combination of players leaving and returning, the failure of this album to be recognized commercially and to some extent critically (initially), led to a disappointment that ultimately dissolved a partnership that had produced four solid albums.
Abandoning producer Lou Adler's mellower, low key style for a punchier horn and guitar driven sound, while still maintaining a vocal-forward, unique rock - jazz eclectic sound that today belies it's early seventies roots, Sardonicus is today recognized as a classic.
Randy California's guitar, at times ethereal (Why Can't I Be Free?, Love Has Found A Way), or flat- out searing (Nothing To Hide, Morning Will Come), is rightly brought to the forefront. While classic Spirit touches are evident throughout the album - overdubbed leads, psychadelic flourishes, sweet, harmonic choruses and as always an eye to the enviromental folly of modern man (Nature's Way, Animal Zoo) this album is distinguished from their previous efforts in several ways.
No strangers to elaborate musical arrangements, particularly string accompaniments to accent and provide dramatic contrast ( see the Clear album ), the band uses flat-out barrel-house horn arrangements to punctuate the two songs worth the price of the album---Mr.Skin and Morning Will Come. From a band whose stock and trade is at times subtle harmonics and jazz inflections, these two house-rocking numbers are rock classics, guaranteed to get 'em up on their feet.
The album is also intended to be taken, listened to, as a whole. Each song literally bleeds into the next, with the overall impression of a quixotic, yet ultimately dour vision of what's to come - a vision which after some thirty-odd years has sadly been born out.
This work, while not getting it's just due at the time of it's release, has over the ensuing years garnered the critical acclaim that eventually comes to most unique, solidly crafted works which for a host of reasons were overlooked upon their initial release. The bonus tracks included with this reissue are just that - a bonus to an essential in any music enthusiast's library - a starting off point to explore all things "Spirit"ual."
Jose E. Velez | PONCE, PUERTO RICO | 09/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"IN THIS ALBUM SPIRIT SHOW A MATURE PROGRESIVE STYLE. A GREAT EVOLUTION OF THEIR SOUND AND THE COMPOSITIONS ARE REAL GOOD. THE EFFECTS IN THIS RECORDING COMPLEMENT THE SPIRIT BRAND. A GOOD BUY FOR ANY FOLLLOWER OF THIS GREAT GROUP... ONE OF THE BEST OF ALL TIMES. CHECK IT OUT!!!."