Exposé Online banner

Socrates — Phos
(Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 2287, 1976/2011, CD)

by Mike Ohman, Published 1995-11-01

Phos Cover art

This is the third (apparently) and best-known release by this obscure (outside Greece, anyway) Greek band. This album was made famous by guest-keyboardist Vangelis. And while it's true that this fact probably is the reason most anyone would want to buy this album, it actually has much to recommend it by itself. As two members play guitar, you might guess correctly that Socrates is a guitar-based band. But Socrates are an intelligent enough band to know the importance of texture. In their use of layers of acoustic and electric guitars with one electric guitar playing lead, they may remind of certain Scandinavian bands (Aunt Mary, Errs Pink). But Socrates' use often has an undercurrent of flamenco or Middle Eastern music, which gives it a distinctive flavor. What is more, the lead guitar is often entirely free of distortion and with little reverb, giving it a very "clean" sound. Only on the seven-minute "Mountains" do they indulge in extended guitar-soloing. While the solo (cadenza really) takes up the bulk of the piece, it certainly sounds like few guitar solos I have ever heard. It reminds me of the instrumental passage of King Crimson's "Moonchild" arranged for guitar, or perhaps John McLaughlin in a mellow mood. All tracks but one have vocals, which are rather evocative of a number of Italian bands and aren't terribly distracting. The best song is also the most out-of-character, the dreamy, synth-heavy instrumental "Every Dream Comes to an End," not surprisingly the only track co-penned by Vangelis. If you're a Vangelis completist, you will buy this album, that much I know. It's also useful for filling in the "Greece" slot for those of you going on your prog rock 'round the world tour. But while it's not a classic, it does have worth, and is quite rewarding.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 8, 2011 releases, 1976 recordings

Related artist(s): Socrates Drank the Conium, Vangelis (Evangelos Papathanassiou)

Latest news

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

2021-02-10
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cyrille Verdeaux - Messenger of the Son – Verdeaux' name should be familiar to many, he was the main mover in the intensely symphonic seventies French band Clearlight, whose first two albums Symphony and Forever Blowing Bubbles are essential...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues