There is a wind-up alien on the cover.
The title is Attack Of The Martians.
No record label; it was self-produced in 2004.
Eccentric Orbit is the name of the band.
They come from planet Synth.
This intriguing CD was part of a recent haul, a whim-purchase based on half the quartet playing electric keyboards… and the titles of the pieces.
There was no way on Earth that I was going to pass over an album containing a fourteen minute suite inspired by Forbidden Planet, one of my favourite films (and soundtracks) in the entire multi-verse.
And Attack Of The Martians delivers, brilliantly. This is analogue synth-based progressive music dripping 70s sensibilities and textures. Over a solid rhythmic foundation provided by bassist and composer Bill Noland and drummer Mark Cella, synthonauts Madeleine Noland (probably related) and Derek Roebuck weave interesting melodies into shapes that would make Rick Wakeman smile.
It made me smile too, a delicious blend of synthesisers, organ, clavinet, wind-synth, Fender Rhodes and more. It is truly infectious, good-humoured and well-played, with shifting rhythms, carefully chosen keyboard timbres and a forward momentum that rarely slacks off.
One important part of the Eccentric Orbit sound is the influence of film music. The three-part suite “Attack of the Martians” has sections that sound totally in thrall to early sixties sci-fi (and that’s a compliment!) dancing with parts that can only be described as synth-jazz-rock. It is such great fun, I’ve hardly stopped spinning it.
The alien on the cover of Attack Of The Martians may be hiding a ray gun behind its back, but this weapon is loaded with happy juice.
The band themselves are a terrestrial quartet hailing from Massachusetts (where the lights all went out, once upon a time). Their web page reveals significant line-up changes since this 2004 debut, and a second album. And the good news is that a re-issue of Attack Of The Martians occurred in 2014, with a bonus track to boot! Both albums are available at their bandcamp page.
The sad news is that Eccentric Orbit is no longer a celestial body. Bill Noland reports that although they sold a viable number of the debut, by the time of the second CD, that format was rapidly declining in popularity. The harsh economics of the music biz meant that the band packed it in.
But to cheer you up, here is a delightful video (from the band’s second album) capturing both the sound and the humour of Eccentric Orbit. Prog Humanoids will delight in a galaxy of in-jokes.