Shadoks Records is doing a thorough job of reissuing late 1960s/early 1970s era prog and psych, obsessively digging up bands from around the world and presenting them in vinyl and disc format. American acts like the Flow, Scandinavian bands like Odmenn and Svanfridur, and private-press psych bands like Japan's Uganda have all received their rescue from obscurity thanks to the recent efforts of Shadoks. The Third Eye were from South Africa, but their sound fits right in with what was going on in both Europe and North America in prog rock. Unfortunately for them, they did not get the chance for wider exposure during the group's lifetime, as they were banned in the USA and the UK due to the embargo on South African entertainment at the time.
Recorded in 1970, the Third Eye's "Brother" is emblematic of its genre--Dawn Selby's organ gets its spot high in the mix, Robbie Pavid's drums crash all over the place, and relatively complicated riffs abound. Guitarist Ronnie Selby plays in a restrained fashion, often locking in with the rhythm section instead of falling into cheesy pyrotechnics. The title track is a great example of the band's strengths, as the Third Eye could swing together as a unit, and they rock convincingly until singer Maurice Saul opens his mouth. Singers from this era do not always translate well to ours, and Saul's vocals on this release are a dealbreaker for me. Relentlessly theatrical and overwrought, part croon and part circus ringmaster, Saul's caterwaul sinks what would otherwise be a decent (though somewhat dated) album. Not helping things out too much either is a cover of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown's "Fire".
The Third Eye is a band for the already converted; those who do not like this style of music are unlikely to be won over by their sound. Shadoks Records deserves high marks, though, for their devotion to the cause of obscure prog and psych rock. 5/10 -- Mike Griffin (31 March, 2010)