John Miles - "Rebel" (Decca 1976)

British singer/guitarist/keyboardist John Miles got a flying start on his career in 1976, as the grandiose and complex "Music" and the Styx-like "High Fly" both became major hits. But his popularity would fade away almost in the same moment as it had started, and it was several different reasons for that. First of all, the punk-explosion was just around the corner, but Miles also never really knew what kind of artist he wanted to be. His albums featured everything from symphonic rock to sappy ballads, campy pop, hard rock and AOR. Still, his talents as a musician and songwriter can't be denied, and his debut-album "Rebel" should be a worthwhile effort for most fans of the '70s. It featured his best-known song with "Music" that was a good slice of melodic, orchestrated and complex symphonic '70s rock. The two other slightly progressive pieces on the album were the harder rocking "You Have It All" and "Pull the Damn Thing Down". Funnily enough, his voice sounds a lot like Ian Anderson on some parts of the latter one, and that's completely atypical from how he usually sounded. The title-track sounds like a straightforward rocker at first listen, but it also features some nice string-breaks with a very baroque feel. "Lady of My Life" is pure pop, while "When You Lose Someone So Young" is one of the best-known examples of Miles in ballad-mood. "Rebel" is just like Miles' other records not the most stylistically focused album you'll hear, but it has enough qualities to make it one of his releases that are worth a listen.

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