A beautifully played and produced album from the early 1970s, "Pathfinder" is the creation of a band of exceptional ability. Their style is difficult to pin down as they frequently shift the emphasis. Sometimes you hear something akin to Deep Purple at their most fluid, at other times Caravan or Camel. The opening track, "Hobo", is more of a commercial mainstream rock number yet possesses as much substance as anything else on display here.
I was apprehensive about the presence of a cover of "Macarthur Park", one of those songs I admire more than I like. Beggar's Opera's version sparkles however and seems to be keyboardist Alan Park's main showcase. His expressive playing is an asset throughout though all members of the band make impressive contributions.
The title track is a major highlight, the type of fiery, uptempo rock they seem to do best. "From Shark To Haggis" however rather highlights their dilemma. The first part has a sinister but monotonous feel. It's the sort of music that would probably be more effective in the hands of a band with less finesse. The second part consists more of a series of rock jigs which they do better. The most disappointing part of the album is however its climax. The last track starts well enough but descends into the furious and aimless playing that so many bands deliver live when trying for the big finish.
"Pathfinder" is for the most part a flamboyant and exciting slice of rock music that remains fresh. It's just a short walk away from being a classic.