An interesting, offbeat folk-rock group of the late '60s, Eclection ultimately were not quite strong, distinctive, or dogged enough to make much of an impact during their brief lifespan. One of the few British acts on the Elektra roster during that era, their sole album (Eclection, 1968) sounded unusually Californian for a British group of the period. While at their core they were melodic, slightly bittersweet folk-rock, the production -- by Ossie Byrne (who also worked with the early Bee Gees) -- was overlaid with frequent soaring light orchestration reminiscent of that heard on numerous late '60s Californian sunshine pop discs. Their multi-part harmonies, too, were very much in the Californian pop-folk mold, particularly due to the combination of male and female voices, which could variously recall the Mamas & the Papas, the Jefferson Airplane, the Seekers, and the We Five. Original female singer Kerrilee Male, in particular, sounded much like the slightly strident yet moving woman singers heard in the Seekers, We Five, and early Airplane. Eclection's material was not as strong as that of the Mamas & the Papas or the Jefferson Airplane, but there were enough interesting forces at work to make one regret that they only managed to release one album before breaking up in late 1969.
Although based in England, Eclection were actually formed by one Englishman, one Canadian, one Norwegian, and two Australians. Creatively, the group were dominated by guitarist/singer Georg Hultgreen (who wrote most of their songs) and guitarist/singer Michael Rosen (who wrote the remainder of the songs and usually took the male vocal leads). Eclection, like several Elektra albums of the period, matched some pretty folk-rock melodicism with slightly arty orchestrated production and a psychedelic tinge. The lyrics and harmonies often evoked blissful, drifting romps through the clouds, with a youthful naivete and exuberance. At times the orchestration enhanced the material, and at others it seemed a little at odds with the songs. The arrangements were certainly interesting and at times striking in their nearly classical density; the compositions, however, were sometimes average and forgettable, and not yet up to the level of those of peers such as the Byrds, early Fairport Convention, and Tim Buckley, to name three acts whose influences faintly echo in Eclection's work.
Kerrilee Male, one of the group's strongest assets, left the band in late 1968, a few months after the release of Eclection. The group replaced her with American folk singer Dorris Henderson (who had released a couple of albums with John Renbourn) and did put out a subsequent single, a cover of Kaleidoscope's "Please." But the group disbanded in October 1969, after keyboardist Poli Palmer -- who had just come in to replace Michael Rosen -- left to join Family. Henderson did briefly try to revive Eclection in the early '70s.
The most famous member of Eclection by far was bassist/singer Trevor Lucas, who had previously released a traditional folk album, and who would go on to help form Fotheringay with his future wife, the great British folk-rock singer Sandy Denny. Eclection drummer Gerry Conway was also in Fotheringay, which broke up after just one album; Lucas would later play alongside Denny in a subsequent lineup of Fairport Convention. Lucas' role in Eclection, however, was fairly secondary; he wrote none of the material, and took lead vocals on just one song on the Eclection album. ~ Richie Unterberger