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4.8 out of 5 stars
Kill The Wolf
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Matt Berry's music is a recent discovery for me. I only bought his third album, "Witchazel", a few weeks before this album was released because I read some very enthusiastic reviews for it and ended up very much enjoying its creative folk eccentricity. This led me to immediately pre-order "Kill The Wolf" and, now I've heard it half a dozen times, I love it even more than "Witchazel". I'm not sure if Matt's comedy/acting background does him many favours in the music business in that people may not initially take him seriously in this field, but knowing his persona does mean that you're not expecting something too straight-laced when you do take the plunge. However, what the uninitiated probably wouldn't expect is an album of such fantastic quality that cements his credentials as a terrific musician within the first couple of tracks alone. There are a lovely range of styles on offer here, with a folk theme underpinning the whole project. This is a gorgeous-sounding album with a huge amount of attention given to the instrumentation and production to make this as full and magical sounding as possible. It is more than apparent that English folk and rock acts of the sixties and seventies have influenced Matt strongly in his music, but this album is no throwback to a bygone era or exercise in nostalgia - it's way too good and original to be slotted into that pigeonhole.

The opening song, "Gather" is a very folky piece, a near-chant about gathering herbs, nuts and other wild flora. You could be forgiven for wondering what on earth you've bought at this point, but it's almost a red herring as the majority of the album is a mixture of genres, with "Devil Inside Me" immediately providing a rock/indie flavour. Other notable tracks include "Fallen Angel", which is simply gorgeous, a shimmering slice of folk sounding very much like "Space Oddity" era Bowie and "Medicine" is a fantastic, catchy-as-hell, choral indie song, which could be described as Divine Comedy meets Polyphonic Spree with a Coral-like guitar solo in the middle. "Solstice", probably my favourite track on "Kill The Wolf", is an incredible piece of work; over nine minutes of fabulous prog-folk-rock, boasting seventies synthesiser sounds and a truly lovely, expansive guitar solo which Mike Oldfield himself would probably doff his cap at. "October Sun" is also rather splendid, an autumnal romp which delivers a whole dazzling spectrum of aural colours to your ears and "The Signs" is a straightforward, but excellent, vintage rock track, with a late sixties Zombies flavour to it, featuring some great electric piano, hand-claps and even a tasty blast of saxophone. The last of my personal favourites is "Knock Knock", a genius portion of classic pop which has all the characteristics of a massive hit from around forty years ago.

It's rare to find an album that sounds quite as beautiful as this one; a smorgasbord of acoustic guitars, mandolins, violins, animal noises, caressing choral sections, glockenspiels, richly descriptive lyrics and a sumptuous, creative mix of genres all the way through. If you don't have any of the multi-talented Matt Berry's albums yet, I would strongly recommend "Kill The Wolf" as a starting point and, if you enjoy this one, work your way backwards (although good luck getting hold of a copy of his rare second album, "Opium" and even rarer 1995 début "Jackpot"). This is definitely a slightly easier album to listen to than its predecessors and is, in my opinion, the most accomplished, consistent and complete piece of work of Berry's so far. Apart from, hopefully, completing his transformation from cult, fringe artist to a respected, critically-acclaimed musician, "Kill The Wolf" is also one of the finest albums I've heard all year, so it goes without saying that I recommend it highly.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2013
I found Matt Berry's music through the usual channels of the Mighty Boosh to Snuff Box and the IT crowd to here! However his music is so much more. From being a curious interest to an obsession, Mattt berry's folkish rock is quite simply lovely! This album adds to Opium and WitchHazel without deviating too far from what you might expect. I would reccomend this album to everyone in the world, but they might not listen to it, so instead I reccomend it to you, because you will.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I've lived with this album for a couple of weeks, and I really do think it's Matt Berrys' best yet. Whereas Opium seemed like a demo album (although excellent and well polished), and Witchazel held together well as an album, Kill The Wolf brings it all together. It has a kind of Wicker Man / Blood On Satans Claw 1970's Englishness to it, and seems to take itself more seriously than its predecessors.

Highlights for me are Fallen Angel, Medicine, October Sun and Untitled, but really I love the whole thing.

I also think the back cover is hilarious, now that's tongue in cheek!

Nicely done Sir.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I listen to, and enjoy, a wide range of music, from heavy rock to jazz, blues, classical, indie etc. But in recent years the music that has excited me the most is British folk, especially the more experimental material such as that released by LAU. A couple of years ago this folky leaning led to Amazon recommending Matt Berry’s Witchazel album, which I subsequently bought and thoroughly enjoyed. I didn’t really recognise Berry’s name as a cast member of TV’s Boosh, but as soon as it was pointed out to me a few things clicked with me about the album, notably the subtle sense of subversive humour that ran through it. This helped me to enjoy it all the more, though I did tend to look at it as a bit of a novelty album (perhaps a little unfairly).

Fast forward a couple of years and the release of Berry’s 2013 opus (perhaps even magnum opus) ‘Kill the Wolf’. Much as I loved Witchazel, I have to say that for me this album totally blows it away.

This has the feel of a serious record from a man who loves music. It has a strong folk vein running through it, and from the opening chant of ‘Gather up’, a song that would not be out of place at a mayday celebration, you think you know what you are going to get. But this is subtly subverted by a hint of rocky electric guitar in the background, and launches the album off into lots of unexpected directions as Berry stays true to the folk road he has started down but mixes it up with a variety of arrangements, styles and instruments to produce something that has a sense of humour, both musically and lyrically, but never OTT enough to get it classed as a novelty record. The music is also serious, reflective and thoughtful. It’s a truly sublime record, one that shows Berry to be more than a comic actor, but a serious musician with a great ear and an eye for a great lyric. His voice is pretty good as well! If he continues to produce music of this quality then a great career should lie ahead for him. 5 stars for a really stand out record.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I love this CD and couldn't stop playing it for weeks. Both folky and progressive, slightly reminiscent of Stackridge at their best and not a million miles away from Fleet Foxes. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed. PS this is a serious album, not a comedy record in any shape or form.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2014
If Spinal Tap and Mike Oldfield were to collaborate on a Wicker Man musical, you might get something like this. But this is much more than that. Imagine walking through an English field and as you go, the seasons change around you and then reverse. yeah.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2013
I haven't heard 'OPIUM' so I can't compare it but I feel this album is a real step up from 'WITCHAZEL'. Don't get me wrong, I love and cherish 'WITCHAZEL' but 'KILL THE WOLF' is a much more focussed and dare I say, mature album. There's still the whimsical humour and nods to Prog and Psychedelia, just not as much, making it sound more serious as a whole and flowing in a more structured way. Whereas 'WITCHAZEL' made me grin on first listen, 'KILL THE WOLF' made me think...and then grin...a lot!
Anyway, buy it because you won'y be disappointed, promise.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2013
This album takes me back to listening to Dark Side of the Moon on my dad's headphones and being bewitched by Kate Bush. Matt Berry's music sounds like it's from another bygone age and is brilliant for it. At times it is soft and ethereal, sometimes unsettling, and sometimes uplifting. Check out his performances on You Tube and you'll see his wry sense of humour too, with cover versions of Live and let Die and the theme from Are You Being Served.

Kill the Wolf has a rustic feel to it with the wonderful guitar playing and Matt's rich voice complemented by choral harmonies, flutes and mandolins. Highlights are the spooky 'Gather up' (the dill, and the thyme and the walnuts!), the catchy 'Medicine', the uplifting 'October Sun', the melancholy 'Farewell Summer Sun', and the centre piece, 'Solstice', a truly epic nine minute homage to Mike Oldfield complete with moody vocals and an awesome prog guitar solo as it reaches its crescendo.

I first heard Matt Berry's music when he was interviewed by Radcliffe and Maconie on 6 Music and apparently he played all the instruments himself on this album, which makes it even more impressive. If there's any justice this will be on the Mercury Music Prize shortlist. But don't wait for that - just buy this brilliant album and judge for yourself.
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on 17 February 2014
I have come to Matt Berry through "The IT Crowd", "Snuffbox" and his vocals on 'The Duckworth Lewis Method" albums. I developed a weird obsession with songs from Snuffbox and was impressed / alarmed / thrilled that he had written them himself. I listened to one or two tracks from this album when I stumbled on them on an online music streaming service that is spotted in nature, and fell in love on the spot. When the album promptly arrived (despite now living in New Zealand) I was very taken with it. Berry has written and recorded a wonderful collection of folk / prog-folk songs, that are both serious enough to be a 'proper' folk album whilst also, one suspects, having his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. (Any one who has seen his work on Snuffbox will understand this!) It may also interest any Berry fans that several themes from the album are also used in "Toast Of London", which I also bought at the same time as this CD, as a birthday present for my wife. All told, not an absolute classic, but it will be burning a hole in my CD player and on my computer literally and / or figuratively for a long time to come. I look forward to Berry's next musical outing.
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on 11 February 2015
We listen to Radio 6 Music at work (what would we do without it?!) and they played a track that stopped us all in our tracks. It ebbed and flowed wonderfully for about 10 minutes with a sublime guitar solo in the middle and very interesting synthesiser work throughout; the whole thing was very reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Echoes - high praise indeed. At the end the DJ said it was 'Solstice' by Matt Berry. Suffice to say, I ordered this album with it on asap and I wasn't disappointed. The whole album gently grows on you with each hearing and Matt (who seems to play most every instrument on every track a la Mike Oldfield) is very talented. Solstice is the stand out track but the whole album is thoroughly recommended!
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