12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Superbly atmospheric, psychedelic and folksy and proggy,
This review is from: Espers II (Audio CD)
This album has garnered a lot of attention and much admiration for its blend of weird retro psychedelic folk, taking in the likes of Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Pentangle, acoustic Led Zeppelin and Paul Giovanni's off-centre folk soundtrack to "The Wicker Man". But to these prog ears there is so much more I hear in this wonderfully eclectic and inspired music. I am reminded strongly of the more melodic and introspective songs of early King Crimson, like "I Talk To The Wind", "Cadence and Cascade" and "Lady of the Dancing Water". Lots of nice flute too. Judy Dyble from early Fairports was part of a very early version of Crimson. But there are a lot of modern prog comparisons too. Bands like Anglagard and particularly Anekdoten come very much to mind. These bands blend folk elements well into their dark music. So do Norways White Willow, especially their first album "Ignis Fatuus", where the band utilised a multitude of acoustic instrumentation. Even Opeths "Damnation" comes into the equation. The band have never referenced prog influences but it is very much in evidence. Maybe they are exploring the roots of a certain type of late 60's music which eventually branched out into prog.
I do like this album very much. The band utilise layers of instruments to define a certain archaic atmosphere to the songs. Each song slowly divulges its riches as guitars, cellos, keyboards, percussion come in and out of the mix. The arrangements are perfect. These guys know how to wring out the most from their material. What synth sound would fit here, what fuzzy guitar solo would work there! I don't know much about the band, but these are not some rambling indie noiseniks. The musicianship and songwriting is very high and it's obvious they know what they are doing and do it very well.
This album was a bit of surprise and not what I expected to hear from the write ups I had read. But it was a very enjoyable surprise indeed.