Top critical review
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Sometimes pretentious, often twee but occasionally inspired
on 23 May 2014
Far out, man! The first four ISB albums in one budget package- great value at least. The disappointing first album's fairly humdrum folk without much of the groovy eastern, jazz and even bluesy vibe. The next three are hit and miss and at times channel Donovan but more often feature Williamson's warbling vocal, usually accompanied by twanging sitar. Think George's Maharishi-influenced Beatle's tracks and then some. There are decent tracks from the 5000 Spirits album up to the end of The Big Huge. I liked The Eyes of Fate, the lovely First Girl I Loved, The Circle is Unbroken and Waltz of the New Moon among others, but some tracks drift too far from the 'folk-rock' template to be enjoyable listens. Having heard The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter years back and found it interesting but challenging I prefer the more restrained if lyrically far out Wee Tam/The Big Huge. Perhaps I'm too keen on the more conventional folkies Joe Boyd produced - Nick Drake especially - to appreciate the more spaced-out hippie musings of ISB? ISB are very much a matter of taste and very much of their era.