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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Galahad Acoustic Quintet

Not All There

Review by Gary Hill

A spin-off of Galahad, Galahad Acoustic Quintet seems to be a group that have a few sides to their nature. Portions of the album feel like a modern take on minstrel music. The group also leans on such acts as Genesis and Hawkwind at points. The prevailing texture of the album, though, is that of former Marillion vocalist Fish. For that reason, fans of Fish in particular should enjoy the disc. It should be noted, though, that they do not capture emotion in the way that vocalist does. They do, however, gain some points for creating a thoughtful blend of modern prog, olde world sounds and neo-classical textures.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sir Galahad (Scene One)
An olde world, dramatic, slightly over the top mode is the general order of business on this one. Picture an old minstrel song recorded fairly faithfully by a modern prog band. The lyrics are Tennyson and are an epic tale. It becomes quite a fun jam before ending.
Mother Mercy
This starts feeling a lot like a Fish ballad. As it carries on, the texture changes, but it is still easy to imagine this as a song by the ex-Marillion vocalist in his solo career. The cut gets a little overlong, but is a good one.
Club 18-30
An intro that feels a bit like a slightly Celtic take on old Genesis begins this one. As it carries on it becomes a fun loving little jam for a time, then gets more serious. This piece is quite dynamic, covering sounds from all over the world and musical landscape. It takes on quite a flamenco texture at points. It really does have a lot of variance, especially when you consider that it is a brief instrumental.
Dreaming From the Inside
Starting in sedate building tones, this one also feels very much like Fish. It is a very strong piece that becomes quite powerful at times. However, it does occasionally get a bit redundant.
Melt
With a vaguely jazzy texture, this cut is a balladic one that is quite layered in its arrangement. The Fish leanings, not entirely missing, are a lot less prevalent. This gets considerably powerful at times.
White Lily
A pretty piano melody begins this one. The cut builds on the themes presented in that intro and is a fairly sedate, but pleasing keyboard solo.
Through the Looking Glass
The echoes of Fish are back immediately here. This potent cut is firmly rooted in a style reminiscent of him. In fact, this one is probably the most glaringly Fish inspired piece on the album. It is a solid cut, but not all that special. It does include some nice instrumental surprises, though.
Looking Up at the Apple Trees
This one is a prog number that really doesn't show any of the Fish leanings that pervade the album. Indeed, this ballad comes across more as a blend of early Genesis and Happy The Man, with a touch of early King Crimson thrown into the mix. It is an effective and quite organic composition.
Shrine
An acapella number, this one feels a bit Simon and Garfunkel-ish.
Legless In Gaza
The liner notes say that this one is improvised. It is believable, not due to lack of quality, but because of the "jamming" nature of the tune. It is a rather funky, techno type of track with strong eastern influences. It even feels a bit Hawkwindish at times. The vocals are all non-lyrical ones. This is a standout number.
Iceberg
A thoughtful acoustic ballad, this one feels like an olde world Celtic cut with Fish-oriented leanings. It seems somewhat pretentious from time to time, though.
When There's All of Nothing
Fish is back in the house, but this time only for the balladic intro and traces throughout the piece. It is competent, but a bit too generic to really stand out.
Sir Galahad (Scene Two)
The album ends with Tennyson, just as it began. This cut feels a bit more modern in instrumentation, but just as olde world in arrangement. It drops into a very modern Marillion/Fish texture late. That mode ends both the track and the album.
 
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