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Bridget Wishart & the Band of Doctors

Ghost

Review by Gary Hill

I had no idea what to expect here. Well, I had ideas that it would be a space rock set, and some of it is, but I really didn't grasp just how much territory this album would cover. I also had no idea how strong it would be. I've recently begun thinking about my "best of 2020" list, and I will be shocked if this doesn't make it It's one of the most unique and compelling releases I've heard in a while. It's also important to point out that this album supports a great cause Refugee Action. The team responsible for this set have really produced a masterpiece.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Sorrow
Atmospherics with a bit of a tribal element open this piece.  Wishart's vocals come over the top gently. The cut grows outward to more space rocking zones, but with some real psychedelic prog experimentation on board. This is so effective.
One of the Faithful
This is a huge change. The cut has a down-home feeling to it with some bluesy, jazzy grooves. It's a fun in a retro way. I love the guitar work on this cut. It is so classic. A clarinet solo later reinforces that jazz element.
Ghost
Trippy keyboards bring this into being, and the song grows outward from there. The number builds to a peak, and then shifts to more rocking space sounds to continue. The vocals are sort of whispered over the top in fine fashion. There is a lot of drama and classy textures built into this. It works toward more soaring zones later as the vocals rises up and some killer guitar solos in the mix.
Rift
Some rather crazed sounding piano is heard at the beginning of this. The cut works out from there into a rather crazed and freaky number that is amazingly strong. There is a somewhat tastefully twisted texture to this. It has a lot of jazz in the mix. This piece is dramatic, artistic and so cool.
End Their Cries
Some of the guitar sounds bring a real psychedelic rocking texture not far removed from Jimi Hendrix. The vocals are sometimes sung, sometimes spoken and always cool. There is space rock, jazz and real experimental prog all built into this thing. The guitar really climbs emotional heights as it soars further down the musical road. This is just a powerhouse. It is a highlight on a disc full of highlights.
Companion of the Swan
Classy space jazz is on the menu here. Wishart's vocals seem to channel old-time jazz singers while also bring a modern artsy style. It really fits the music which does much the same.
Manic Primatic
The opening riff on this makes me think of Bruford Levin Upper Extremities. This cut fires out with a smoking hot almost King Crimson-like jam from there. This instrumental is a powerhouse of modern prog.
Woven in Time
The sedate classical music based stylings that open this stand in stark contrast to the hard rocking textures of the last number. There are chorale vocals built into this song, along with some that are more folk rock like. This gets more rocking beyond the opening, but the classical and folk stylings remain. This makes me think of some of the mellower earlier King Crimson in some ways. It's definitely a folk piece of magic. Wishart provides backing vocals on this number as the leads come from Tom FitzStephens, Julie Wadiman and Karen Adair.        
If You Call
This starts in a mellower vein with pure prog rock merging with other elements. There is a dramatic angle to it. The track builds upward as it continues. This also calls to mind King Crimson in some ways, but more the modern era of that band.
 
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