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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Magical Beasts

Yes, My Love, I am Reaching

Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed another set from this Chicago based roots music outfit. I think that one was more effective than this one is. Each song here works reasonably well by itself. It's just that the set as a whole has a tendency toward slow and mellow music. That makes it lack both energy and vitality. That kind of thing is sustainable for one song, but even once you hit the second number in that zone, it tends to wear a bit thin. There are a few shining points here, though. I have to think that had the disc been laid out a bit differently it would have worked better. Perhaps that's a moot point, though because of modern listening habits. A lot of people really only listen to a single song from a given artist before moving to the next one. In that case, the previous observations become irrelevant.

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Track by Track Review
Come Find Me
The opener is very mellow and glacially slow. I wonder if it was the best choice for a first salvo. Still, it works reasonably well, and the overlayers on the number bring an almost proggy quality to it. It is a moody piece.
7 Nights
There is some bluegrass in the mix here. This is another that is incredibly slow moving and mellow. It seems to have a bit more drama and style than the opener did. It's definitely cut from very different cloth, while still being equally moody.
This comes in even slower and mellower, but it grows out into some of the most rocking music here. I'm reminded of Bob Dylan in a lot of ways. While this is still moody, there are some rather soaring moments at play. I think this cut would have better served the set in the opening position. It has a lot more variety and energy than the two pieces that preceded it. It's also more compelling. It gets downright powerful and has plenty of folk and bluegrass elements built into it.
In Praise
Another that starts very stripped back and mellow, the vocals come in over that backdrop. A very pure folk styled cut, this grows, but not a lot. It has some definite country elements built into it. The female vocals bring some interesting stuff to the table. This eventually builds out to one of the more energetic movements of the set. It returns to its far mellower roots to end, though.
Little Buds
This cut has a real down-home bluegrass sound to it. It's more energetic than a lot of the music on the set. This is also one of the most "different" pieces here. It's not far removed from stuff like Mumford and Sons, but it also has a real traditional element that's a bit purer than a lot of the revival acts plying that trade. This probably would have been a good closing track, I think. It's one of the highlights of the set.
Farthest Shore
The closer is a mellow tune, but not as mellow as some of the others. It does work well in the final position. It has a real dreamy kind of vibe to it, feeling a bit like some mellow, dreamy alternative rock. It's another standout piece.
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