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(44:12, Magna Carta Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Johnny Cope 4:07 2. Thirty Little Birds 4:18 3. Battle Of Aughrim 2:51 4. Trolldans 4:03 5. Norwegian Wood 3:56 6. Lahard Chase 3:52 7. A Toast 4:36 8. High Germany 4:52 9. Madeline Jones 4:28 10. Swarb 7:09 LINEUP: Lief Sorbye – vocals, guitars, mandolins, mandola, flute, pennywhistle, bodhran Adolfo Lazo – drums Kathryn Buys – fiddle, vocals Josh Fossgreen – bass, vocals Ab Menon – guitars Eith: Robert Berry - keyboards
Prolusion. US band TEMPEST have been a feature in the US music scene and the world folk music circuit for 30 years this year and are still going strong. 13 studio albums have been crafted by the band so far, in addition to countless live performances. As a solid nod to their long career their latest album is called "Thirty Little Turns", and was released by US label Magna Carta Records at the start of 2018.
Analysis. Those not familiar with this band yet should know that Tempest is one of the top folk rock bands active today. A band often taken into and described within the context of progressive rock, but who's primary audience arguably can be found in the folk environment. A detail of note for progressive rock fans is that this album is the addition of Robert Berry on keyboards on some of the songs. The ten songs hat hand here doesn't come with any big surprises. After a 30 year run Tempest is a band aware of what they do and what they want to accomplish, and they stick to what they are best at: To create material that combines elements from folk music and rock music. The folk music in question a blend of Irish/Celtic and Scandinavian, with a slight additional flavor of Americana on a couple of occasions unless I'm much mistaken. The latter case may well be incidental of course, since Americana is developed on the foundation of Irish and Celtic folk music. From what I can tell, the greater majority of the songs operate from a folk music base, especially in terms of the vocal melody lines but also for greater parts of the melodies as such. The violin and mandolin are fairly constant presences, and if a song does shift into a more rock oriented general style, you can be sure that a purebred folk interlude will follow. This is folk rock with something of an emphasis on the folk aspect. That being said, the band can rock it out as well, on a couple of occasions approaching hard rock in terms of intensity, and many proggers will find the use of keyboards and organ a pleasure to come across in the songs where they are featured too. By and large I experience this as a positive and uplifting album throughout. This is music you can dance to, and music that invites you to dance. And, as stated, this is a band that know exactly what they want to accomplish, and they do so very well indeed. The only slight negative for me was the cover of Beatles Norwegian Wood. While possibly what will turn out to be the most popular single track on this album due to the origin and familiarity, for my sake I find the folk inserts on this one to be of a higher quality than the cover of the actual song itself. Perhaps due to being spoiled by Aaron English most excellent cover version from a few years back. On the other hand, Madeline Jones is for me at least the strongest composition here, with a killer chorus as the icing on the cake here. In style also a song slightly different from the rest, but it is the sing-along chorus that for me elevates this specific track above the rest.
Conclusion. Tempest is a veteran band on all fronts, and they have a sure confidence in what they do that shines through on all levels on this album. While not an album that will expand any musical boundaries, this is a high quality production through and through, and a production that merits a check if you enjoy folk rock in general, and in particular if you tend to enjoy bands of this kind that bring in dominant elements from Irish, Celtic and Scandinavian folk music into this context.
Progmessor: March 30th 2018
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