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TRACK LIST: 1. Journey to the Coast 2:04 2. The Globe Inn 4:26 3. Finding the Whistle 2:01 4. Watcher-1 1:56 5. Who Is This Who Is Coming? 9:09 6. Convinced Disbeliever 3:59 7. Watcher-2 1:59 8. A Face of Crumpled Linen 10:17 9. Spectacle of a Scarecrow 5:54 LINEUP: Karl Mallet - bass, guitars, mandolin; keyboards; vocals Ian Fitch – guitars Simon Green – drums Steve Mann – keyboards
Prolusion. THE FUTURE KINGS OF ENGLAND was, until a few years ago, one of British rock's hidden secrets. But following three well received full length productions a greater variety of people have become aware of their endeavors, and when their fourth disc "Who Is This Who Is Coming" was released towards the end of 2011 it was a CD many had eagerly been awaiting.
Analysis. Personally I became aware of this band when I was sent their second production "The Fate of Mother Orvis" for review, an item I covered for Progressive Ears unless my memory fails me. Since then I've been tracking this band closely, and when I saw that this most recent effort of theirs was released I quickly ordered two copies of it – as Christmas presents for some friends of mine. At about the same time I received a promo copy in the mail to cover for the Progressor website. A rather long winded manner to tell the tale of a writer less objective than normal perhaps, but this is a CD I was rather looking forward too. And while the band has their feet firmly placed in a particular sound, they always manage to change their style subtly but distinctly from one album to the next, and I was rather curious about where they were heading on this occasion. And it turns out that the answer is here and there on this occasion. "Who Is This Who Is Coming?" is a conceptual creation, inspired by a ghost story written by noted author M. R. James. And while this is a band that lets their instruments do the majority of the talking, I get a strong feeling of moods explored and tensions created and built upon when listening through this disc. From the tranquil, pastoral landscapes encountered early on, leading on to the cinematic scope of the title track, opening with haunting fragmented instrument arrangements moving on to pastoral landscapes, with an elongated ominous sounding collage taking over prior to the keyboards laced finale complete with slow acoustic guitars, a brooding cello beneath and a fine array of futuristic, cold and ghostly sounds. And the magic of the title track is continued with Convinced Disbeliever, a creation pairing off vintage, energetic hard psych with dampened, elegant Mellotron and guitar excursions, while the simple elegance of Watcher-2 proves to be the epilog of a midsection filled with musical magic, the remaining parts of the disc merely staying put within the realms of the high quality efforts. Of the latter three efforts, the epic A Face of Crumpled Linen is the one that warrants a closer inspection, an effective, fairly sophisticated effort sporting mostly compact arrangements and a fine flowing development. A fine display of vintage guitars and vintage keyboards that will be loved deeply by many, I suspect. The band has taken their blend of light toned reverberating guitars, dampened vintage riffs, melodic soloing, steady backing rhythms, vintage keyboards and Mellotron and used them to assemble a high quality production – again. Bordering post rock on one extreme and folk rock on the other, but most of all residing within a timeless part of the progressive rock realm containing music that could have been made now or 40 odd years ago, assembled in a manner that will earn the description vintage-sounding by most, I suspect.
Conclusion. 70's oriented progressive rock is what The Future Kings of England are masters of, lightly flavoring the proceedings with psychedelic and post rock details, frequently inserting subtle details or distinct sequences of a pastoral nature and liberally flavoring the end result with Mellotron and vintage sounding keyboards. Those who know about the band from previous occasions can safely purchase this latest disc; those unfamiliar with the band are advised to check them out, at least if some of the descriptions given sound enticing.
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