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David Axelrod - Songs of Experience CD (album) cover

SONGS OF EXPERIENCE

David Axelrod

 

Crossover Prog

3.17 | 11 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars (but 4 for the flipside)

Under the inertia of his debut "solo" album, Axelrod recorded what can be considered the follow-up of his remarkable Song Of Innocence, but with a slight reserve on my part. Aptly titled Songs Of Experience, his second album echoes a bit his earlier opus, which is of course all bonus for Axelrod fans, despite a much-less psychedelic album artwork. However, despite the presence of his usual- suspects (bassist Kaye, drummer Palmer and guitarist Roberts) persence, the general balance tilts towards the invasive and almost intrusive orchestrations, thus upsetting the exquisite equilibrium of Innocence.

Ok, some arrangements are definitely cheesier than before, and one can be somewhat taken aback with the opening Poison Tree, you'll also ponder if the following Little Girl Lost will indeed tilt Axelrod's cinematic music towards the cheesy Hollywood movie soundtracks of the 50's and 60's. The short London does bring a bit more swing and energy, but it's quickly evaporated with the lengthy (everything relative, since it's still under the 5-mins mark) Sick Rose. The short and too-calm Schoolboy opens the flipside, but it's with the album-lengthier Human Abstract that the album finally seems to pass in third gear and head for more opens spaces, with Roberts' fuzz guitar leading the way and Randl's harpsichord to boot. Much to our pleasure, the following Fly is more of the (great) same. The album-closing Divine Image does raise the ante, with a tense and almost-chilling soundscape, approaching what Gil Evans could do so well.

Lasting a tad longer the his debut, SoE only clocks just under 32 minutes, but Axelrod's Experience is certainly not superior to his previous Innocence, because the orchestrations tend to overpower everything else. At least, the flipside manages to brilliantly save an album that was almost lost with its all-too-orchestral heaviness.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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