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Roy Harper - Man & Myth CD (album) cover

MAN & MYTH

Roy Harper

 

Prog Folk

3.70 | 15 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

The return of such an out-of-character artiste such as Roy Harper is always welcome news, especially that this is the result of a long and thought-out project (three years) and it took place over two continents - LA and Eire to be precise. Co produced by Roy and Jonathan Wilson, the US part is more or less the first part of the album, while the Irish part (co-produced by John Fitzgerald) is the second half. In the guest list are dozens of musicians that will probably not ring a bell to most, but you will find a certain Pete Townsend on one track. You'll find in the booklet a bunch of added (sometimes-short) poems that are meant (or seem to) to be read in between the songs.

A bit surprisingly, the usually inimitable Harper sounds like Neil Young (and Crazy Horse) and at other places like Leonard Cohen. The album opens on The Enemy, where Roy delivers his composition with a US folk-rock (almost country-esque with the guitar twang) and he seems to have Cohen in mind when singing. The following acoustic Time Is Temporary is definitely quieter, includes string arrangement (including a lovely cello) and co-producer Wilson plays a banjo. Up next is a very personal (and very acoustic as well) song January Man, where Harper poignantly expresses regrets. Tensions increases with the intense The Stranger, where the mood shifts from acoustic to more profound climates. The following Cloud Cuckooland is definitely a Neil Young homage, where he not only sings and cotes Cowgirl In The Sans, but the music sounds like Crazy Horse stuff, even if it is a searing sax instead of a guitar solo in the middle, but the guitar takes revenge in the second half. The centrepiece of the album is the lengthy Heaven Is Here, a typical Harper piece that could've found place on Lifemask. The middle section with an instrumental passage is absolutely? divine. The Closing Exile is another highlight of the album.

Not that I'm familiar with Harper's discography since Jugula, but M&M is definitely worthy of standing proudly alongside Roy's better 70's albums. Somehow, I can't help but wondering if some of the lyrics on this album are related to the bad and recent events of the fall of 2013. Hopefully not.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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