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Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest - The Poet and the Priest CD (album) cover


Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest


Prog Folk

4.00 | 8 ratings

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4 stars Chronologically speaking, this GAVIN O'LOGHLEN "solo" album predates his first COTTERS request recordings by a decade, even if it sat in the vaults until 2007. So this is a 1980s album that has little musically to do with the bombastic Celtic Rock in which COTTERS BEQUEST traded. Instead we have a bombastic rock opera with no bagpipes, accordions or fiddles and only hints of his traditional roots.

"The Poet and the Priest" leaves no doubt as to O'Loghlen's progressive interests and credentials, as he spins an at least partly autobiographical tale through a series of short intertwined vocal dominated pieces that rarely occupy the same quadrant very long, yet are admirably sequenced and reflective of artists like FISH, GENESIS (1980s), ALAN PARSONS, DIRE STRAITS, PHIDEAUX, MIKE OLDFIELD, and others while offering a surprisingly fresh take on a long buried era. One of the aspects I really appreciate is the paucity of instrumental breaks; those that do appear are never long and generally serve to introduce the next vocal theme. At the same time, the period instrumentation, all by O'Loghlen, is varied and imposing. His voice is low, a bit raspy, and a lot dramatic, as befits his theatrical background and an even earlier time when such was in fashion. He's thankfully always on tune, since the melodies, particularly in the choruses, are nothing short of rousing. This more than compensates by the use of the term "Bullshit" on a half dozen occasions.

The track list has different representations, which only further cements the dynamism of the story, and it really is more like one long track than anything. It's hard to pick highlights on that basis and also because it's all eminently enjoyable, even, to an extent, some of the PHIL COLLINS-isms appearing towards the end. "Lovers", "Jesters", and "The Open Road" are back to back dynamite, with their sweeping themes, female backing vocals, including those by O'Loghlen's wife, vocoder (remember?) and fuzzy lead guitar fill ins. "The Treadmill" appears and reappears with its "Round and Round" theme, as the protagonist faces the soul sucking reality of many an adult life, a step towards returning to his earlier dreams. The finale is essentially a title cut and ends matters on a guardedly hopeful note, and a musically uplifting one.

"The Poet and the Priest" is like a time capsule preserved for a time when perspective can provide it the recognition it deserves. That time is now, so enjoy without guilt, godspeed. 4.5 stars.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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