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The Fellowship - La Sorciere et le Villageois CD (album) cover


The Fellowship


Prog Folk

2.95 | 2 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars While Italy boasts one of the epicenters of the early 1990s prog revival, that deserved reputation was certainly not predicated on albums like this, a largely acoustic work more indebted to INCREDIBLE STRING BAND or FOREST than to early RPI classics or even the all influential British axis. If "La Sorciere et le Villageois" was only of note for being so "out there", that might be enough, but thankfully it contains some simply lovely music and vocals, and, most significantly, is one of those rare albums that is able to retain its own atmosphere, shrouds of meditative medieval mists that sprout roots in the suggestive listener who might all too readily stop in for a lifetime or two. The synergy between acoustic guitars, flutes and violins establishes a crystalline order that can be followed without burden.

While clearly retro, down to the use of spoken verse several times, as it turns out this album is somewhat prescient of a few of the longer lived Italian prog folk bands, among them OLOFERNE who have now released 4 albums and tour regularly. The similarity is not just in style but in an oddly unsettling yet comforting ritualistic vibe. While this is a very consistent work, the most appealing material is in the middle, with the best of these being the truly delightful "Sahha", which seems to die out only to return as a cheerily clucking hen - you'll have to hear it. "Mushroom Hill" is another favorite, in which the guitars are plucked delicately and the melody progresses stalwartly, propelled by sensitive vocal and flute accompaniment. It is also one of the few occasions where electric guitar lends a decidedly acidic tone that would not have sounded new 20 years earlier!

One oddity is that, while most tracks are sung in English, 2 are in French, including the title cut. The longest track is the closer but it's little more than a rolled, flattened, and kneaded summation of the entire affair and, as such, exposes the limitations of the group in tackling more ambitious concepts. That might explain why they were so short lived, or it could just be that this type of sorcery doesn't work as well on the larger community as it does on this villager.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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