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Kestrel - Kestrel CD (album) cover




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3.77 | 69 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars As a reviewer for Colossus prog magazine I've received a lot of reissues by Esoteric Recordings, often by completely forgotten bands from the early 70's. And often I haven't questioned at all why they are forgotten. Now here's a happy exception! Of course KESTREL has become a cult favourite among the most advanced prog listeners, but it was practically a new acquaintance for me until last Friday. [A personal note to my local music friends: yes, this band was on the additional list, not in the book.]

Newcastle-based Kestrel's sole album contains melodic, quite song-oriented prog featuring Mellotron, and it can be compared to the likes of SPRING, FANTASY or CRESSIDA, and actually for the benefit of Kestrel whose mature songs have more 'kick' as there are pretty good guitar contributions too. With one exception, the music is composed by the guitarist Dave Black. Perhaps the idea of a cross between the classic GENESIS and the '68-'72 era MOOY BLUES wouldn't be totally out of place? There aren't the theatrics of the former, nor does the singer have any Gabriel colour in his voice, but we certainly are dealing with the vintage Symphonic Prog tendencies, even though the compositions don't get very complex. (But still, I find it underestimating to stamp this as "Prog Related".)

Mellotron isn't quite as strongly present as on the SPRING album, but the grander is the effect when it comes to the fore. I haven't yet had time to listen to the album many times (which is why I'm not going into track-by-track approach), but I have a feeling I'm going to like it more and more. I strongly believe that with the support of a more prog oriented record company capable of merchandising, Kestrel would be nowadays known as a prog classic. In this sense I place it next to ENGLAND (Garden Shed, 1977). Indeed this is an album I would have loved to hear already two or three decades ago!

The ER re-issue contains a detailed article and a Bonus Disc of slightly under 30 minutes; placing the six tracks as bonuses on the same disc would have been MUCH more convenient. (This is something I always complain about, even if some album buyers probably appreciate the multiple CD format on all kinds of re-releases and Special DeLuxe-whatever Editions repeating basically the same material in slightly different versions over and over. Gosh, I'm not into that at all! Sorry, back to Kestrel...). Four of them are single/alternate versions of the album songs, two are pretty good "new" songs. Sadly the liner notes don't give any information on the bonuses.

Matti | 4/5 |


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