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Kestrel - Kestrel CD (album) cover




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3.83 | 60 ratings

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3 stars Always looking for something interesting from the seventies, I noticed a review of Kestrel's one and only album and decided to check it out.

It's not anything of the highly advanced prog variety. It's nothing like Yes, Genesis, ELP, King Crimson or any of the other prog elite from this decade. Kestrel's music is very song oriented where it seems the musical interludes were built around the songs. Tom Knowles' lead vocals hold up well and strong, though I can't help but feeling they are a little on the ordinary side for the mid-seventies.

The band has a good sense of composition and are all talented players. They aren't exactly symphonic prog but more like a rock version of Uriah Heep stretching out a little. Kestrel rarely get very hard or heavy mind you though they do pound the organ and drums in places. Overall, very solid rock with some lighter interludes featuring piano. Not so much in the way of acoustic guitar, however. There are lots of easy to catch vocal melodies, too.

The first few times I listened to this album I was left with little impression. I threw songs on playlists to see if anything would arrest my attention but mostly that was "The Acrobat" and "August Carol". Listening again for this review, I found the music more engaging and enjoyable. Lots of organ, piano, electric piano, and Mellotron. "In the War" has some of the more interesting prog music approach but the sung parts are a little too obvious in their stand against war. Again, it reminds me of some old and lost Uriah Heep.

The second disc with the Esoteric Recordings release includes the single version of "August Carol" which is bewilderingly the second half of the full-length version of the song and begins with the drum intro and Mellotron part rather than the Heep-ish start the first half of the song has. An alternate full version of the same song appears here as well. The single version of "Wind Cloud" isn't particularly outstanding as the album version is better and the alternate version of "The Acrobat" sounds more like a demo with a weak mix compared to the album version. Two other songs, "The Searcher" and "Part of the Machine" are as good as the rest of the album material and a welcome addition.

My conclusion is that this album has some very good songs and music. I just feel there's something missing to give it that memorable bite. None of the songs play over and over in my head, demanding to be heard though some of the melodies are easy enough to recall.

I can't say it's an excellent addition to any prog collection but I do say it's a fairly decent one. Not as exciting as some other albums but not dull or disappointing either. At least worth checking out.

FragileKings | 3/5 |


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