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Thieves' Kitchen - One For Sorrow, Two For Joy CD (album) cover

ONE FOR SORROW, TWO FOR JOY

Thieves' Kitchen

 

Eclectic Prog

3.80 | 114 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I actually wanted to get "The Water Road". It was in my Amazon stand by cart for nearly two years. Then "One for Sorrow, Two for Joy" came out and they both sat in my cart. Finally I decided to get "The Water Road" and it was gone, no longer available except as an expensive import. So I quickly snatched up this album.

I first heard about Thieves' Kitchen back in 2012 when I was seeking out new prog bands and stumbled across them on iTunes. At the time I liked only some songs but not enough to want to buy an album. Their mention in the book "Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock" by Stephen Lambe made me change my mind. But "One for Sorrow" seems not like the best place to start with this band.

After a brief child's rhyme, the music begins and sounds promising enough. There's the usual electric guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. It's when the vocals come in that things start to go the opposite direction from which I'd hoped. Now it's not that Amy Darby is a bad singer. At first I thought she was good but unremarkable. However, listening more carefully I have come to think that the vocals lines for this song were just not meant for most singers. She has to sing low and throw in an occasional higher note and hold these low notes. It feels more like someone trying to sing over a prog instrumental. The next song doesn't fair any better and here I feel the lyrics sound as forced as the singing: "The cosmos in its scale / Like Isis unveiled / To the all-seeing eye". There's a pleasant bit of flute followed by some nice piano, the only redeeming virtues of this song for me.

"A Fool's Journey" is a surprise because of the heavy riff. As I had Black Sabbath's "13" in my iPhone music library at the time I first heard this song, I was for a moment puzzled as to why Black Sabbath suddenly got cued up. Yet despite the heavy riff, the production of this album is not like a metal one, and the song can no longer be confused with the metal legends. It's a powerful track musically and in some ways a good change at least as far as the singing goes. But in the end I feel something was missing to make it a successful hit with me.

"Germander Speedwell" is the longest track and it's the instrumental parts that save it as the vocal tracks again follow a similar stretched out and almost tiresome style. I don't think even Janis Joplin could have made these vocal lines work.

It's not until "The Weaver", a short acoustic folk piece, that at last Darby seems to have been able to capture her voice in the song. For that matter, it's only here where I first find myself really enjoying listening to the music. Prior to this, a lot if not most of it, sounds like a colour-by-numbers attempt to create a modern prog feeling but even though the bass and drums are working, they don't seem to manage anything inspiring. At times pretty good; at other times rather generic.

The final track is also a longer one, just over 12 minutes, and it's here at last that I feel the band found its inspiration. The music has energy and purposefulness. The band seem to know what they are doing and why at last and there's feeling in the playing. It's too bad that a couple of more songs on this album didn't have that energy.

I'm afraid that I can't get excited about this album. I've listened to it a few times and added songs to mixed playlists hoping to find something outstanding but I can't. I've read other reviews that say "One for Sorrow, Two for Joy" is a weaker album in TK's discography, so it seems I'm not the only one to feel something is lacking. It's not a huge disappointment but worthy only of a flat three stars and nothing more.

FragileKings | 3/5 |

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