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Fruupp - The Prince of Heaven's Eyes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.23 | 153 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Fruupp are a little hard to describe without comparing them to other bands, but as it turns out that’s okay because they certainly developed a sound that was based on that of many of those same bands. Guitarist/vocalist Vincent McCusker has acknowledged a debt to Genesis, not at all surprising considering when and where the band evolved. This is evident in the peculiar storytelling style of the band and in McCusker’s vocal cadence. There’s also more than a little Gong in the band’s loose and slightly irreverent compositions. And I’d go so far as to say there’s some Gentle Giant mixed in here as well, not so much musically as in the informal mood of the whole package of this album. All good stuff though, and an enjoyable album to listen to even if these are not exactly chamber-quality musicians. McCusker cut his teeth in a circus after all, not in austere recital halls.

The story line for this album was written by the band’s manager, and it tells the tale of one Mud Flanagan, a rather na´ve little fellow off on an adventure to find the pot of gold at the end of his rainbow (aren’t we all?). In the process he learns a little about life and mankind and presumably himself, as well as having a bit of a fling with one of the fairer sex. The lyrics would make a good bedtime story for your kids.

I’m not sure what to say about the music itself, other than it is a little bit laid back, not very complex or epic, but as easy to listen to as a comfortable jacket is to wear. I played this several times recently on a long road trip and it kept me alert and tapping my foot a bit, which I consider a solid endorsement.

Stephen Houston would leave after this album to become a Franciscan monk or Jehovah’s Witness or some such thing, and the band would hang it up following their next release (which is similar but a bit folksier than this one).

If there’s a highlight here it is probably the ten-minute album climax “The Perfect Wish”, which features keys aplenty and a playful guitar/piano progression punctuated by oboe that is as distinctive and unique a sound as the band manages on the entire album. This one could easily go onto a seventies symphonic rock retrospective album without raising any eyebrows. The closing “Prince of Heaven” wanders back into Peter Gabriel territory but also emphasizes electric guitar along with animated piano and synthesizers. The production on this one is a bit louder with more treble than the rest of the album which gives it a slightly rushed feel, but it makes for an appropriate ending to young Flanagan’s journey, so there’s that at least.

I love the artwork on the album by the way, even if it is almost embarrassingly child-like and na´ve. It seems altogether appropriate for the music it encases.

This is a modest album released just past the peak of seventies progressive music’s heyday. It doesn’t hold up as timeless, but for many progressive music fans it would make for a respectable addition to their collection. Three stars seems fair, and a modest recommendation if you are the sort of music lover who appreciates all those bands I called out in the first paragraph.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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