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Galahad - Quiet Storms CD (album) cover

QUIET STORMS

Galahad

 

Neo-Prog

3.85 | 96 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars And so, at long last, I have published my 1000th review on ProgArchives. I have written many, many more than that over the years, but I recognise this as some sort of milestone. It is only fitting that it is about the band that in many ways started me on the path I have been travelling for the last 25 years.

Over the years, Galahad have always dared to be different, and have always produced music very much on their own terms. This has seen them produce an acoustic offshoot, a dance offshoot, as well as mixing and melding the styles that have seen them always moving forward, always progressing. When I first came across them they had won the Radio 1 Rock Wars, and had released their first CD: it seems like a very long time ago, but that's okay because it was. They were the first band I wrote to in the progressive underground (yes, it was snail mail, no other type had been invented yet), the first band I wrote a complete piece on, and the first band I felt really close to. Through Stu I was introduced to others in the scene, and he told some mates of his to contact me which is how I came across the demo of some lads who were calling themselves Big Big Train, but that's another story altogether. And so, at long last, I have published my 1000th review on ProgArchives. I have written many, many more than that over the years, but I recognise this as some sort of milestone. It is only fitting that it is about the band that in many ways started me on the path I have been travelling for the last 25 years. So here we have it, prog with a difference, in Galahad's own very unique manner.

What's different about this album? Well, for starters it contains some already released songs, although they are here in different versions ? therefore the booklet contains lyrics only to some numbers, as they are the new ones. But, the largest difference outside the style of music (more of that in a minute), is that here Galahad are performing as a trio with guests. A trio? Well, yes, and often they are a duo. This album is based around Stu's vocals and Dean's delicate touch on piano and keyboards, with just occasional percussion from Spencer. There is no room for bass, so "new boy" Tim Ashton, who returned in 2014 after 22 years off for good behaviour has taken a break on this one. But where's Roy? Roy Keyworth was the founder of the band more than thirty years ago, but in March the band announced the sad news that Roy had decided to retire from music. He makes an appearance on the very final song of the album, "Guardian Angel (Hybrid)", which originally appeared on the "Guardian Angel" EP, but that is his swansong. Guitar features on just one other song on the album, and producer Karl Groom provides acoustic on that, somewhat different to his normal crunching day job with Threshold. Sarah Bolter is back as a guest again, providing woodwind and backing vocals, reprising her role on "Iceberg", which appeared on 1994's Galahad Acoustic Quintet album.

Yes, if you hadn't already worked it out, this is a far more pastoral album, one that relies on tone and technique as opposed to force and power. I honestly believe that Stu is one of the most under-rated singers around, and he has lost none of his pitch, breath control and range, while in Dean Baker he has found the perfect accompanist. Their relationship makes me think very much of Martin Orford and Gary Chandler, in that they complement each other so perfectly, and make incredible music without anybody else being involved. Christina Booth from Magenta duets with Stu on "Termination", old boy Mark Andrews appears on "Don't Lose Control", which he originally played on back on that debut CD, while Louise Curtis provides violin on their take on Rammstein's "Mein Herz Brennt" (I much prefer this version to the original).

This isn't a prog album in its truest sense, but instead shows a band that are always confident in their ability, and move around in different styles yet deliver the goods time and time again. I think it was more than twenty years ago that I confessed that I was losing all ability to write rationally about any release by Galahad, as I love their music so much. The reason I love it so, is because they are always refusing to conform to anyone's expectations, and keep producing works of outstanding brilliance and quality, like this one.

The band still don't know who their new guitarist is going to be, but Karl Groom has kindly agreed to play on 'Seas Of Change', which is going to be released later this year as well. That is going to show a very different side to the band I'm sure. But for now, play this to your friends and astound them with wonderful music from deepest Dorset.

kev rowland | 5/5 |

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