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Red Jasper - 777 CD (album) cover


Red Jasper


Prog Folk

3.02 | 15 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
2 stars The retooled RED JASPER really had its origins in "Anagramary", the last release before the long hiatus, as this marked the moment when they dispensed with the more overtly folk aspects of their character and plunged into the sea of samey neo prog. They handled it quite well, and even improved upon it when David Clifford stepped out from the shadows and replaced the inimitable Davey Dodds on "The Great and Secret Show" just a few years ago. Their penchant for melody with a dramatic flair was rekindled and they have now extended the sample size to 3 with "777".

This release is a logical extension but flawed in several key areas, chiefly in its garrulousness, a common neo prog ailment against which they seem to have forgotten to be vaccinated this time around. Moreover, many of the themes are overly repetitive, and, even where sudden shifts occur, the listener quickly learns to anticipate them which sabotages much of the enjoyment. Both "She Waits" and "The Gathering" are guilty of this laziness, while "Reaching Out", notwithstanding some enjoyable synth soloing, and "Nothing to Believe" are even more generic and predictable, with choruses that stumble out of and back into the recycle bin.

The album's best moments are at the very beginning and towards the end. "7" recaptures some of their folky past while being catchy and edgy. "Dragonfly" is more reflective and pastoral, contrasting with most of the directness of the remainder. "Paradise Folly" slyly re-purposes the balladry of the Sonnets from their long ago classics but only adds to the sense of meager inspiration elsewhere. A fine bonus track is added, the haunting "October and April" originally performed by THE RASMUS, handily adapted and made their own in a live setting.

I'm not suggesting that RED JASPER wait another 15 odd years for another offering, only that "777" may have been allowed to escape prematurely and breached the thin red line between British prog folk and generic neo prog. 2.5 stars rounded down.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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