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Galley Beggar - Silence and Tears CD (album) cover


Galley Beggar


Prog Folk

3.39 | 5 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars With this 3rd release, GALLEY BEGGAR found themselves signed to "Rise Above Records", which sounds like a protest folk label but is actually skewed to doom metal and its ilk. While part of the improved exposure of "Silence and Tears" is simply due to the muscle of a major label, another effect is that every doom metal blogger in every man cave was asked to review this (gasp!) folk rock album. These assessments, some well written, others not, are a joy to read because they offer an outsider perspective. As a folk rock "insider", I relish the humility that comes with acknowledging that some reference points for the sound of GALLEY BEGGAR emanate from the 2010s and not 1968-1971! Two such examples are ARCADE FIRE and FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE.

I need to make reparations for ever saying that GALLEY BEGGAR was trending in the TREES direction with each release. I had another cursed listen to the primordial sludge fest that is "On the Shore", and, if any point of comparison is possible, it is in how GALLEY BEGGAR has deftly sidestepped the busy work that was TREES' stock in trade, and that they do cover that band's "Geordie" oh so much more succinctly, with the one lead guitar running circles around the feuding twins of that long ago release. Maria O'Donnell's voice is more emotive and dynamic than Celia Humphries', while every bit the technical equal.

All that said, and notwithstanding the shining fiddling of "Adam and Eve" which compensates for its shockingly misogynist lyrics, the sweetly uplifting MERLIN BIRD like "Sanctuary Song", and the stop-me-in-my-tracks beauty of MR FOX-like closer "Deliver Him", this is a downbeat affair that is not the better for it. Particularly the 9 minute "Pay my Body Home" is as moribund as the most bloated JETHRO TULL epic, and until GALLEY BEGGAR can deliver sadness with a smile - see the STEELEYE SPAN classics for the ultimate guide - they will remain just shy of the 4 star hump. Too bad, so sad.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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