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Will-O-The-Wisp - Will-o-the Wisp CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.76 | 27 ratings

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4 stars Here’s a virtually unknown band who managed to put together a sound that is sometimes neo-progressive (particularly the guitars), sometimes retro (mostly the keyboards), and with a thread of psychedelic energy, especially in the form of the male vocals. Most of their albums are out-of-print, available sporadically from resellers and pretty much nowhere else including the band’s own website (although their last two can still be had there). I suspect someone is going to pick up the masters someday and reissue this and their sophomore record though, because this is well-formed and authentic progressive music that deserves to be widely available.

This debut album was recorded in the late nineties but the sound is older than that, drawing on any number of seventies British proggers like Curved Air and some of the more ethereal and folksy minor acts of the early seventies like Fuchsia and Flibbertigibbet. There’s more than a little Canterbury here as well, considering how melodic all the arrangements tend to be.

Lead vocalist Aggelos Gerakitis has a rich sound, and the hint of an accent in his all-English vocals lends itself quite well to the understated tempo of all the songs here. This is somewhat spaced-out music, but closer to Roxy Music than Pink Floyd for sure. Jazz singer Sofia Rapti is a guest artist on the album, and she tends to complement Gerakitis by harmonizing or by otherwise offering contrast in several duets.

Keyboardist Dina Nassi plays all manner of keys, including a Fender, fat and spacey Hammond and even electric and acoustic piano. While the band features a prominent guitarist in Takis Barbagalas, the overriding musical footprint comes in the form of keyboards on virtually every track.

The whole album seems to flow together as a single, lengthy and cohesive work rather than simply a collection of tunes. The breaks between tracks are brief or nonexistent for the most part, and except for a brief fadeout ending to “Vision” the last half of the album is a contiguous piece of music. My one complaint is that the opening and closing two-part song “Silent Thoughts” with its gorgeous piano solo is all too brief and would have resulted in a much more robust work had one or both parts of this tune been extended into a lengthy classical piano composition.

But that’s a minor quibble, and for the most part this is a great body of work that forms an impressive introduction for a band that would go on to record three other progressively more complex and richer albums before they faded back into obscurity. Like I said, this is a lost gem that needs to be rediscovered and reissued by someone; this is the kind of gentle and melodic music that most prog lovers would be happy to have in their collection. Here’s hoping that happens soon. Four stars.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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