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Gryphon - Midnight Mushrumps CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.75 | 285 ratings

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3 stars An original and musical evolution.

Evolving from their debut medieval cover album, Gryphon here offer a new and original vision. While not yet as outstanding as their third album would be, this sees the band take the original impetus for reproducing medieval English music and use it to establish their own voice, stake out their territory. And they do it well. There is not a bad track on this album, and many of the tracks here are on the same, or better, level as the best track on their debt ("Juniper Suite"). The standout track on this album is the long epic title track "Midnight Mushrumps". While some find it slow and fragmented, and in fact this is true, it is nonetheless very musical. It takes its time to get where it needs to go, and sets out a number of very musical melodies, mixing piano, organ, acoustic guitars, and even some great dissonance. A very satisfying experience. I really like how more of the tracks (including a number of sections of the long epic) here move in an out of minor keys, which really sets it apart from their very major-key debut (were the middle ages really always so happy?). And of course, there are the fabulous crumhorns and other English horns. After the title track, my favourite here is "Gulland Rock", a really musical composition with some great slow dark, jazzy and moody sections, as well as dissonance, with lots of changes and sections (including a nice happy roiling medeival theme in one part). Both this song and the title track also have very nice piano parts, which adds much to the otherwise horns and organ sound. The rest of the pieces are all good too, although once again I would have liked the entire album to be instrumental (thus, "the Ploughboy's Dream" is for me the weakest track on this album). So, while I can listen to every song on this album, the quality is still mixed, with the two really excellent tracks balanced out somewhat by the others. I give this 7.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is much better than the debut, and translates to high 3 PA stars.

Walkscore | 3/5 |


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