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Spirogyra - St. Radigunds CD (album) cover

ST. RADIGUNDS

Spirogyra

 

Prog Folk

4.18 | 127 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Diaby
5 stars When I first listened to this album, after 3 or 4 songs I immediately decided to love this type of music. The only prog folk act I've listened to before Spirogyra was Jethro Tull...but that's very different, not so much authentic as this band.

The orchestration is very well constructed: acoustic guitar + maybe acoustic bass, violin, and the less used piano & drums. The strong and unique male vocals piece together nicely with the beautiful female ones (mostly used for backing vocals). My favourite instrument here is obviously the bass, Steve Borill's got wonderous sense to play it. That's the foundation of all the music.

A bit about every song:

1. The Future Won't Be Long: A very powerful overture with lyrics about WWII. Cockerham also uses speech-like vocals. It starts off quite relaxed but as the pre-chorus begins, the power breaks the surface and it goes on (without using drums)! Very strong track, the first highlight.

2. Island: A more peaceful song, only violin, acoustic guitars, and vocals until more than the half of the time, then the guitars change into a more crispt style and a long instrumental section is coming. Not my favourite, but good.

3. Magical Mary: The first true complex one lasts over six minutes. The first few section is in a minor key. At 2:45 there's a key shift (major), after a great violin solo another vocal melodies enter, then the end's got a minor key, again. Still no drums.

4. Captain's Log: Just two minutes, filled with verses and chorus two times. The mood and lyrics show the tragedy of the Captain. The end is the completion of the story and the musical themes, too.

5. At Home in the World: The happiest song on the record. We got here the first important piano parts and some wind instruments also enrich the track giving the feeling of a royal court.

6. Cogwheels, Crutches and Cyanide: This is my favourite! Dark, strange lyrics, all the instruments have very important parts and the climax is simply awesome with the aggressive vocals of Cockerham. It begins slowly, but after the intro fades out the main melodies and the drums, finally the drums join in (though, you could not feel the lack of drums in the first 5 songs, their use wouldn't be significant). This song would be impossible without drums. The pre-climax also consist some very fine piano chords/notes, then all the instruments join and we (at least I) get kind of a catharctic experience.

7. Time Will Tell: Violin-intro, then Gaskin sings his first solo. Some jazz-like piano, solid song.

8. We Were a Happy Crew: Gaskin and the piano start this song, now it's Cockerham's turn to sing backing vocals. No tension, that only comes with the violin at about 1:35. And at 2:15 a fully new part begins, now with the male vocals as the lead vocals. Maybe the finest bass work and some drums expand the great and strong main motifs, that makes this song another higlight. The end also contains some organ-ish sound.

9. Love is a Funny Thing: A two minutes long song again, it might be the weakest of St. Radigunds, with only female vocals used (between the guitar and the flute). Nothing special.

10. The Duke of Beaufoot: The longest song lasts more than 8 minutes long, but it was worth to extend it. After a quite long instrumental intro Cockerham starts to sing in quite an aggressive style again. The chorus also contains wordless vocals (both male and female) and some clapping and hooraying in the background, that makes it very interesting. At about three minutes a key shift comes, the Gaskin becomes the lead singer singing pretty emotional. Another key and tempo shift, new vocal themes (Cockerham also joins in), that part is a bit less sad than the earliers were. On minute before the end the key changes into an old, in the last few seconds we got the chorus once again. Surprising and fantastic way to end it.

These guys managed to record a fantastic album. A masterpiece.

Diaby | 5/5 |

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