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Strawbs - The Broken Hearted Bride CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.53 | 54 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Action replay!

The Broken Hearted Bride is the album that fans of Strawbs' most progressive period (1973 to 1975) fans have been waiting for. It is easily the best and most consistent new Strawbs studio album since Ghosts which was released more than 30 years earlier! While most of the Strawbs albums released since then, most notably the previous one, Deja Fou, contained some very strong individual tracks but also a few bad ones, The Broken Hearted Bride is a more even effort. Everything here does not stand out as brilliant, but also nothing stands out as bad. And the album flows really well and there is a perfect balance between slower, mellower tracks and up-tempo ones.

The production of this album is far better than most previous albums. The drums in particular sound really good, and the vocals are not mixed too loud, as has been the case on some previous Strawbs records. The guitar sound is also really good here. Fiddle is the leading instrument on The Call To Action and the reprise Action Replay. Too bad they didn't use the Fiddle more, but it works really well on this song. Continuing where Deja Fou left off (NRG), there is a Far-Eastern flavour to this song - which I like!

Christmas Cheer (Everything Is Going To Be Alright) is perhaps the least good song on the album. But it is not bad at all and better than the weakest tracks on many other Strawbs albums, even from the 70's. The problem I have with it is that the (too?) catchy chorus is repeated a few times too many. Too Many Angels would have fitted very well on Deja Fou, it is a mellow, soft song with a slight jazzy feeling, mainly because of the drums. The title track, on the other hand, is a hard rocking song with good guitar work, great drums and a strong melody.

Shadowland is the first of two Dave Lambert compositions and it has a strong Procol Harum feeling to it; a slightly bombastic ballad with a symphonic organ sound and piano. Once again with a pretty good guitar solo.

The most progressive song is probably Through Aphrodite's Eyes. The style here is very close to The River/Down By The Sea. But I do not feel that this is a carbon copy of that classic Strawbs song. There are progressive touches on several other tracks as well. Deep In The Darkest Night, for example, has a quite Symphonic Prog-like ending, with a great guitar solo.

The two last proper songs, You Know As Well As I and Everybody Knows are almost pure modern pop songs. And the album does lose a bit of its momentum here. But they are not bad at all. The reprise of the Action-theme does not really add very much to the song itself, but it helps to tie the album together very nicely.

The last track on the CD should, I think, be considered as a bonus track and not as a part of the album itself. It is just a decent, but unneccesary re-make of an old Strawbs classic.

The Broken Hearted Bride is perhaps not an album that will blow every Prog fan away. But it is a nice addition to any collection especially if you like the Strawbs albums of the mid 70's, particularly like Ghosts and Hero And Heroine which is the best references for the kind of music this is.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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