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Grace - The Poet, The Piper And The Fool CD (album) cover





2.94 | 19 ratings

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2 stars Reformed in the early 1990s, GRACE returned with vigour to produce three albums in a relatively short period. This first seems to introduce the new style of the band and the various archetypal characters that would occupy them for a couple of years. Only sprinklings of their Celtic inspirations can be detected here and there, and this is very much in the vein of neo prog bands that came before, with some rhythms and vocals reminiscent of the then recently departed 80s.

The first track, "The Piper", is fairly interesting and well rounded, with all band members working to establish a unique identity for the group, and half succeeding, thanks to a folky undercurrent that plays up the "piper" theme, and some pleasant organ and tasteful lead guitar. The lyrics are also fairly poetic. "The Field" is not quite as strong but still noteworthy for its fine melody and, again, the colourful organ and pseudo Celtic touches. The use of saxophone, however, is ill-suited to the material and not well integrated.

The rest of the album is noticeably weaker. "Raindance" does include a catchy chorus that conjures up the New Romantic movement of the 1980s more than it does rain, but "Success" is pure excess. The compositions are ultimately a bit weak, and it sounds like Grace is just trying to spit out the ostensibly captivating poetry to whatever beat or melody happens to be playing at the time. "Lullaby" provides somewhat a change of pace, but its only notable aspect is the use of fake strings that provide an ethereally ambient break. Even the longer tracks simply lack verve and emotion, which is an element normally present even in weak neo prog.

In determining a final rating, I don't know whether to analyze the poet, pay the piper, or play the fool. But I have to conclude that this effort is of limited interest even to those who profess to be fans of the various sub genres found within, because the group appears to lack commitment to any specific style especially their own. 2.5 stars rounded down.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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