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Turquoise - Turquoise CD (album) cover

TURQUOISE

Turquoise

 

Prog Folk

3.30 | 14 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Despite their very proggy-sounding name and some very beautiful and intricate album covers, Turquoise do (for the most part) not play a particularly progressive style of music, at least not here on their first album. What they do offer though is a pleasant enough sound that is fairly uncomplicated but well-played, energetic and inflected at times with just enough regional flair to qualify as prog folk. And there are a couple of notable exceptions to that statement that portend well for the band, most notably the extended pieces “Dajemma” and “Wez Zed Zobamnie”.

The one caveat to Turquoise’ music is that the vocals are all sung in Polish. That said, other languages have never been something to put off prog fans, and indeed many claim to not care about lyrics anyway so that shouldn’t dissuade anyone who doesn’t know Polish from enjoying their music. And the inclusion of the instrumental “Dajemma” with its lush electric guitar and keyboard arrangements will leave listeners wanting more.

The band will be inevitably compared to their fellow countrymen Quidam, and in the case of the guitar work this is a fair; however, Mostly Autumn or Karnataka would be more accurate comparisons. I’ve seen them likened to the Hungarian act You and I as well, another Mostly Autumn-influenced band. Like those artists, the guitars may qualify as neo, but the tone of the compositions and warm feminine vocals, as well as occasional ethnic nuances, place them more comfortably inside the world of neo- folk. The mini-epics “Strach” and “Wez Zed Zobamnie” provide the best examples of this, with the initial ranging electric guitar riffs giving way to Katarzyna Jajko’s lush voice and some pretty adept acoustic guitar fingering courtesy of Alexander Zelazny. I’m not sure why the band elected to wait until the end of the album to introduce this side of their sound; “Dajemma” hints at their ability to craft true progressive compositions, but one has to work through the more folksy numbers leading up to these two closing songs to really get at why they are considered progressive in the first place.

Another example of the softer side of the band’s music can be heard in the lazy To Co W Nas (Spelnienie), which manages to build just enough to provide an understated lift to what it basically a ballad as the song winds to a close. This is one of the better tunes on the album to represent the band’s overall signature sound, along with the less-pronounced and also softly executed short instrumental “Utrenja”.

Jajko left the group after this album for some reason, and would be replaced by a pair of female vocalists by the time the band released their second studio album. That one leans much closer to neo- prog in my opinion, and while the production is a bit more polished I also think the band lost a bit of their subtle charm, certainly not unusual in a sophomore effort. These two would be replaced by yet another woman vocalist on the band’s third effort, the 2007 release ‘Futura’. I haven’t heard that one yet but in reading various reviews it seems the band took a similar route to groups like Karnataka – away from prog folk and into more commercially-friendly neo territory.

So if you want to enjoy this band and are a die-hard folky, this is the album for you. Not a masterpiece or anything, but the band does manage to put together a pretty decent bit of music for your listening pleasure. I’m going to go with three stars here, although with a few more listens may come back and bump that up if the music reveals more depth than seems to be there for me at present. Well recommended to progressive folk fans, especially those who enjoy the genre’s rich ethnic and cultural variety.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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