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Decameron - Third Light CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.44 | 15 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars By 1975, cracks were appearing in the English folk rock infrastructure. Very few of the most established bands were still producing material of the same quality as in their heyday, and others, like STRAWBS, had moved on to a more symphonic "bigger" sound and devoted themselves to cracking the American market. This left a creative void that was amply serviced by Decameron. While they never achieved even the modest commercial success afforded the earlier delegates, the little critical recognition that was accorded tends to be lavished on "Third Light", and quite rightly so.

This is Decameron's most unified work, a complete modern rock effort with galling diversity in harmony. The producer Tom Allom probably had something to do with this, as he had shown sensitivity in coaxing more panache out of Strawbs on their own mid 70s classics.

Of most interest to progressive fans are three cuts: "All the best Wishes" is a haunting tune beginning as a gentle ballad before wah wah pedals turn it up a half dozen notches, as it deals with a breakup in an almost mystical way. "Journey's End" is a mellotron saturated beauty with John Coppin's best vocal and weeping lead guitars weaving in and out. "The Ungodly" is probably the group's best known track thanks to its selection for British folk rock compilations. Again, from peaceful acoustic beginnings it becomes a much more dramatic proposition on the empty souls of politicians. John Mealing's organ playing and the arresting chorus are not easy to shake.

Elsewhere, the album offers fine and diverse pleasures, such as the wry and very English ode to "Saturday", in which co-writer Dik Cadbury utilizes a conversational tempo and the vocal harmonies capture the posturing of young people on their day off. The spirited nautical ballad "Road to the Sea" again benefits from Mealing's organ work, while "Trapeze" provides a glimpse of lovers on the high wire, one the flyer and one the catcher, and "Scarecrow" is disturbingly and compellingly dissonant.

If you have a penchant for melodic and peculiarly British Isles folk rock with tasteful progressive flourishes, you should find "Third Light" to be thoroughly illuminating. 4.5 stars.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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