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Decameron - Tomorrow's Pantomime CD (album) cover

TOMORROW'S PANTOMIME

Decameron

 

Prog Folk

3.10 | 12 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars For the fourth and final album, Decameron strayed further from their folk roots than they had on "Third Light", but this is still very identifiable as folk rock. Coppin and Bell continue to write together and share vocal duties. Not as uneven as "Mammoth Special" and not as magnificent as "Third Light", "Tomorrow's Pantomime boasts enough highlights to make the group's imminent demise seem unfairly premature.

"The Deal" starts things off well, with a hard edged dramatic flair supported by fine fiddling and lead guitar. The beat is infectious without sounding too much like 1976, and "Fallen Over" flirts even more commercially with its catchy lyrics and chorus, handled with confident restraint. The same cannot be said for "Dancing", in which the group sadly succumbs, for a moment, to the fads of the day, while "Ask me Tomorrow" is a dull slow number only notable for a rare lead vocal performance by Dik Cadbury. The title cut is a wonder, with a similar flow to the "Deal", but with Dave Bell as singer and Geoff March excelling on sax and John Coppin on clavinet. The lyrics include a campy reference to the protagonist's presumably female friend who "comes off sleek and sultry, like a working man's Jean Harlow".

Two other fine tunes are the melodic "Crazy Seed" and the poignant "The Shadow on the Stairs", in which Decameron again views relationship woes, in this case divorce, from the politically incorrect male perspective. It's dodgy but handled well...one even sympathizes with him after learning he got a suspended sentence for breaking down the door. The closing "epic" two-fer just don't rise to the heights hoped for as a closer to the band's career, in spite of some good moments especially in "So this is God's Country", but "Peace with Honour" seems like a weaker echo of "The Empty Space" from "Mammoth Special".

As an epilogue to the career of a band that deserved better, "Tomorrow's Pantomime" primarily shrugs its way off the stage to make way for the immediacy of the less melodically and lyrically deep punk movement, and bows out honourably with nary a sound.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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