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Mellow Candle - Swaddling Songs CD (album) cover

SWADDLING SONGS

Mellow Candle

 

Prog Folk

3.85 | 74 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars Another "psych folk" group--this one from Ireland. I hear The Byrds, The Association, The Moody Blues. I like the piano base, reverbed female voices of Alison Williams and Clodagh Simonds--the Mama Cass and Michele Philips of Irish folk music--and the Mellotron flutes. Apparently the three girls were still in school--15 and 16 year olds when they formed the band and barely into their 20s at the time of the making of this album. Wow!

1. "Heaven Heath" (3:00) dual female vocals over harpsichord, bass, and simple time-keeping drums. The two girls are so tight that it almost sounds like one! Great sound, great song. (9/10)

2. "Sheep Season" (5:01) the dual voices of Alison Williams and Clodagh Simonds are one heck of a team--the perfect voice duo. Alison here has the lead but Clodagh is with her every step of the way. Effected guitar plays out a Roger McGuinn-sounding solo in the fourth minute over the piano and is then followed by a Melltron flute solo to the end. (9.5/10)

3. "Silver Song" (4:26) a slow, blues-based song with Alison starting out in the solo lead. Clodagh joins in with amazingly perfect crystalline harmonies but doesn't stay, kind of comes back and forth. Gorgeous! Awesome electric guitar solo in the C part. (10/10)

4. "The Poet And The Witch" (2:51) very interesting for the sudden confrontation with the voice of Clodagh Simonds- -which is much more forceful and powerful than that of the angelic Alison. (8.5/10)

5. "Messenger Birds" (3:39) a more countrified music with solo lead from Alison Williams. (8.5/10)

6. "Dan The Wing" (2:45) another turn for Clodagh up front--and another more rocking song. When Alison joins in harmony it's dangerous cuz she becomes more attractive to listen to (is it my imagination or is the mix even favoring her over Clodagh?) Their dual scatting in the final minute is interesting. (8/10)

7. "Reverend Sisters (4:21) gently, hypnotic piano opens before Alison and Clodagh enter in perfect unison. Wow! Telling a story from school days in a rather dispassionate-yet-haunting fashion. (10/10)

8. "Break Your Token (2:27) a raucus up-beat rock song that opens with Alison on lead vocals. Clodagh joins in for the second verse and that's when it gets super interesting! These girls could sing--and play with and off of each other almost magically well. Did they sell their souls to the devil? They can't be real! 20-year olds don't sing with this kind of maturity, do they?! (8.75/10)

9. "'Buy Or Beware'" (3:05) another upbeat, faster-paced rock song with piano and rhtyhm section pounding away at a brisk pace while the girls do their Mama Cass & Michele Phillips magic. If these songs were rated on vocals alone they'd pretty much all be earning full marks, but the music, though very good, is often less stellar. Clever pseudo- religious tongue-in-cheek lyrics. (9.25/10)

10. "Vile Excesses (3:14) a kind of progressive blues bass and drums opens this one before piano and percussion join in followed thereafter by the girls--at first together, then alternating (by channel). One of the more poorly recorded songs for the vocals but the instruments get a chance to really shine on this one--especially Clodagh's (poorly recorded) upright piano. (8.5/10)

11. "Lonely Man" (4:28) a little C & W twang to go with the rock foundation while Alison and Clodagh once again perform vocal magic. Even when singing in a more controlled, sedate fashion, they are mesmerizing for the interesting way they each render their tracks--and more, how they blend--how the whole comes out. (8.5/10)

12. "Boulders On My Grave" (3:40) a rocker that could compete with The WHO or The HOLLIES! Opens with full rock band supporting Clodagh and Alison's "la-di-da" and "na-na-na" scatting, respectively. Tru-ra-luraloo is mixed in there with some English lyrics as a chorus. What a show!(9/10)

Total time 42:57

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music, bluesy folk with one of the most amazing vocal duos ever put to record.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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