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Fruupp - Modern Masquerades CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.24 | 113 ratings

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4 stars This is a thoroughly winning candidate for "unknown prog jewel from the Golden Era (the very early 70's)" category and it should take its rightful place among the glitterati seated at the fabled Pantheon of Prog fame. There are some amazing "second tier" bands that were not that famous yet left behind some shinny moments (Solution, Trace, Ange, Atoll, PFM, Nova, Eloy, Triumvirat, Greenslade, Druid, Gryphon etc...). Fruupp from bleak, civil war-torn Northern Ireland were a fine set of musicians that had a quaint positive elegance that contrasts strongly with the doom-laden social atmosphere at the time. Proof again that prog does have honorable and curative powers and is not shy to display them in a perhaps misunderstood cocky way. Pretentiousness is valid only if there is no talent! Here, the sheer quality of the breezy musicianship is intoxicatingly attractive, from the solid foundation of drummer Martin Foye and his hyper-active bassist partner Peter Farrelly , whose voice is crushingly poignant as well , while keyboardist John Mason decorates with shining precision, never too flashy but clearly always elegant (especially his electric piano work that is really stunning). Guitarist Vince McCusker provides a raw, bluesier axe ride, closer perhaps to Martin Barre that fails not to please. The first 2 tracks are a concise indication that this will be a most astonishing event! Both "Misty Morning Way" and "Masquerading with Dawn" are jaw droppers while enticing the listener with unexpected reflections of passionate prog. The highlight composition is certainly the 10 minute "Gormenghast", a wholly appetizing slice of progressive rock with some Focus-like tempos, delicately weaving within the soundscapes provided by some stellar piano and sax, McCusker's fretboard glowing brightly, with incredible restraint. "Mystery Night" is creepily strange, hence sounding a tad outdated with all that muffled sound so prevalent at the time, dense cottony organ runs, until an angelic voice of irrepressible beauty enters the fray, the piano dancing in apparent glee , all waltzing to a melody that shapes the soul. It gets heavier midway through, massive waves of drum-propelled mellotron blasts, while the equestrian bass gallops off into the sunset, laying down some bopping furrows that are shockingly good! The raspy organ solo then shines some bluesy boogie into the picture; the guitar chugging along "funky" style; I mean this is 'fabulastic stuff'! "Why" is a short interlude, a simply unselfish ballad, undyingly fragile with its sorrowful attestation of honest love (oh! the na´vetÚ!) with a heavenly voice from Farrelly, piano again providing the musical backbone. A lovely piece of music! The very brief and very infantile "Janet Planet is typical of the region, almost like pub sing-along music that is cute but really nothing prog! "Sheba's Song" is an 8 minute closer that has some superior moments cruising though some scintillating drumming Ó la Michael Giles, a sweet guitar loop that breeds well with the resonant e-piano droplets, a successful little jazz/romp mid-section where Mason really proves my e-point resolutely. This is a severe omission if it's not in any serious collection, this being an altogether valiant and pleasant journey back into a time when things were not like they are today (don't get me going!!!). These Irish lads made vibrant music when apathy and hate ruled this part of the globe, they are to be lauded and applauded, especially if its sounds dated. 4.5 Eyes Wide Shut!
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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