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Secret Green - To Wake the King CD (album) cover


Secret Green


Prog Folk

3.89 | 23 ratings

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4 stars What an unexpected pleasure it was to hear that Francis Lickerish had a new project on the go and was to release a new album as Secret Green. Lickerish will be well known to fans of The Enid having been one of the founding members back in the seventies and into the eighties. He's gathered together an excellent band featuring the ethereal vocal talents of Hilary Palmer who had briefly played with Lickerish back in the eighties in Rutterkin. Helping out Lickerish in the guitar department is Jon Beedle and on drums is matt Hodge. William Gilmour plays keyboards and Lickerish also plays some keyboards, lute and bass.

Not surprisingly Lickerish has brought his Enid influences into the music which is a refreshing blend of classical, symphonic prog and medieval folk. The music is brilliantly executed, the band creating an album of immense beauty. The sound is incredibly dynamic from powerful symphonic bombast to as quiet as you can imagine. This is no better demonstrated than on opener Prelude with its orchestral and extremely long fade in coming from total silence to a climatic crescendo topped by Lickerish's distinctive guitar sound. It's straight into the powerful opening of Ecchoing Green, a track of enormous breadth and containing all the grandeur of The Enids music with the added bonus of Hilary Palmers beautiful voice.

It's an album full of highlights over its 74 minutes though the first 3 tracks set a high standard that is never beaten but sometimes equalled. Palmers St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow chorister experience is put to good use, multi-tracking her voice to great effect on the excellent On Merlin's Ground, another track of extreme dynamics. Tom O'Bedlam by contrast is a relatively simpler piece with more of a folk influence than the more classically inspired tracks preceding it, though not abandoning the set tone altogether.

Without going into every track individually and repeating myself, you probably get the idea by now of the breadth and scope of this excellent album where the folk elements sit comfortably alongside the largely orchestrated music. If you have ever enjoyed the work of The Enid then To Wake The King is an album you'll almost certainly want to own. It's an album of immense originality with few if any parallels in music today apart from the inevitable Enid comparisons of course. An album destined to be one of the highlights of 2009.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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