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Gryphon - Midnight Mushrumps CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.69 | 204 ratings

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3 stars Gryphon certainly are not for everyone, but they do have a very charming sound on this album. Although if you're not in the mood, it's too easy to tune out their happy, medieval style, when you are paying attention, it's hard not to be impressed by the sheer variety of instruments, with various flutes, all the krummhorn you can handle, and plenty of additional texture from the harpsichord, bassoon, and other winds. Perhaps I'd benefit from seeing some of these songs live, so that when I listen, I can picture the band switching between instruments and then be more appreciative of the different sounds produced.

Though the epic title track does not come out and grab you like parts of Red Queen, I believe it's on par with the quality of that album. It's just a more measured, casually paced journey than the general craziness of Red Queen, and only building to a moderate-intensity finale. However, there is a unique richness due to the variety of instruments that really keeps my attention (of course, when it's just the guitar, things do indeed get a bit boring). In addition, although the order of the sections--particularly the middle ones--seems a bit haphazard, they do transition to one another reasonably well.

The B side contains more traditional length songs and is somewhat forgettable. In some ways, they remind me of Gentle Giant-type non-rock songs, but without the attention deficit factor that characterizes the Giant. I'm glad they expanded on the epic songwriting in subsequent albums, although I think their shorted pieces would improve as well (such as on Raindance).

The following two albums (Red Queen and Raindance) are generally better than Mushrumps, but I think proggers who enjoy those albums will find a slightly different--and enjoyable--dimension of Gryphon to be found on Midnight Mushrumps.

Break out some ale and a turkey leg and enjoy some Midnight Mushrumps as a worth nightcap!

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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