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John Holden - Kintsugi CD (album) cover


John Holden



4.09 | 28 ratings

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4 stars Another impeccably-realized collection of uniquely-perspective sonic adventures from one of England's most uniquely reverential voices.

1. "Achilles" (10:48) a gorgeous song in which That Joe Payne puts on exhibit the most restrained and mature vocal performance that I've heard from him to date--a performance that is so perfect for this music and subject as to be so emotionally powerful! At the end of the seventh minute, the music shifts in direction into something much heavier, much more in-your-face, for a brief minute until rejoining the atmospheric, almost New Age keyboard-based motif of the opening two sections. Incredible multi-layered and multi-faceted vocal performance by Joe Payne. (18.667/20)

2. "Ringing the Changes" (3:43) light-hearted music over which Sally Minnear sings. There is almost a Christmas carol feel to this, though the song subject seems much more quotidian--like a Victorian poem of everyday life. Captures a time and style not our own impeccably. (9/10)

3. "Kintsugi" (7:04) one forgets how similar Dave Longdon's voice was to that of Peter Jones until one hears a song like this: so similar to a Big Big Train song, a fair BBT train song at that. (12.75/15)

4. "Flying Train" (5:33) a nice instrumental that opens with a voice sample from a man speaking in German. Apparently it's a song commemorating the prediction of flying trains. (8.667/10)

5. "Xenos (5:43) another very pretty little BBT-like song. (8.75/10)

6. "Against the Tide" (5:27) a little jazz-pop song that sounds like Al Jarreau, Ambrosia's David Pack, or Phil Collins should be singing. (8.667/10)

7. "Peggy's Cove" (4:21) after a mood-setting Celtic opening, a more African-rhythm establishes a musical feel more akin to something by Peter Gabriel, Sally Minnear's lilting little voice soon establishes the fact that we're singing about a legendary person who may (or may not) have survived a shipwreck that happened long ago in Nova Scotia. Cute and catchy little sea ditty! (8.75/10)

8. "Building Heaven" (11:34) opens with a very classical theatric orchestral feel before Sally Minnear's (purposefully?) youthful voice starts singing in a "Who Will Buy?" kind of style (and setting). Flutes and 12-string guitars help fill the gentle, pastoral feel as Sally introduces a story of war and tribulation that is intended as a tribute to illustrate the professed mission of Jesus of Nazareth. The song goes instrumental for about five minutes, from the four-minute mark and its air raid sirens and distant bomb explosions to the gentle guitar and keyboard arpeggio-supported point at which Dave Bainbridge's soaring electric guitar announces the arrival of a chorus and choral weave of Peter Jones, Joe Payne, and Sally Minnear singing praises of Christ's mission to "Build Heaven." Interesting but ultimately packing far less of a punch than I think might have been intended. Methinks this could have been built into something much more grand, more expanded and multi-faceted. (17.25/20)

Total Time 54:13

I have, from the beginning of John's presence in Prog World, often felt a very strong background in religious music to John's style of composition and sound construction--as if he is writing from a background or perspective of someone who has come from or lives in a monastic or religious life. On this, his fourth studio album, I fear John has fallen into the Big Big Train/Galahad pattern of historical worship.

B/four stars; a very nice excursion through some very pleasant songs realised with the utmost care and perfection-- songs that sometimes fall a bit short of "prog expectations". Still, a very nice addition to any prog lover's music collection--one that will probably deliver little gems and subtleties for many listens.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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