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The Wishing Tree - Carnival of Souls CD (album) cover


The Wishing Tree


Prog Related

3.26 | 32 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars "... too gently too remember"

The Wishing Tree is a side-project of Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery and vocalist Hannah Stobart. The group also features Pete Trewavas from Marillion on bass and Paul Craddick on drums. The discrete and sparse keyboards are shared by Rothery and Craddick. Given Rothery's leadership of the group, you might expect this to be a guitar-heavy album. But in reality Rothery's distinctive lead guitar rarely takes centre stage here and when it appears at all it often has a merely supportive role. Instead, the sound of The Wishing Tree relies heavily on acoustic guitars and Stobart's delightful vocals. The music of Carnival Of Souls is very gentle and soft and it stays far away from any kind of instrumental workouts that might be expected of a Marillion-offshoot.

In The Wishing Tree, Rothery stays firmly within conventional song structures and firmly outside Prog. What we get here though is a set of pleasant, well-written, mellow Pop/Rock songs with a slight folky nature, all excellently executed. The opening track is probably the closest we get to anything that might be labelled Prog related on this album and this is also the song with the strongest presence of electric guitar. Starfish is a cute little acoustic love song with a lovely vocal performance from Stobart. Sadly, the lyrics are too saccharine for my taste. Musically, the song might perhaps be compared to After You from Marillion's Seasons End album. But really only the purely acoustic parts of that song.

There is definitely an audience for this kind of music, but probably not so much among us who visit this site on a regular basis. People who are fond of female singer/songwriters might love this album, but fans of Rothery's daytime job or fans of Prog Rock in general are bound to find the music of The Wishing Tree undemanding and too conventional to be really interesting. If there is a distinction to be made between hearing music and listening to music, then the present album is one for hearing only.

It is clear that both love and skill went into this nice little album and Carnival Of Souls is indeed an enjoyable hearing. But it is also a wholly unchallenging one and can thus only be recommended to people who have with a special interest in folky Pop/Rock music as well as to Steve Rothery's most ardent followers.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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