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HERO AND HEROINE

Strawbs

 

Prog Folk

4.14 | 207 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Hero And Heroine has been another one of those pleasant surprises that the Prog Folk genre had to offer me so far, even though it's debatable whether this particular release actually follows the sub-genre's blueprint all that much.

From the first moments of the opening multi-part mini-epic we are transported to those magnificent realms of Symphonic Prog that dominated that music scene of the time. The luscious sounds of Mellotron enter the room and make me almost believe that Rick Wakeman had returned to the band for another go, which was unfortunately not so. The first melodic section of the composition does bear an uncanny resemblance to King Crimson's masterpiece Epitaph, but once Dave Cousins vocals come in they quickly remove all traces of that comparison, turning this into a minor masterpiece of its own!

Just like on all the classic the Strawbs albums, Dave Cousins dominates the scenery with his very beautiful vocal delivery, which I originally wanted to compare to that of Procol Harum's Gary Brooker's for its sheer originality, but I honestly can't help hearing that certain Peter Gabrielesque vibe in his voice here. Even though we don't get any more longer pieces throughout the rest the album the material still manages, for most part, to keep an excellent flow all the way to the end. The only notable exception to the rule comes with Dave Lambert's simple rocker called Just Love. This song brings nothing new or interesting to the band's already well established sound and only makes me wonder it actually made the cut.

It definitely shows that Cousins was on top of his craft since even the shorter, simpler tunes like Shine On Silver Sun and Out In The Cold sound almost as interesting as the more complex pieces. Speaking of complexity, the albums title track is another highly enjoyable progressive rock tune, featuring acoustic verse sections that only brings a slight reminder of the Strawbs Prog Folk roots.

Lay A Little Light On Me is where I honestly start to believe that Peter Gabriel was in the studio and recorded the lead vocals on the track. Of course, once the post-verse instrumental section kicks in it becomes clear that the Strawbs were in a slightly more sinister mood when composing this song. The transition into the album's final song, Hero's Theme, is just beautiful and brings a complete feeling of joy to my overall experience of this record.

Hero And Heroine was my first and most accomplished experience of this band's music featuring everything I would want of an excellent Symphonic Rock album with only a slight touch of Prog Folk added to it. Simply put, an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection!

***** star songs: Autumn: Heroine's Theme, Deep Summer's Sleep, The Winter Long (8:30) Hero And Heroine (3:29) Hero's Theme (2:28)

**** star songs: Sad Young Man (4:08) Shine On Silver Sun (2:47) Midnight Sun (3:06) Out In The Cold (3:19) Round And Round (4:44) Lay A Little Light On Me (3:27)

*** star songs: Just Love (3:41)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |

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