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The Enid - Touch Me CD (album) cover

TOUCH ME

The Enid

 

Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 83 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I was listening to an old Holy Modal Rounders album this morning, which is brilliant American folk revival music but something you can only do for limited periods of time at a stretch. In looking to something to cleanse my aural palette I tossed on 'Touch Me' since the Enid is about as far removed from the Rounders sound as you can get and I already listened to 'Aerie Faerie Nonsense' last week so that one is off the rotation for a while.

With 'Touch Me' Robert John Godfrey begins the gradual but steady injection of rock influences into the decidedly Wagnerian classical drama the band introduced with 'Aerie Faerie Nonsense'. Here there are only two compositions, both multi-part epics deeply rooted in classical construction but leveraging Francis Lickerish and Stephen Stewart's folk and rock-rooted guitar riffs to a greater degree than on the previous work. But just slightly more so.

The four-part "Charades" once again shows Godfrey in firm control of the band's artistic voice with lengthy and lush piano passages dominating throughout, and particularly on "Elegy" which is subtitled as the title track. While that passage is quite beautiful in its single-mindedness I much prefer the closing "Gallavant" section of this suite with its liberal use of lush synthesized strings, stilted organ and dramatic percussion. Like one earlier reviewer I've read, I also find myself feeling as if I'm witness to the soundtrack for a 1930s MGM grand film production. This isn't the sort of music you're likely to listen to as anything other than a backdrop to something else you're doing, but as such it sets a pleasant enough mood and I for one find it to be a great Sunday morning contemplative piece.

"Albion" on the other hand comes off as more like Disney music ala 'Fantasia' or some of the earlier jerky-motion black and white cartoon films. The production is less grand owning mostly to the unduly long introduction portion and the recurring woodwind/string passages Godfrey expertly pounds out on his digital keyboards. Great stuff from a classical sense, but not quite progressive rock to be sure.

These early Enid albums are as tough to classify as Joe Jackson's later (post-'Big World') instrumental works are: while the musicians, recording labels and packaging say 'art rock', the music belies this and we are left with what are actually contemporary classical works. If you're a fan of Jon Lord, Rick Wakeman and the like you may find this and the other 1970s Enid albums appealing; if not, start with their first album and work your way through the years until you're either hooked or become disinterested. Three stars out of five.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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