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The Morrigan - Rides Out  CD (album) cover

RIDES OUT

The Morrigan

 

Prog Folk

3.70 | 13 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars The Morrigan rides high!

Five years after their debut album, The Morrigan returned with this album in 1990. The sound of the band had evolved considerably in the meantime and this album was a major step forward for the band. The Celtic and British Folk influences are still here to the same degree, but this is a radically more energetic, rocking, eclectic and progressive effort than the debut was. Steeleye Span and similar classic British Folk Rock bands are still the primary influences, but there is a much broader set of influences this time. This is Prog Folk as opposed to just Folk Rock. Still, this album manages to hold together really well and better so than subsequent albums by the band. Their eclecticism never goes out of hand and they seem to have a clear picture of where they wanted to go with this album. While the first album was rather anonymous and not very original (but still a good album of its kind), here the band seem to have found their own little niche and as such they could perhaps be seen as the predecessors of many more recent female-led bands that mixes Celtic Folk with progressive Rock.

One of the major changes compared to the debut is the addition of two additional band members, a drummer and another vocalist/keyboardist. While the debut album didn't have drums at all, the addition of a drummer to the line-up helps a lot to make the sound of the band much rockier. But it is not just traditional Rock drums, but also a plethora of more "exotic" percussion instruments. Another change is the stronger presence of various keyboards and Collin Masson's electric guitars. This brings with it a certain Camel resemblance. The mix between electric and acoustic and between traditional and modern elements is very successful and appealing. The presence of harpsichord, flutes and (what sounds like) accordion make for a full and interesting wall of sound. But the most important factor is the nature and quality of the material. The compositions are much more elaborate, much stronger melodically and thus more memorable and the nature of the music is a lot more energetic, lush and loud. It is hard to pick out specific songs as all of them are very good!

There are several people providing vocals to this album, but the fact that this album does not alternate between female and male lead vocals on different songs but mainly sticks with female lead vocals throughout makes it a lot more coherent and consistent than the other albums by the band. It is unclear to me who sings lead on what as all five members are credited for providing vocals as well as two guests also credited for vocals, but Cathy Alexander is presumably the lead vocalist and the others adding background and harmony vocals.

Rides Out was a major improvement over the previous Spirit Of The Soup and a major statement in its own right. This album is for me The Morrigan's best effort and an excellent one that deserves many repeated listens. It is really a shame that this band remains so overlooked.

Highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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