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Horrific Child - L'étrange Mr. Whinster CD (album) cover

L'ÉTRANGE MR. WHINSTER

Horrific Child

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

2.72 | 13 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

One of those mega-rare albums that got erected into some kind of a "darkest and spookiest" myth, probably mostly for price reasons by whomever happened to own a few copies and hoped to cash in. With an almost laughably-bad artwork, this album was released in 78 on the Eurodisc label in small quantities and sunk without a trace. Almost forgotten, the semi-legit Finder's Keepers did a fantastic research job for the booklet of this album CD-release's booklet, even it does increase the horror/dark side unreasonably more than it should. They even managed to add two bonus tracks on the album's original three tracks

This so-called concept album is more like a would-be horror movie soundtrack if the film had ever been shot. In some ways this "plight" would actually be a good thing since the music would make more sense than if it had been the soundtrack of the film with all of the moments that wouldn't translate well onto image-less vinyl. Yet, despite this "advantage" this is still quite disjointed, senseless and not quite as spooky as "advertised" by its reputation. Indeed the spookiness comes from the vocals and texts, but not much from the music itself. Indeed HC's music is dwarfed in the spooky music department by Shub- Niggurath or Present/UZ. The music itself is sometimes interesting with moments reminiscent of Floyd and others of Yes (with a bit of imagination), but overall they have their own psych-proto-prog sound, not too far away from an Arthur Brown, with an ethnic flavour in the opening Frayeur and its African chants and rhythms.

Where things go awry are the vocals and narratives that, if you have good notions of French, are almost laughable in their naivety ruin the credibility of the music, even delving in the Maldoror myth. The whole thing (music + words) are relatively demonstrative and illustrative, something that Belgium's 48 Cameras managed similarly on a few of their albums as well. The sidelong HLA track has some strings at the start, but they're absolutely no ropes that wilml rivet and fix you down to your armchair, despite it being the highlight of the album., but bears the influence of A Saucerful Of Gumma. Another comparison point would a slightly more laughable Black widow debut, but less fun music- wise.

The two short bonus tracks are much in the line of the album, and you wouldn't know that they were tacked on as extras soundwise, if it wasn't indicated so in the booklet. Of limited interest, but not completely devoid of qualities, but musically this sounds more like 69-71 than 78-79. Unless liking "gothic" ambiances, better stay away.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |

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