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The Morrigan - Spirit Of The Soup CD (album) cover

SPIRIT OF THE SOUP

The Morrigan

 

Prog Folk

3.06 | 10 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Spirit Of The Soup' - The Morrigan (5/10)

The middle of the 1980s is certainly not a time all too many people remember as a great time for Celtic rock. While the airwaves were largely dominated by the darlings of the then- infantile MTV, UK progressive folk band The Morrigan began their musical journey in earnest. Originally coming to the music of this band through the more recent solo work of their guitarist Colin Masson, I was quite intrigued to listen to The Morrigan, and have started my journey with their 1985 debut, 'Spirit Of The Soup'. While the atmospheric Celtic vibe is here in gratuitous amounts, 'Spirit Of The Soup' does really give the impression of being the work of a band that is still trying to get their feet on the ground.

'Spirit' is comprised of a series of tracks which typically make use of Celtic instrumentation and lyrical storytelling, courtesy of the brilliantly fitting voice of Cathy Alexander. Each song is a mellow outing, driven by ambient keyboards, whistles and acoustic guitars. There is even a tinge of a new wave sound in some tracks, such as the opener 'Cold Haily Windy Night', which features a pumped bass line under waves of guitar flanger. Most of these tracks are quiet and ambient however, relying almost entirely on the voice of Alexander for melody and hooks. Unfortunately, while some of these songs do amount to some authentic Celtic beauty, very few of the tracks ever feel as if they're completed pieces, instead coming across more like musical ideas thrown into a mix and put on record.

While the tracks rarely feel like completed compositions, a few manage to get a very nice lyrical theme going on for them. 'Cold Blows The Wind' is one of my favourites from this album; an acoustic ballad telling the story of a lost love. Being of a Celtic origin myself, I am well-versed in this style of traditional songwriting, and The Morrigan gives an authentic feeling here. The album generally suffers from being too mellow and lacks the energy throughout that endears so many to the Celtic traditional music. A few pieces of music get the caffeine flowing, such as 'Dribbles Of Brandy'; a fast paced ditty led onward by the recorder.

I cannot say that The Morrigan has given the greatest impression with 'Spirit Of The Soup' due to its feeling of incompletion as an album, as well as its incredibly mellow approach. However, while the album may not necessarily be entirely enjoyable from start to finish, the album is a raw palette of some charming ideas. Fortunately, the band's style would go on to be developed greatly upon latter albums.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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