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Fruupp - Modern Masquerades CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.24 | 113 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars John Mason replaced Stephen Houston for this Fruupp album, which I consider to be a mild return to form after the disappointing two previous albums. Steering towards the mainstream crossover end of the symphonic spectrum, the band manage to incorporate other genres into their music rather better this time around (with a jazz jam breaking out in Mystery Might), perhaps thanks to the guiding hand of Ian McDonald (who produced the album and provides saxophone interjections).

The second half of the album is probably weaker - Mystery Might is padded out a bit much, Why is a limp torch song, Janet Planet is cabaret nonsense and Sheba's Song goes nowhere. The first three tracks, however, are a crossover-pastoral tour de force, the first two tracks integrating Fruupp's cabaret flirtations much more smoothly than usual and Gormenghast being a full prog rock epic, with a hint of Canterbury about the edges and a direction not unlike that Camel would take in the later years of the decade. Here John Mason's more subtle keyboard style works to the album's advantage, allowing the other instrumentalists in the band a chance to take the spotlight to an extent they hadn't before.

On balance, I have to give this one two stars because I just can't stand the second side, but there's a solid four-star side 1 here married to a weak one-to-two star second half. It's a shame Fruupp never recaptured the high standards of their debut, and I'm inclined to blame their crazy work schedule - recording four albums in the space of one and a half years, during which they not only had to find a replacement lead singer and keyboardist but also undertook tours with hard-working megastars like Genesis and Queen. I don't think any band could be seriously expected to write high-quality new material under such a gruelling schedule, and it's no surprise to me that the band burned out. Had they taken things a bit more slowly, who knows where they could have gone?

Warthur | 2/5 |


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