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Twelfth Night - Fact And Fiction CD (album) cover


Twelfth Night



3.93 | 141 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Anyone who can use a typewriter for percussion is already ok in my book. TWELFTH NIGHT definitely straddled a little-used fence between progressive rock and post-punk/ new wave sounds. They are definitely more GARY NUMAN (Tubeway Army version rather than "Cars") than GENESIS, with the same pounding rhythms and sparse, brittle textures that characterize bands from JOY DIVISION to GANG OF FOUR- sharing with such bands also a political and social discontent in the lyrics.

The themes of nonconformity and alienation tie them in with PINK FLOYD and a few other prog bands of the era, and the length of the guitar solos as well as the duration of the songs bely an interest in exploring further than the punk paradigm normally permitted (ooo, I'm alliterating!), but that's really the extent of the progressive rock influence. This is clearly an early 80s post-punk album, as evidenced by the spartan machine-like drums, the shrill synth pads, the sequenced basslines and unprocessed raw feel of the vocal tracks.

The usual problem with the D.I.Y. punk influence is that the end result sometimes sounds a tad amateurish; that plus the fact that if you don't care for his voice or his message, you're out of luck- there's a lot of it. He rarely stops singing, or talking, long enough for the music to be much more than accompaniment. There are indeed a few impressive moments: "World Without End" is quite nice, if formless, and "The Poet Sniffs a Flower" has an eerie haunting feel, at first. "Creepshow" has a chilling soundtrack to lyrics that compare to "Karn Evil 9"'s sideshow shilling. In the spoken sections he almost sounds like a more coherent Mark E. Smith (THE FALL), but the guitar solo and backing is quite FLOYDian. "We are Sane" and "Fact and Fiction" could sit comfortably in a 1982 playlist between OUR DAUGHTER'S WEDDING and OMD's "Architecture and Morality". "Love Song" is the most accesible sound on the album, with more full production and a relatively conventional form.

Get the picture yet? If you like both minimalist post-punk bands and progressive rock, you may find this worth checking out. It's not wonderfully innovative or creative, and it doesn't reward repeated listenings the way more textural prog will. It is, however, extremely unique and a grand counterpoint to the over-produced, under-inspired commercial releases that the first generation of prog bands were turning out at the time. I'm glad I heard it, I'm glad I have it, but it's not going to be in heavy rotation on my playlist.

James Lee | 3/5 |


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