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Colin Mold - Girl on the Castle Steps CD (album) cover


Colin Mold


Prog Folk

3.86 | 25 ratings

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5 stars What a fascinating creature this Girl on the castle steps! On the 'Prelude', shimmering halos of ethereal sounds find words wrapped in elegant beauty. No pressure to perform or otherwise impress other than infusing the magical violin into a musical realm that encompasses a glorious past and align it with modern home technology and the result is something beyond magic! The folk sensibility is evident within the strong song based formula espoused by Colin Mold, a musician that understands mood, melody and atmosphere by relying on a profound sense of melancholia, as well as the classic instrumentations that bedeck the legendary British progressive folk music scene. Another of those hidden, unknown gems that is always a thrill to discover, Colin is a music teacher, artist, multi-instrumentalist as well as a new member of Karnataka, one of the UK leading proponents of symphonic female vocalist fronted bands. The Welsh band certainly has a following in Europe and is due for some new release soon. If Mold can add the talent displayed here to that endeavor, it will be a monster!

The suave ripples of the sumptuous 'Green and Gold' carry a breathtaking melody that is achingly attractive, with haunting vocals that recall a more robust Peter Sinfield and lyrics that have obvious emotive oomph! And the violin played on ... Such a pleasure when the stringed beast is given the platform to articulate the most stirring of human emotions.

Folk-based songs like 'Chasing Rainbows', 'Blown Away' and the penultimate track 'Realm of the Fire' all reflect the traditional tradition that is so rooted in Welsh, Brit, Scot and Irish culture. The result is always satisfying as there is always a story to be told.

On the epic opus 'View from the Mountain' the true essence of Mold craft comes into the light, velvety melodies egged by vaporous playing seek to entrance and succeeds doing so by adding ripping electric guitar solos that truly coat this piece with that distinct progginess we all pray for. The orchestrations are luxuriant, theatrical and imposing. His vocals recall a sense of grandeur and urgent that is quite addictive. And the violin played on'.. 'Storm Dance' may be the rockiest tune on the album but it's also the best, a whirling dervish rhythm with insistent guitars and Middle Eastern motifs, delicious piano appearing so eloquently, huge waves of string synths colliding in the background, finalized by bold returns to the main guitar-driven chorus, this is really heavenly stuff! Bookended by some storm effects for good measure! Bravo!

The lyrics are meaningful; the singing is in rapture mode, especially on the majestic 'By the Lake' with its colossal highlight reel chorus whilst the music remains mysterious and grandiose. A song that will sear itself to your brain in no time. And to prove that we are in the presence of something sensational, the title track conspires to steal our hearts with an emotional musical outburst that has all the tools, baby! A brilliant folk based song with utterly gorgeous lyrics and sultry singing, the pleading violin in tow'A slithering, misty guitar solo finishes off this stunning piece. I mean WOW!

The exciting epic finale is 'Ancestral Song' and with that ubiquitous title, the mold (excuse the obvious pun!) is set, we are in the presence of a fantastic artist who deserves wider and immediate recognition. Once again we are falling seduced by a wondrous melody, a gorgeous vocal line and sumptuous playing. Yeah, that darn' violin again, bubba! The material has a melancholic vibe, 'on the headstone of history' he sings but the fluid guitar, the powerful voice and the haunting chorus do the rest. Just exemplary music.

Comparisons are near impossible, as the songs are quite unique and original, there are however , for arguments sake, slight vocal hints of Al Stewart, Justin Hayward, Dave Cousins, Iona, early Chris deBurgh, Ian Broudie of 80s pop band Lightning Seeds and musically, Anthony Phillips. The man has a lush voice, not overbearing but that knows how to resonate (like Greg Lake in the late 60s!). What a lovely package indeed!

5 Telephone fungi

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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