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Woven Hand - The Laughing Stalk CD (album) cover


Woven Hand


Prog Folk

3.32 | 9 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars As now-usual, WH's albums are fairly noticeable in the mass of new releases, because it (they) has(ve) a fairly unique and well-thought-out artwork (courtesy of guitarist Charlie French), this time a corn plant on a shining yellow-green background, which shows DEE's very pastoral background. His band is still unchanged, with French, Garrison, Linsermeir as the usual acolytes, but bassist Humbert is replaced with Garcia. And indeed, there isn't much to distinguish sonically Laughing Stalk from its predecessors Threshingfloor or Ten Stones, except maybe that the present is generally faster-paced. A first of WH and DEE, this album actually come with the song's lyrics, something that actually dawned on DEE after releasing that anecdotic six-track reworks plus the entire WH lyrics until then. I'm not sure this is a good idea, though, because it was rather convenient not to analyse (and ignore) DEE's usually proselyte and religious-obsessed mumbo-jumbo.

Musically, there isn't much to say that hasn't been said on his previous two albums - and my embarrassing scribbles about them. We're far away from the semi-medieval-sounding tracks of Mosaic (still my fave by far), and still in a slightly folky (at times anyway) alternative rock, but DEE's banjo twiddles are relatively rare on TLS. Indeed, at times, we're facing some Neil Young-like fiery guitar licks (King O King) courtesy of French or the slightly calmer Closer. One of the better track is Maize (obviously the title track in disguise given the album's artwork), a fairly solemn track with some timely piano mixed in.

Not any better or any worse than his previous albums, one might wonder what would be the point to get TLS, when you've heard it all elsewhere in the band's discography. Of course, if you're an unconditional fan, no doubt TLS will be yet another indispensable album, but for me, it's not essential, so I was happy to borrow it from the library. In other words, if you're only going to buy one WH product this year, you might want to check out their Live At Roepaen album.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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