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Strawbs - Hero And Heroine CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.16 | 303 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Incredibly decided to buy Hero and Heroine just a few days ago, and after several decades as a fan of the STRAWBS, a decision I delayed mostly because without Hudson and Ford I thought this would be an inferior attempt of Cousins and Lambert to keep the name alive?..Gladly I have to admit it was a big mistake, the album is simply fantastic from start to end, the beautiful voice of Dave Cousins and the magic Mellotron of the former RENAISSANCE keyboardist John Hawken are able not only to keep the magic alive, but to raise the bar even more.

The album is opened by the mini suite . Autumn: Heroine's Theme, Deep Summer's Sleep, The Winter Long blending the ability of the two Daves (Cousins and Lambert) with the acoustic guitar and the wizardry of Hawken in the keyboards, a perfect blend of Acoustic Folk, Gothic Music (understood as late Middle Age) and Symphonic Prog with a heartbreaking Mellotron performance.

But that's not all, around the fifth minute, a beautiful piano passage marks a radical change with a melancholic vocal work, perfectly supported by the rhythm section, along with The Hangman and the the best STRAWBS song.

Sad Young Man is more the kind of music we can expect from the band, pastoral, calmed and melodic with the usual trouvadoresque singing, but again Hawkens caught me by surprise with an outstanding organ solo. But what really impressed m,e is the way in which they play with the contrasts between this song and the faster rock oriented Just Love, by this moment its' obvious for me that we are not before a collection of great songs but in front of a coherent and well balanced album recorded with great taste.

As in the previous tracks, the guys work with the contrast between the folksy and almost acoustic Shine On Silver Sun based in the unique voice of cousins and soft piano complemented by the pompous and impressive Hero And Heroine, an electric and upbeat folk song, that reminds me of the days when Wakeman was in the band, again the STRAWBS hit the nail right in the head.

Midnight Sun and Cousins voice make me think in singer-songwriters like CAT STEVENS or AL STEWART, but of course the arrangements and delicate guitar performances make it unique. A characteristic that is boosted by the radical difference with the more dramatic Out in the Cold, a good song that could had been better with stronger arrangements and avoiding the extra sweet keyboards. Still wouldn't call it a bad track, just a bit.

Round and Round took me by surprise because it's so hard to define, heavier guitars and aggressive keyboards combined with a Folk/Medieval melodic tune, please pay special attention to the perfect interplay between Chas Cronk (Bass) and Rod Coombes in the drums, by this point, the band is working as a well-oiled machine, with each musician doing his part and even more.

The album ends with the unusually heavy Lay A Little Light On Me a track with a spectacular structure, because the intensity and drama go in crescendo to match perfectly with Hero's Theme, creating almost another mini epic that closes the album brilliantly.

Even though my album has two stupendous bonus themes, I will base my review solely in the original songlist, because that's the way the band made Hero and Heroine to be listened, and God.......They made a great job. Until today I used to believe that the excellent From The Witchwood was the peak of the STRAWBS career, but I changed my mind, doesn't matter if I couldn't find names as Hudson, Ford or Wakeman, this new lineup created a musical gem that deserves no less than 5 solid stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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