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Malicorne - Almanach CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.88 | 49 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars When approaching decades old material heard for the first time, one must resist the temptation to compare it to those who came after but were known first. Also, although an album's present appeal is what counts most, one must also factor in its influence and ingenuity at the time. In the case of MALICORNE's "breakthrough" third album, all of these aspects are brought to bear. Gabriel and Marie Yacoub advanced the Breton prog folk cause with their precise and uniquely dour medieval style, but they also sound like they were listening to STEELEYE SPAN's "Parcel of Rogues" while stoned, and are still in an altered state today.

Yes indeed this is Brittany's answer to that Steeleye classic which appeared a couple of years earlier, from the herky jerky guitars, violins, a cappella male and female voices to the dirge like rhythms, minimal drums and profound respect for the living and evolving tradition. And while its epic tracks are the highlights - particularly the ponderous "Ecolier Assassin", the eerie "Le Luneux" and the Allison Gross-like closer "La fiancee du timbalier", MALICORNE conjures more atmosphere than a Shakespearean witch. Even if the overall musical mood is considerably more morose than that of Steeleye (and as a result more consistent with the ominous lyrics), and a bit more so than I would like, they do loosen the corset for the GRYPHON like "Branle de la Haie".

Lest you leave with the impression that Yacoub's longstanding project was nothing but a very good rehash of someone else's pet project, may I first say that they managed to forge a clear identity with this, their third disk, and inspired many artists to come, including many from my native Quebec - GAROLOU for instance - where I know they toured at least once. While it might be harder for a hardened fan of 1970s folk rock to enthusiastically endorse MALICORNE on first listen, this disk belongs in everyone's almanac of significant progressive folk music.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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