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TornaoD - Orin CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.00 | 1 ratings

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4 stars Even on their 2002 debut, TORNAOD's succinctly imparted that they were not content to make folk or celtic music that could be calibrated on anyone's traditional or contemporary scale. Three years later, they returned with "Orin", and their ontogeny is ever more in evidence. This is a far more varied disk, indeed the most eclectic of the three releases to date, with a stirring organic blend of prog and Breton folk, generally intermingled rather than juxtaposed serially.

The title cut saunters out the gate with a methodical PINK FLOYD Influence which gives way to a fiddle valiantly attempting to avoid strangulation at the hands of a demented lead guitar. I think it survived and emerged the better for the struggle, as evidenced by its performance in "Fulor Ar Roc'h". Here it trades off with acoustic guitar before the group's trademark rhythm guitar, bombard and voice clasp the reins. Vocals on this album trade off between Breton and English.

Two of the highlights follow. First, the raucous "Keltia", one of several suavely arranged tracks that remind me of fellow Bretons MOTIS the others being the toe-tapping, finger snapping instrumental "Downtown Plouie" and the playful "Armou.. Amour". Then, the irresistible RUNRIG styled ballad "Kanavo" with its deliberate verse and sultry instrumental chorus on a much more plaintive violin than previously heard. It leads right into the much heavier "Arsenik, which kicks off with much promise but becomes mired in a morass of its own choosing around the halfway point of its 7 minutes. The same wordless theme is repeated way too often and it wasn't exactly a cracker to begin with.

Apart from the more creative arrangements and syntheses at play here, TORNAOD also handles the epic much more convincingly this time around. "Gwenva" clocks in at 19 minutes and its components segue more capably into one another than was previously the case. Each taken on its own is a pleasant trad-inspired and acquitted piece but they are intermingled with progressive panache. I cannot conclude this review without referring to the sweet ballad "Two of Cups", which serves up vocal harmonies for which the band is not normally known, backed principally by acoustic guitar and some tasteful keys.

I could do without the reels and mouth music in the middle, which might have worked on the debut but seem anachronistic here, and luckily the subsequent album largely dispenses with these aspects. Still, "Orin" is highly recommended as an entry point to the group's discography which has yielded three winners in as many tries to date.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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