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Comedy Of Errors - Fanfare & Fantasy CD (album) cover

FANFARE & FANTASY

Comedy Of Errors

 

Neo-Prog

4.14 | 351 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Listening to this album makes me think of the Monty Python sketch where the old codgers are all comparing their childhood days and how the kids of today didn't know how well off they were. I first came across Comedy of Errors in the early Nineties, by which time they had already released some cassettes and were making a name for themselves in Scotland. But looking back twenty years it is hard to imagine that no-one, and I mean no-one, in popular media were writing about progressive rock, and the only way to find out what was going on was by going to gigs, buying fanzines, writing letters and talking to others in the scene. Yes, this was the time before the internet existed, and most of us didn't have email either. Back then I was spending quite a bit of time with Mark Colton (then just ex-Casual Affair, followed by Freewill, and now for many years Credo) which not only did wonders for my alcohol intake but ensured that I listened to some bands that otherwise I wouldn't have heard of. I am pretty sure that Graham Younger and the fanzine 'Blindsight' had some impact as well, while Keith Richardson also has plenty to answer for and between the three of them I got to hear one of C of E's albums quite a lot, and in particular the song 'The Student Prince, Part 1'.

Faced with the almost impossibility of getting media coverage outside of fanzines, it is no surprise that C of E faded away given that they were toiling at their craft in Scotland, which has never been widely known for their prog scene (yes, I know Fish is Scottish, and Pallas did make an impact while Abel Ganz also made an impression) and back then it was hard for prog bands to exist outside of the South, and in particular London. The underground scene was very insular and only those 'in the know' were privy to some stunning music and live performances.

But, thankfully the band are back in business with originals singer Joe Cairney, keyboard player (and songwriter) Jim Johnston and guitarist/bassist Mark Spalding being joined by drummer Bruce Levick and new member John Fitzgerald who has joined on bass but was too late to play on this album. Rob Aubrey was given the task of mixing and mastering this album, the second since they started playing again (I haven't heard the first). I was emailing Artur of MLWZ recently and said that I had yet to play this CD and he told me that I was in for a real treat when I did, so it soon made it to the player and I was transported. The only accurate description of this album is neo-prog, with loads of classic Marillion references, but that isn't really a surprise given that they would have had very similar influences themselves. They manage to come across as Gryphon in one number, while Kansas also have their impact, but all in all this is Comedy of Errors and I love it.

Great vocals? Check.

Harmonies? Check.

Musical hooks and interesting songs? Check.

Great musicianship throughout? Check and double check.

When it comes to the end of the year this album is going to be up there with Big Big Train for the number one slot in my mind. It just doesn't get much better than this. www.comedyoferrors.org

kev rowland | 5/5 |

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