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Woolly Wolstenholme's Maestoso - Grim CD (album) cover

GRIM

Woolly Wolstenholme's Maestoso

 

Eclectic Prog

3.76 | 12 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

alextorres
4 stars Maestoso is the band fronted by ex-Barclay James Harvest keyboards player Woolly Wolstenholme. "Grim", the latest of the three albums released under Maestoso's name, is a masterful collection of songs and music of different styles, knitted together by Woolly's ability with arrangements - the end result is anything but grim!

I always have a problem defining musical styles. Maestoso are billed as a "progressive rock" band. I prefer to think of their music as "pastoral symphonic rock". The sound and feel are very "English" and remind me of the early BJH album "BJH and Other Short Stories". Woolly's never been one for keyboard histrionics, preferring the always- tasteful and appropriate selection of Mellotron or other keyboard sounds to provide the symphonic thread that helps give these diverse songs a cohesive album feel.

Whilst Woolly is the dominating influence on "Grim", this is very much a band album, with Steve Broomhead (guitars) and Kim Turner (drums) contributing to writing material. Steve and Kim have worked with Woolly before, contributing to his excellent "solo" album (entitled "Maestoso", like this band's name) in the early 80s. They are joined here by Craig Fletcher on bass to complete the Maestoso band. I particularly like the interplay between Steve's guitar work and Woolly's keyboard sounds. The rhythm section of Craig and Kim works well too.

Woolly's singing sounds a little strained on a couple of occasions but it never detracts from the excellence of the songs or of the album. My favourites (at the moment!) are the wonderful "Through a Storm"; "A Lark"; " Hebden Bridge"; the up-tempo "Location Location Location"; the spooky "Iceman Cometh" and the gorgeous duet with Susanna d'Arcy, "Pas de Deux" (where the lyrics belie the beautiful music - that's Woolly's humour for you!).

On this form, Woolly has much to contribute both to Maestoso and to John Lees's BJH, with whom he is touring in November. He is currently busy writing new material so we can expect to hear more from Maestoso in the near future. Grim?.No! Grin?.yes!!

alextorres | 4/5 |

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