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Woolly Wolstenholme's Maestoso - One Drop In A Dry World CD (album) cover


Woolly Wolstenholme's Maestoso


Eclectic Prog

3.17 | 13 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Maestoso is the band fronted by ex-Barclay James Harvest keyboards player Woolly Wolstenholme. 2004's "One Drop in a Dry World" was the first music from Woolly to be released for over 20 years, following his long sabbatical from the music business. lyrical mood belied its title.

"One Drop" is an album that is musically rich but, in contrast to 2005's "Grim", Woolly seems to have been suffering a great deal of angst that he has vented into his lyrics. Thankfully that does not detract from the enjoyment of the album. The music is often sublime, even on the lyrically darkest pieces, so that some of the highlights actually occur as he pours his heart out. For instance, "It's U", a lyrically vitriolic attack on another's viewpoint, has a really catchy tune; "The End of the Road", chronicling the end of a relationship, has a beautifully haunting melody; "Carpet", full of a lyrical bitterness that eschews the sentiments in "Harbour" (one of Woolly's love songs for BJH's "XII" album), ends the album on a powerful, rocky, spiralling mix of guitar and keyboards.

All the songs are credited to Woolly with the exception of "Souk", co-written with Steve Broomhead, the band's fine lead guitarist.. This is a rocky song with an eastern flavour and it's a contender for "best track" along with "Blood and Bones", a brooding song about the meaning of life, and "A Waiting Game".

As is typical of Woolly, "One Drop" showcases a number of musical styles so it's almost inevitable that most listeners will at some stage stop and think "what the ****?" For me "ANSS" and ""The Starving People of the World All Thank You for Your Time" are two such moments. I suppose the musical treatment on "ANSS" is appropriate to the message Woolly is trying to convey but I'm glad that "One Drop" is not full of "Woolly does reggae" moments! "The Starving People." is actually quite effective, in that the title is the only lyric and is repeated mantra-fashion such that it eats its way into your brain - probably more effective than lots of clever words that would have been instantly forgotten.

Despite these moments and the angst in many of the lyrics what remains in the memory are the beautiful melodies and the superlative keyboards complemented by fine lead guitar. Overall, this is an excellent album. It is a great shame that Woolly had such a long sabbatical from music; all we can now do is enjoy every new release and hope that his legacy lasts.

alextorres | 4/5 |


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