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Twelfth Night - Early Material (Second tape album) CD (album) cover


Twelfth Night


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3 stars The demo known as Early Material, the Second Tape Album, the Electra Tape or simply Twelfth Night hasn't been officially reissued by Twelfth Night recently, though all of the material on it is on recent-ish releases; the three vocal tracks are found on Voices On the Night, whilst the version of the instrumental Afghan Red from this demo showed up as a bonus track on the 2004 Cyclops rerelease of Live At the Target (though it's not on the current Definitive Edition release, leaving this version of the track rather orphaned when it comes to Twelfth Night's officially-purchaseable offerings).

The "Electra" in question was Electra McLeod, who would have a brief stint with Twelfth Night as vocalist in mid-to-late 1980. She doesn't really add much here, but that really doesn't seem to be her fault; the issue is that the band had originally recorded this material as instrumentals and simply had Electra record her vocals after the fact and tacked them on.

It's tricky enough to incorporate vocals into a composition which hasn't been set up to accommodate them; Geoff Mann managed it with Sequences (which had been an epic instrumental before he came up with an anti-war story to tell), but then the Mann-fronted performances of Sequences are arranged to accommodate the vocals, rather than simply adding his vocals into an arrangement that doesn't account for their presence. Worse still, the mix on the songs seems to be a little off, with Electra's vocals ending up somewhat buried.

On the whole, Electra and Twelfth Night don't seem to have been that good a fit with each other, and the tape kind of proves it, but it's a fun listen nonetheless.

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Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 | Review Permalink

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