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Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest - The Poet and the Priest CD (album) cover


Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest

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4 stars Chronologically speaking, this GAVIN O'LOGHLEN "solo" album predates his first COTTERS request recordings by a decade, even if it sat in the vaults until 2007. So this is a 1980s album that has little musically to do with the bombastic Celtic Rock in which COTTERS BEQUEST traded. Instead we have a bombastic rock opera with no bagpipes, accordions or fiddles and only hints of his traditional roots.

"The Poet and the Priest" leaves no doubt as to O'Loghlen's progressive interests and credentials, as he spins an at least partly autobiographical tale through a series of short intertwined vocal dominated pieces that rarely occupy the same quadrant very long, yet are admirably sequenced and reflective of artists like FISH, GENESIS (1980s), ALAN PARSONS, DIRE STRAITS, PHIDEAUX, MIKE OLDFIELD, and others while offering a surprisingly fresh take on a long buried era. One of the aspects I really appreciate is the paucity of instrumental breaks; those that do appear are never long and generally serve to introduce the next vocal theme. At the same time, the period instrumentation, all by O'Loghlen, is varied and imposing. His voice is low, a bit raspy, and a lot dramatic, as befits his theatrical background and an even earlier time when such was in fashion. He's thankfully always on tune, since the melodies, particularly in the choruses, are nothing short of rousing. This more than compensates by the use of the term "Bull[&*!#]" on a half dozen occasions.

The track list has different representations, which only further cements the dynamism of the story, and it really is more like one long track than anything. It's hard to pick highlights on that basis and also because it's all eminently enjoyable, even, to an extent, some of the PHIL COLLINS-isms appearing towards the end. "Lovers", "Jesters", and "The Open Road" are back to back dynamite, with their sweeping themes, female backing vocals, including those by O'Loghlen's wife, vocoder (remember?) and fuzzy lead guitar fill ins. "The Treadmill" appears and reappears with its "Round and Round" theme, as the protagonist faces the soul sucking reality of many an adult life, a step towards returning to his earlier dreams. The finale is essentially a title cut and ends matters on a guardedly hopeful note, and a musically uplifting one.

"The Poet and the Priest" is like a time capsule preserved for a time when perspective can provide it the recognition it deserves. That time is now, so enjoy without guilt, godspeed. 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#1118491)
Posted Thursday, January 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars This Australian artist is a very versatile and creative mind: actor, author, composer, musician and responsible for many album releases, theater productions, plays for movies, he has a grade in 'drama' and lots of experience in music, theater music, drama and as a session-musician he joined on many records. Quite an impressive curriculum vitae that started to shape when Gavin began learning bagpipe at the age of eleven. He took part in Highland competitions in several groups and then he focussed on learning guitar, keyboards and flute. Influenced by the progrock by early Genesis, King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel started to integrate the keyboard sound in his theater productions that became more and more bombastic and complex. If you visit his website, you will discover how prolific Gavin is! This is his fourth and latest effort, released in 2007, a while ago.

On the CD The Poet And The Priest the concept story is about two young friends and the development of their friendship and life. The music sounds like melodic symphonic prog featuring lush vintage keyboards, sensitive electric guitar work and pleasant vocals that reminds me of fellow Australian Les Dougan (from legendary Australian neo- progrock band Aragon) and Fish because of the tonation. Although the sound is often laidback, this is not an album to get asleep because of some varied and dynamic tracks.

Like the alternating Lovers : heavy church-organ sound, a delicate strings-sound and fluent synthesizer runs.

The Open Road : great build-up with howling guitar and sumptuous keyboards.

The Pit : wonderful keyboard sound delivering The Mighty Tron, church-organ and spectacular synthesizer flights.

The Marillion-like The Open Road Revisited : mid-tempo with inspired vocals and moving guitar.

The very symphonic Bird Of Life : beautiful work on the Mellotron and a lush Hammond organ sound.

And the strong final song The Dance : very compelling with fine vocals and keyboards.

Don't expect groundbreaking or complex prog, just enjoy this honest tribute to symphonic prog featuring tasteful arranged tracks and wonderful vintage keyboards!

Report this review (#1949642)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2018 | Review Permalink

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