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Flamborough Head - Tales Of Imperfection CD (album) cover


Flamborough Head


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3 stars The Dutch sympho band Flamborough Head has definitely grown mature since their last album (almost 4 years ago) One for the Crow. Their new CD Tales of Imperfection offers seven songs, three of them instrumental. The songs are very diverse, some rush moments mixed with delicated melodies. The musicianship is very high, especially the skills Eddie Mulder (guitars) and Koen Roozen (drums) are impressive. To complete the line-up: Edo Spanninga (keyboards), Marcel Derix (bass) and Margriet Boomsma (lead vocals and flutes).

The CD kicks off with the instrumental 'For Starters', a beautiful composition. Margriet is great on the flute. 'Maureen' is a very diverse song with many different moods. During almost 12 minutes the song constantly changes but is still very cohesive. It makes sence all along. The third song 'Higher Ground' is an instrumental again. It reminds me of The Flower Kings' work. Nice tune! Next is 'Silent Stranger', the only weak spot on the album IMHO. The vocals of Margriet sound very hard and without emotion. But then comes 'Captive Of Fate', a beautiful arrangement with great harmonies! 'Mantova' (or should I say "Mexico") is the third and to me the most brilliant instrumental on the album. It has an addicting drive (I want to hear this song over and over again) and the interplay between guitar and keys is fascinating!Highlight on the CD. 'Year After Year' is a good song, nothing more and nothing less.

All in all a very good album! There is happening a lot in a musical way, you never get bored. Eventhough the vocal parts of Margriet are much better than they were on OFTC, it still isn't that vocal treat you are hoping for in this genre of music. The music of Flamborough Head has f.i. an undeniable echo from Renaissance, but Margriet never reminds me of Annie Haslam. But overall: highly recommended to all the fans of real symphonic prog with a taste of folk (and even some neo-prog)

Rating: I would say 3 stars, well...3,5 really. As Mister Widayanto likes to say: Keep on proggin'!

Report this review (#54900)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars The Dutch band Flamborough Head is not the most prolific one, Tales Of Imperfection is their fifth in 8 years. But listening to this latest effort I can conclude that it is their most mature album. I have seen the band a few times, even on their annual performance on the Dutch Progfarm Festival. By the way, I can recommend every proghead to visit this festival featuring many less known but interesting progrock bands!

The seven compositions on this new CD (running time at about 52 minutes) sound pleasant and melodic and are a very tasteful arranged blend of classic, folk, rock and symphonic with the emphasis on the traditional symphonic rock from the Seventies with echoes from early Camel and Renaissance. The keyboards from Edo Spanninga are lush and varied: sparkling piano and soft violin-Mellotron in Maureen, classical piano, a church-organ sound and in the end a Peter Bardens-like synthesizer solo in Higher Ground and wonderful interplay with the flute and electric guitar in most of the songs. But the most impressive contribution on this CD is delivered by guitar player Eddie Mulder, from sensitive and warm to fiery and harder-edged and subtle use of slide and volume pedal, what an outstanding guitar work! The female vocalist (also flute) Margriet Boomsma will never gain the 'Annie Haslam award' but her voice sound less sharp than in the past, a bit more warm. IF YOU ARE UP TO WONDERFUL AND PLEASANT 24 CARAT SYMPHONIC ROCK, THIS ONE IS YOURS!

Report this review (#68648)
Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars very, very nice! for an old prog and neo prog fan as me is hard to find nowadays a group that doesn't sound as a marillion or genesis-like group, but in this case the link with the past is connected with emotional and fresh composition. the vocals of the group have improved with the feamale vocalist, in my opinion. not a masterpiece but a beautiful surprise. 4 stars.
Report this review (#145223)
Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars After 3 years finally came Flamborough Headīs second CD with the new line up. The sound has developed quite a bit and itīs hard to label them just neo prog. They now have much more symphonic leanings with some folk influences here and there. Guitar work of newcomer Eddie Mulder is superb, with great electric solos and some tasteful acoustic parts. Heīs in top form! Margriet Boomsma sound a little bit more restrained here, but her flute work has bloomsomed and now is fully part of Flamborough Headīs music. Edo Spanningaīs keyboards are lush, varied and creative as ever. Bass and drums are tigh and strong.

But really what the best the group offers are great songwriting skills and great instrumental arrangements. No wonder they take so much time between each release! They simply donīt repeat themselves and never let the overall quality falls short. There are no fillers or weak songs to be found anywhere. All tracks are beautiful, well crafted and played with passion and precision. For some progheads they may sound simple at first, but thatīs quite deceiving, really. The music grows on you with every listen. And I find myself pressing the repeat button again and again everytime I listen to this CD. Oh, how I wish all other prog bands had their quality control! While the production is not the best for this kind of music, it is overall quaite acceptable. Highlights are many, but I do have a soft spot for their mini epic Maureen: ten minutes of pure prog heaven, with lots of vintage sounding keys, shifting moods and a terrific, emotinal guitar solo at the last part that will surely make several seasoned masters of that instrument envy.

This is another winner from this dutch band that is one of the best prog groups around. As Erik has already pointed out, this is 24 carat symphonic prog music! 4,5 stars with honors!

Report this review (#148466)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The previous "Flamborough Head" album was a really good one and I know that it would be very difficult for the band to equal it. Although, in a period of three years time, the band might have been able to recreate such a jewel.

As usual, this album will sound much more as a symphonic piece of music that to a neo-prog one. Just listen to the title track and to the brilliant instrumental opening for "Maureen". It is true to say that when the band changed for a female vocalist, some "Renaissance" scent could be felt but not as much as for "Magenta" of course. "Maureen" is one example of this. The use of piano only underlines this even more. Its finale being just superb thanks to a great guitar solo. A highlight.

The band will also offer some "Genesis" interlude with the instrumental "Higher Ground". Just average. But "Flamborough Head" is quickly repairing this during "Silent Stranger". Nice fluting from Margriet. This long song starts as many ones from this band : with a strong and long instrumental intro. During these moments the band is really impressive and sounds so emotional. Even the song is probably not the best one available on this album, it remains enjoyable from start to finish.

Just as the next "Captivate Of Fate". Mostly acoustic with just sufficient keys to sustain the wonderful melody. Somewhat light and folkish but OK. "Mantova" won't be different in essence : strong and rhythmy introduction. Very good rhythmic section and powerful synths. Margriet joining nicely with some background fluting for this all instrumental track.

This is what "Flamborough Head" is all about. Lots of catchy instrumental music. This was already to be noticed in their first album "Unspoken Whisper". And the closing piece is no different. A crescendo short song, starting gently with a duet vocals/piano which will end up in a frenetic guitar part.

I would have liked to give this album a seven out of ten rating. Since it is not as great as their previous album, I will downgrade it to three stars. But remember that three stars means a good album.

Report this review (#154393)
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I start my review asking for permission by another member of Progarchives Forum, babbus61 (review posted in October 17, 2007 ) to make mine his words.The -FLAMBOROUGH HEAD- " Tales Of Imperfection" albun bring to us a perfect combination of the Old and New School of Symphonic Prog. Although the influences of Camel, Genesis and others great bands of the progressive scenery of the 70's stay clear as soon the music begins, the musical landscape create cannot be called of mellancolic and cheap copy to the bands mentioned above. The sound is very captivate and in spite of the absence of instrumental moments of great virtuosity, in a several moments lead the audience to excitement, probably due to the themes chaining. Deserves a stand out the female vocals from Margriet Boomsma , very strong and extremely tuned, but the other musicians are also very creative and qualify. I consider this albun almost perfect and my rate is 5 stars !!!
Report this review (#274765)
Posted Saturday, March 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
2 stars This is FLAMBOROUGH HEAD's second release with the new female singer. Most consider this inferior to the previous one called "One For The Crow" but it does seem to be the most mature effort from the band so far. Not a big fan of the vocals and i'm sorry but I find the concept of this one a bit lame. I feel like i'm being a little insensitive in saying that but it's hard to relate.

"For Starters" is the short opening track with synths,guitar and cymbals that create an epic sound. "Maureen" opens with piano then it kicks in with some heaviness.Synths are prominant. A calm after 2 1/2 minutes with flute and piano standing out. It picks back up with prominant guitar before 4 minutes then we get vocals for the first time. A spacey calm after 6 minutes then piano joins in followed by other instruments and vocals. Some tasteful guitar after 8 minutes and it stays fairly laid back to the end. "Higher Ground" is mellow with piano and synths. Drums and guitar join in as it builds a little. It settles again the we get some nice acoustic guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. Flute joins in as well. Organ before 6 minutes then guitar as it kicks back in. It settles late with flute to end it.

"Silent Stranger" turns fuller before 2 minutes then the guitar starts to solo.Vocals and piano 3 minutes in then it picks up. A calm with piano and laid back guitar after 5 minutes. It picks up again before 7 minutes. Another calm 8 minutes in with reserved vocals. "Captive Of Fate" features acoustic guitar and background synths as vocals come in before a minute.This is a ballad-like track really. "Mantova" is an instrumental with where the tempo changes quite often. "Year After Year" ends the album with vocals and piano before the guitar solos 2 minutes in.

I'm just not feeling it at all with this or their previous album. Average at best.

Report this review (#391025)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The album starts with a short instrumental with soothing flute played by Margriet. There is a certain cleanness about it, but Edo Spanninga's keyboards are pretty important too, as is the piano. The song shows warmth, and a bit of power too as we find ourselves in "Maureen". The flute plays the main theme, the guitar plays some strong chords. The music is as we have come to expect, very melodic, quite accessible, but varied. The production is good and clear. The style I guess is a mix of Camel and Glass Hammer with a dose of Genesis (check out the guitar work for instance during the long intro). Thus we have a full symphonic sound with equal roles for guitar and keyboards, and a good sense of melody. But the band can also rock, as evidenced by the guitar plus flute solo and the brimming organ right before one third down the road. The vocals start just halfway, telling the story of the front cover. They are sung quite fast, but sure. In the middle we have some rare backing vocals, but I'm not so sure this is a good idea. In between we have the 'usual' solo elements which make up a lengthy symphonic song. We run right onto "Higher Ground", again an instrumental, but a lengthier one. The song has many (bombastic) elements and a large amount of melodic and instrumental variation, with a few synthetic violins thrown in, and some wonderful thematic flute play, combined with acoustic guitar. This is similar to the best of Hackett's solo material, the fairy stuff, although the guitar is more Latimer like. This does not mean the song is all melody. Indeed, following it we get to a rather funky part with 70's rhythm guitar. With the very Camel like keyboards that follow, we are thoroughly enmeshed in seventies Camel. Excellent.

"Silent Stranger" is the next somewhat epic vocal track, opening with flute and some prominent bass play, which gives the music a somewhat bouncy and frolic feel. The band again takes its time to start up the song, playing the main themes, before moving to the vocal part. Again, there is a lot of melodic material going into a song of this length. It seems Flamborough Head was pretty inspired when they wrote this. But the music is not all friendly, indeed the piano play is quite tense. The vocals are again rather pacey, as is the guitar work, but they do slowly build up. Margriet shows a bit more roughness at the edges, which improves things, I think. Halfway, we arrive at an introspective interlude with piano and strong melodic guitar work. In these moments, the Hackett influence is strongest. Later the vocals come back in, but in a different fashion, a bit more emotional and outspoken this time around. Margriet is sure singer these days.

"Captive Of Fate" opens with acoustic guitar and string synths. The vocal line sounds a bit familiar, but that could be from a previous listen. The song is about helping others in need, usually they have only fate to blame for their situation. The chorus is one that sticks in your head. The acoustic guitar-work is strongly reminiscent of Genesis.

"Mantova" is again an instrumental, the third one thus far. It brings the same melodic richness, but without sounding like something you heard before. This time the flute plays the role of bringing in a sense or urgency and all through the organ is in the back. This is one pacey instrumental with flashy play from all concerned. "Year After Year" is the closing vocal track, a ballad. Margriet again shows how much she has grown since the first album, and she carries the song more or less by herself, although the guitar solo shines too.

Year after year, Flamborough Head has been showing that it can still grow. Their brand of melodic symphonic rock with a female vocalist reminds most of Camel and Genesis, and this time around the band shows very sure of itself, excellent thematic material to bring into play, and with all the different melodic material, they do run the chance of loosing the edge to the music. However, they cope with this by introducing some tense interludes and elements, as well as some heavy guitar accents, and keep the pace high as needs be. For me a strong 5 stars!

Report this review (#1296829)
Posted Saturday, October 25, 2014 | Review Permalink

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