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Vulgar Unicorn

Eclectic Prog

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Vulgar Unicorn Under The Umbrella album cover
3.23 | 29 ratings | 4 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Under The Umbrella (44:28) :
- i) The House At Fudge Corner (13:24)
- ii) By Post-Chaise To The Primrose League (12:49)
- iii) Waiting Under The Umbrella (18:15)
2. Thief Of Clubs (10:10)

Total Time: 54:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruce (Adrian) Soord / guitars, backing vocals
- Neil Randall / keyboards, bass, backing vocals
- David Hutchfield / drums, cymbals

- Tony Busby / lead & backing vocals
- Matt Barge / trumpet
- Greg Willis / alto & tenor saxes
- Richard Hunt / violin

Releases information

Artwork: Phil Roberts

CD Cyclops ‎- CYCL 018 (1995, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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VULGAR UNICORN Under The Umbrella ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)

VULGAR UNICORN Under The Umbrella reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars How I got sucked into buying this one and the next one, I will never understand. I must have been sick and have perforated eardrums and maybe my girlfriend had blown me a little to hard or any other excuses will do , but I got rid of this really quickly by giving it to my neighbors mean and stupid dog who did exactly what I expected it to do : tore it up and bring the rest to its equally mean and stupid owner who actually liked it.

Actually after this not very nice introduction , there is something positive I can say about this album: It is not quite as bad as its follow-up and has a much nicer artwork sleeve. I was never fond of groups handling bass guitar with a left hand on a KB , but anyway I did try this album a few times but the music goes left right and center but never gets anywhere.

As for the dog: Tel chien , tel maitre .

Review by loserboy
3 stars VULGAR UNICORN is essentially a 3 member band (Neil Randall - keys/bass/vocals), Adrian Soord (guitars, vocals), David Hutchfield (drums) who have invited a host of guest musicians to assist adding trumpet, violin and sax. As you could imagine this album is full of outrageous movements, serious musicanship and even some softer parts. "Under The Umbrella" is essentially 2 epic tracks and are both excellent. VULGAR UNICORN offer a very professional approach to prog offering a wide array of sounds and song structure. Loads of electric and acoustic guitar with heavy symphonic keyboard layers and precision drumming. Although probably categorized somewhere in the Neo-prog camp, V.U. has a very fresh feel to it and never gets too synthy for my liking. Vocals are excellent as well and "Under The Umbrella" offers excellent vocal harmonies throughout. This album also offers many surprises which will take you by surprise like some wierd background noise , sudden Jazz/prog riffs and many tempo and song structure changes. Overall a very good album which most prog heads will enjoy.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Woof! What d'ya say? I said Woof! D'ya know anymore? WOOOOOOF!" Beatles-Hey Bulldog! In continuing my scribed reverence for this Vulgarprog beast, I will lay some light on this fine disc , thus completing the first trio of their discography. I purchased this back in 1995 and have adored it unrelentingly ever since. "Under the Umbrella" is VU's debut offering and what a hidden gem this is, a playful, whimsically very british whimsical spy story, illuminated by some fabulous melodies and great solos. Being from Albion, the vocals, courtesy of Tony Busby are above average, unpretentious in a Ray Davies meets Richard Sinclair style, sweetly sung but loaded with that typical island aloofness (a bit snotty at times!). This is really just one long suite, separated into 4 movements that bleeds into the next , flowing nicely along. What makes it so laudable, is the intrepid use of trumpet that will even duel with the saxophone (when do you see that in supposed Neo-Prog, huh?), a violin streak swooshes through, unexpected. Acoustic guitars court a cello lament with intense grace. All this adding to the general aural bliss under the umbrella, vodka martini shaken not stirred. Guitarist Bruce Soord (of future Pineapple Thief fame) liberally splashes some interesting rythmic webs , punctuated with some devastatingly alluring "The Edge" like solos. The strangeness and charm of the arrangements rely on some original changes of pace, from groovy a la Ozrics to frenetic , like a sonic roller coaster.Yes , it wanders, thankfully. When you least expect it, the journey turns on a dime , an urgent sax solo out of the blue, urging one to smile. Keyboardist Neil Randall tosses everything into the cauldron: electronic bleeps, synth sweeps, great bopping bass heaps, rushing organ weeps and refined piano leaps. Whether you like this or not (you shouldn't judge prog harshly anyway: its all good), the bottom line is that this isn't boring, shallow. Please remember that CAT FOOD is anathema to proggers, according to Mister Sinfield. No mention of dog food, Sean! Five techno thrillers, for arguments sake!
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars British Prog/Psych/Art Rock band, formed in mid-90's by two close high-school friends and multi-instrumentalists, Neil Randall and future The Pineapple Thief leader Bruce Soord.With the addition of drummer David Hutchfield, singer Tony Busby and a few guest musicians on saxes/violins/trumpets, Vulgar Unicorn recorded their debut ''Under the Umbrella'' between September and October 1994 at Smallworld Studios.The band had already signed a contract with Cyclops and the album was released in April 1995.

''Under the umbrella'' was an attempt by Vulgar Unicorn to throw some fresh and modern Progressive Rock in the market and is highlighted by the 45-min. eponymous track, split in three long pieces, each clocking at over12 minutes.The style of the band is not always conveincing but it is definitely quite different compared to bands trying to immitate the Classic Prog legends.It is a mix of the growing Post Rock movement with Neo Prog, Classic Prog, Psychedelic Rock and Jazz and, as already said, this works fine for the most of the album's length.The guitar work of Soord seems to be the most demanding music section in the album, offering good jamming parts, adventurous riffing and nice solos throughout.The arrangements are tight with an alternation between different themes and go from OZRIC TENTACLES-like electric passages to spacey jazzy themes with a Post-Rock attitude, not unlike JAGA JAZZIST, with decent sax and trumpet solos to elegant grooves in the Neo Prog matrix of 90's MARILLION.Mix also some parts with fiery guitar workouts and some synth-based atmospheres to get the full picture, which is really unique but always nice to listen to.The vocals are clear and decent, though they do not always walk equal to the music.A fourth epic 10-min. track entitled ''Thief of Clubs'' closes the album, offering Vulgar Unicorn's most powerful ideas with incredible and crystalline guitar work by Soord and a great rhythm section supporting, close to the style of PORCUPINE TREE.

Good debut by this duo of talented British musicians, which seem to walk right on the path of blending new and old prog stylings.Worth investigating, as after so many years since it was released ''Under the Umbrella'' sounds quite fresh.Recommended.

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