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STOAT & BOTTLE

Haze

Neo-Prog


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Haze Stoat & Bottle album cover
3.19 | 15 ratings | 4 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stoat & Bottle (1:54)
2. See Her Face (3:46)
3. In the End (4:39)
4. In the Universe (3:47)
5. Humbug (0:31)
6. The Vice (7:32)
7. Autumn (6:06)
8. Resealing (0:33)
9. Tunnel Vision (4:20)
10. Ophelia (7:15)
11. Shadows (5:47)
12. Fading Away (4:20)
13. Last Orders (4:30)

Total Time: 55:00

Bonus tracks on CD release:
14. Into the Fire (3:23)
15. Another Country (4:47)
16. Safe Harbour (4:14)
17. Wooden House (4:30)
18. Stone House (5:27)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Chisnell / drums, percussion, vocals
- Chris McMahon / bass, keyboards, vocals
- Paul McMahon / vocals, guitars

Releases information

LP Gabadon Records GABL 6 (1987 UK)
CD Cyclops CYCL 167 (2008 UK)

Thanks to the doctor for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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HAZE Stoat & Bottle ratings distribution


3.19
(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
20%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
20%
Good, but non-essential (40%)
40%
Collectors/fans only (13%)
13%
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)
7%

HAZE Stoat & Bottle reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Doctor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Haze is one of those groups that I discovered back in the mid-90's and have just recently completed my studio collection of their work with this album. This album was originally released back in 1987 and rereleased just 2 years on CD for the first time. Musically, it sounds quite a bit like what Twelfth Night were doing at the time, that is mixing ample amounts of the 80's vibe into their brand of neo-prog. If you like neo and you like the 80's sound this might be a good pickup for you, but it is certainly not the most essential recording in their catalogue. Still, the album has some great songs, and Paul McMahon's rich voice fits the music well. In fact, he could have as easily been an 80's new wave singer as he was a prog singer.

The lyrics seem to form a sort of concept, with the protagonist hanging out at his favorite watering hole night after night, although how each song fits into the concept is a little unclear, even to the author of the album's liner notes. Some of the lyrics take a downright dark turn, as in the song Autumn about the untimely death of a lover, or Ophelia which sounds like it's about a friends suicide, or The Vice, about growing old and death and time as the enemy of us all. Some very cheery stuff.

The album starts off on a very upbeat note, despite the darkness that will later come. The title track could easily be a commercial jingle for your local pub. The album ends with the mostly instrumental "Last Orders", which begins with a soft haunting and sad melody and builds on the melody until an emotive guitar solo finishes off the album proper. In between, the album throws in some hard rock - "The Vice" and "Shadows" (the latter of which sounds like it could have come from the Geoff Mann led Twelfth Night), the symphonic "Ophelia", pure 80's - "Tunnel Vision" and "Fading Away", the bluesy "Autumn" and a song that could have easily been an 80's anthem "In the End". All in all there is a lot of variety on this album, although some songs are more successful than others. The best are "Last Orders", "Ophelia", "In the End", "Autumn", and "The Vice". The pure 80's tracks are less successful.

The album sports five bonus tracks, four of which are from the band's 1994 release "World Turtle". The last two tracks, the lyrically-related, Christian-themed "Wooden House" and "Stone House" are the most interesting, the last one being another good 80's styled anthem. This album rates a solid 3 stars. A good album. Not as essential as their previous two efforts, but still, if you dig the 80's and like neo, this is an album you will enjoy (possibly with the cold beverage of your choice).

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars In the end...

After having spotted them here on Prog Archives and heard a few songs from the band's MySpace site, I invested in the 30th Anniversary Shows double live album and and I was not disappointed. That was my fist encounter with Haze. Since several of the songs featured on that live album originally came from the present studio album, I searched out Stoat & Bottle as my first Haze studio album. Stoat & Bottle actually sounds quite different from what I expected and features a reasonably appealing mix of Prog Rock, straight Rock, Blues Rock and 80's Pop Rock. Given the "rural" feel of the cover art, I was expecting a bit more of the Folk influences found on the aforementioned live album (but I have learned that the folky side of the band was in large part a more recent development).

Formed in 1978, Haze released their debut LP in 1984 and has since released another two studio albums and as many as three live albums under that name (for the fourth studio album listed here on PA, they somewhat confusingly changed the band name to World Turtle and called the album Haze!). While the songs and performances on Stoat & Bottle are clearly professional, the recording itself (as well as the cover art) has a slight "independent" feel to it.

The album opens with a short, gleeful song about a rural pub called 'Stoat & Bottle'. It is unclear if this is a local pub that actually exists somewhere in the UK or if it is an imaginary one, but regardless of which, this is a rather silly tune both musically and lyrically ("don't forget what you came here for is ale"!). I think it was rather unwise to open the album with this tune, or even to include it at all, as it differs significantly from the rest of the album. See Her Face is more true to the band as I know them from the live album I mentioned on which this song was also included. Here the bass, drums, and guitars comes to the forefront to embellish a nice vocal melody. In The End is probably the first track to deserve to be called "progressive", at least the keyboards start to assert themselves a bit more on this number. This song too was featured on the 30th anniversary live album where it too sounded better than it does here.

In The Universe is a somewhat Pink Floyd-ish song with a retro feel. Humbug is a short instrumental that leads into The Vice which is the longest track of the album. Its seven and a half minutes are used well to allow the band to stretch out a bit more instrumentally, making it one of the most interesting songs here. The sound is, however, again inferior compared to the live version on the aforementioned live album. Autumn is a Blues Rock number and as such it isn't really my cup of tea, but a decent one of its kind.

Resealing is yet another (unnecessary) instrumental that segues into the pure 80's Pop song (!), Tunnel Vision. At this point you rightly begin to think that the album lacks a clear direction with so many disparate styles attempted, but thankfully some of the best songs are yet to come. Ophelia is in my opinion a very good song with some lovely guitar and keyboard work and a memorable melody. The dark Shadows is another good song. Fading Away is again a weak, 80's flavored song, but the album ends on a high note with what is possibly its best song, the lovely Last Orders. It begins with an acoustic guitar backed vocal and builds towards a bombastic ending with a fine electric guitar solo. Superb! Stoat & Bottle could have been better than it is, had it been better recorded and produced and omitted the worst couple of songs. Still, as it stands it is quite decent despite a few weak moments. Out of the three Haze albums from the 80's (all of which have been reissued on CD) Stoat & Bottle remains the least good one. I recommend any newcomer to begin with the excellent 30th Anniversary Shows live album on which most of the best songs from this album are present in better versions.

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Prog Team
4 stars And so, in 1996 Haze released what was going to be the first of a trilogy of CDs, making available the recordings they made in the Eighties. At this time I seem to remember that the band were no more, although Paul and Chris McMahon were working as World Turtle and were also in Treebeard with Haze drummer Paul Chisnell, but given that these guys have resurrected the Haze name more than once as well as playing in other bands nearly every night of the week I could be wrong! A mere four years later and the second CD appeared, and as quick as a flash (okay, it took another eight years) the final part arrived, 'Stoat & Bottle'. When they attempted to remix these it was discovered that the original tapes were not exactly up to the task so instead they concentrated on just digitally transferring them. So, what this means is what I am listening to sounds pretty close to how it would have been played back in 1987 (vinyl and cassette no less). That means that at least for the first song I found that I was concentrating more on the quality of the recording than of the quality of the music, but soon moved on to discover the delights that are contained within.

The original album contains some gems that the band still play in concert today, such as "The Vice" which has always been one of my personal favourites. It is the longest song on the album, and it always amazes me that somehow Chris manages to switch between keyboards and bass so effectively when playing this in concert, the only other musician I have ever witnessed managing to pull this off with aplomb is Geddy Lee! As with much of Haze's music, this is driving over the top neo-prog with crunching guitars, swathes of keyboards, pounding bass all being muscled along by powerful drums. "Autumn" starts off as a blues number, with some strident soloing from Paul and it is the combination of different styles that makes this work so well.

There are lots of additional tracks, and while the sound is undoubtedly the product of being an old recording originally made on a budget by an underground prog act, there is no doubting that any fan of the band or of neo-prog in general will need to discover this further. These guys knows that the word 'rock' is as important as the word 'progressive' and provide plenty of blast to go with the finesse and skill. For me I enjoyed going back to hear the original versions of some songs I already knew, plus plenty of new ones, but for a newcomer to the band I would get one of their Anniversary show concerts first and then come back to discover some great music from a prog band that started in the Seventies and keep coming back for more.

Latest members reviews

2 stars This, the third album from this English neo-prog band makes me want to go to that tavern pictured on the front cover and drown my memories from this album in stout ale. Well, it is not that bad. But it is not an album that cheers me up too. Haze does, tried to do commercial accessible neo pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#485506) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, July 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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