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The Kentish Spires

Canterbury Scene

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The Kentish Spires Sprezzatura album cover
3.09 | 16 ratings | 4 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Overture (2:46)
2. A Sea Shanty (4:53)
3. Don't Shoot The Albatross (2:44)
4. Horsa From Beyond The Grave (6:18)
5. Wishing Well (5:58)
6. You Better Shut Your Mouth (4:13)
7. Never Tell On Me (6:08)
8. The Long Goodbye (7:53)
9. Horsa Beyond The Grave (Rob Reed Remix) (5:46)

Total Time: 46:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Lucie V / vocals
- Chris Egan / reeds, woodwind and wind synth
- Danny Chang / guitars
- Rik Loveridge / Hammond organ and synths
- Phil Warren / bass
- James Hall / drums

Releases information

Label: White Knight Records
Format: CD, Digital
August 9, 2019

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to TCat for the last updates
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THE KENTISH SPIRES Sprezzatura ratings distribution

(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (56%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE KENTISH SPIRES Sprezzatura reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The Kentish Spires is a Canterbury Scene band from England founded in 2018. The founders were Phil Warren (bass) and Danny Chang (guitars) who were later joined by Lucie V (vocals), Rik Loveridge (organ, synth) on their debut album. Their second album "Sprezzatura", released in August of 2019, also sees the addition of Chris Egan (reed, woodwinds, synths) and James Hall (drums). The album is available on CD and digitally on Bandcamp.

The album starts off with "Overture" (2:46). Beginning with a rapid fire drum and instrument riff, the music soon slips into a nice, smooth and upbeat jazz piece with clarinet, brass, guitar, organ and fuzzy synths, all generating energy and excitement for what's to come. This slips suddenly into acoustic guitar strumming he opening strains of "A Sea Shanty" (4:53), and a much simpler and folk-tinged melody sung by Lucie V, a 3 / 4 time tune which later gets underlayed with sustained synth notes and an accordion like effect. Lucie's vocals are deep and resonating and fit the music style nicely. After the music fades, sounds of far away music and seagulls ring through the air. "Don't Shoot the Albatross" (2:44) has a whimsical beat and almost jig-style rhythm to it, with the entire band playing complimentary parts and processed vocalization that occassionaly repeat the name of the song.

"Horsa from Beyond the Grave" (6:18) has a nice moderate beat with a nice rock/jazz fusion mix. When the vocals come in, everything but the piano stops bringing in other instruments slowly, After the verse, the band joins in with the vocals. The addition of the soft clarinet adds a nice layer to the music, which becomes more expressive and emotional as it continues, then backs off again for the following verse. Again, things build with more dramatic singing and the rhythm speeding up again. All through this dynamic change, the music never becomes dark or heavy, staying true to it's genre. "Wishing Well" (5:58) uses folk inspired lyrics and is a softer, yet well harmonized vocal sound. The music takes on a poppier aspect, but also remains laid back. The move to a more pop sound does tend to wash out the feel of the album a bit. Things quiet down to a minimal feel at the end as woodwinds echo and swirl around each other, dissonant at first, and then resolving to a peaceful ending. This coda almost seems like a different song, but it remains as one track

"You Better Shut Your Mouth" (4:13) moves to a moderate but more driving beat, and the vocals get sassier, pushing the music to be a bit heavier, but still remaining safely in the Canterbury style. The instrumental break holds true to the jazzy style of the genre, incorporating some nice drum and bass passages, adding to the progressiveness of the track before returning to the rockier edge of the melody. "Never Tell on Me" (6:08) goes back to the laid back sound, again trying for a more pop sound. The melody and sound is probably the most commercial sounding track. The instrumental break has a soft jazz sound mostly from the sax at first, but tension builds after a while as the bass, synth and guitar build intensity, but the pop sound returns when the vocals come back in.

"The Long Goodbye" (7:53) begins pensively, softly building, this time with male vocals, but I'm not sure who's doing the vocals at first, however Lucie's unique vocals come in later with a lot more emotion and drama. The synths create an orchestral sound that help create tension, which is later released with a major key shift in the melody and added harmonies. When the vocals end, the music returns to a pensive feel and a nice sax solo plays. After a while, percussion brings it to a moderately slow, steady feel, added guitars build more intensity and the brass becomes more dynamic bringing it to a climax with the return of emotional vocals. The last track is a remix done by Rob Reed of "Horsa Beyond the Grave" (5:46). The remix brings in a more rock and pop feel to the song.

The album is pretty good when the band stays more to the Canterbury sound. The songs that aim for the pop element are not as convincing, such as "Wishing Well" and "Never Tell On Me", while the tracks that keep the folk and jazz elements to the fore are much better, as in "The Long Goodbye", "A Sea Shanty" and "Horsa from Beyond the Grave." Overall, it's a good album with some weak tracks that tend to bring it down. Not bad, but not great either. Their sound is much better when they stay true to form.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars I was mightily impressed with the debut release of The Kentish Spires, and I was really looking forward to this, the second. The core of the band has stayed the same in Lucie Vox (vocals/violin), Danny Chang (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals), Phil Warren (bass) and Rik Loveridge (keyboards, guitar) but they have now been joined by James Hall on drums and percussion along with woodwind player Chris Egan. Both albums strongly feature the vocals of Lucie as an audible focal point, and for the most part that works very well indeed. They are embedded in the Canterbury scene, and when the band are driving forward with strong guitars, piano, vocals and sax they are definitely a force to be reckoned with. But I am not sure if this album has come out slightly too quickly on the heels of the last one, as there are also moments when the band seems to drift a little, or the vocals jar just slightly.

There are times when they bring in folky elements, and stretch in different directions, but I am not fully convinced they work as well as they could. I feel that Lucie tries to sing out of range at times, struggling a little in the lower registers, and all in all it makes for an album which I actually found quite uncomfortable listening to at times, which given how much I enjoyed the debut I found quite strange. Possibly one reason for that is I expected so much more from this, as the debut was so strong indeed, yet the result is something which is still very much worth investigating while never managing to tick over into the absolutely essential box. When they are on fire, then they sound like an unstoppable force, but there are too many instances when the embers just smoulder as opposed to breaking free. It is still an album worth investigating, especially for fans of the Canterbury scene, and it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Review by Warthur
3 stars The Kentish Spires sound to my ears a little tighter on this album than on their debut, though I'm still not entirely sold on their work. They seem to have largely decided to be a jazzy Canterbury-tinged outlet, but they seem to have enough other musical ingredients they want to incorporate into their material (particularly in the folk sphere). Nothing wrong with that - except they don't seem to have yet hit on a way to integrate those elements in a smooth and natural fashion. In addition, whilst Lucie V is clearly a pretty decent vocalist, the band don't seem to be using her to her best effect, failing to play to her strengths. Going outside your comfort zone is a virtue, of course, but this feels a little under-rehearsed in that respect; best to exercise there until you have it down tight before you commit your experiments to record, in my view.

Latest members reviews

3 stars THE KENTISH SPIRES is an English out his second CD Group genre almost forgotten today, but very used namely Canterbury. The groups had to bathe their children can call CARAVAN, JETHRO TULL, ELP, SOFT MACHINE, more recently it's side WOBBLER, FLOWER KINGS of the notes may have been stolen, just t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2310071) | Posted by alainPP | Tuesday, January 28, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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