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HENRY FOOL

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Henry Fool biography
Put together by NO-MAN's vocalist/guitarist Tim Bowness, this band features PENDRAGON drummer Fudge Smith as well as keyboardist Stephen Bennett (who shares compositional duties with Bowness), bassist Peter Chilvers, guitarist Mike Bearpark and sax player Myke Clifford. Their eponymous album, released in 2001, was mixed by Steven Wilson (PORCUPINE TREE) whose imprint is unmistakable.

Although NO-MAN first comes to mind when you first hear the lyrics, the band's material is heavily rooted in jazz and psychedelia and comes off like some psychedelic version of PORCUPINE TREE or ECHOLYN, with the occasional nods to PINK FLOYD, SOFT MACHINE, KING CRIMSON, YES and IQ along the way. Drummer Fudge Smith also shows technical skills in the fusion realm he doesn't normally display within PENDRAGON. Their extensive use of keyboards (Mellotron, synths, electric piano, organ) evokes the 70's sound with moods altering between electric tension and relaxing, calm atmospheres. All this contributes to a rather pleasant, easy-going style that's not exactly groundbreaking but certainly not anywhere near neo-prog, despite some of the musicians' backgrounds.

If you're a fan of the bands mentioned above and with a particular penchant for ambient, spacy textures, you should certainly keep the name of the FOOL in your 'watch list'.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

Henry Fool official website

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Buy HENRY FOOL Music


Henry FoolHenry Fool
Kscope 2014
Audio CD$11.31
$9.79 (used)
Men SingingMen Singing
KSCOPE 2013
Audio CD$9.83
$7.86 (used)
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HENRY FOOL shows & tickets


  • An Evening With Tim Bowness & Henry Fool feat. Colin Edwin on 12 Jul 2014
  • Resonance Festival 2014 on 31 Jul 2014
  • Tim Bowness + Matt Stevens + Colin Edwin + more at Boerderij, Zoetermeer on 11 Sep 2014

HENRY FOOL discography


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HENRY FOOL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 22 ratings
Henry Fool
2001
3.57 | 74 ratings
Men Singing
2013

HENRY FOOL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HENRY FOOL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HENRY FOOL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HENRY FOOL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.71 | 7 ratings
The Free Henry Fool Download EP
2013

HENRY FOOL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Men Singing by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.57 | 74 ratings

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Men Singing
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I was such a big fan of HENRY FOOL's debut album, but to be honest I felt that after all of these years this was one of those "one and done" projects. Thankfully I was wrong. So 12 years later the boys are back with almost the same lineup. Fudge Smith has been replaced on drums by the very capable Andrew Booker, plus we get I MONSTER's Jarrod Gosling adding mellotron, while ROXY MUSIC's Phil Manzanera adds guitar on two of the four tracks. I should mention that Jarrod also mixed this recording while Stephen Bennett and Tim Bowness produced and arranged it. The music here is similar to the debut as we get that dreamy, atmospheric mood much of the time with those jazzy excursions helped by Myke Clifford's sax. The differences are for one that this is an all-instrumental album this time with NO-MAN's Tim Bowness sticking to his guitar work, plus the tracks are much longer when compared to the debut.

"Everyone In Sweden" is the almost 14 minute opener. Man every note seems to be carefully thought out as I listen to the intricate sounds that come and go. The bass is prominant as are the keyboards early on. Love when it turns more dynamic 2 minutes in and especially the sax that follows. A calm after 4 minutes with deep sounds and spacey keys then it kicks back in. Nice ! It settles back again with sax coming in then another calm before 7 minutes as it turns spacey and atmospheric.Some cool sounding sax 9 minutes in as the dreamy mood continues. Guitar and flute before 11 minutes as the song continues to drift along. It ends with electronics. "Man Singing" opens in a relaxed manner with flute and a beat with spacey keys and inventive guitar sounds from Manzanera. Mellotron joins in as well. Yeah this sounds really good. It's building but thankfully the same soundscape continues. So good. Check out the mellotron before 5 minutes and the flute that follows. It calms right down to end it with sounds that echo bringing PORCUPINE TREE to mind.

"My Favourite Zombie Dream" is my favourite. I adore the sound here with those distorted deep bass sounds and the mellotron waves flowing beautifully across the spacey soundscape. I'd love to have this dream. Oh man ! Check out the guitar from Bowness 3 1/2 minutes in. Some nice drum work follows. "Chic Hippo" is the over 13 minute closer. Stephen Bennett is credited with playing Miles Davis and Terry Riley impressions on his keyboards and Steve Bingham adds violin on this track. Great start with the upfront bass, a beat, mellotron and spacey sound as the violin joins in. A calm 2 minutes in as bass and drums only lead then the sax joins in with some distortion coming from somewhere else. The tempo picks up some as mellotron choirs kick in. It's brighter before 4 1/2 minutes as sounds echo in the background. Lots of electronics here too. I feel like i'm in this loop that won't quit and I don't want it to stop either. Things change some before 7 minutes and I really like the distorted guitar after 9 minutes that comes and goes the rest of the way along with the sax.

Without question this will be near the top of my list of favourite albums for 2013. I've read so many glowing reviews for this one and you can add mine to the list.

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 Men Singing by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.57 | 74 ratings

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Men Singing
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Math Rock and Crossover Teams

2 stars I guess I'm in a mood tonight. I'm in the mood to review some of the albums from 2013 that I really haven't liked. Henry Fool's "Men Singing" is one of these, especially since its title is ironic in the fact that there is absolutely no singing here. Sigh.

Another album that promises a good variety of instruments, "Men Singing" doesn't utilize any of these elements to any effect. I was especially underwhelmed by the strangely discordant sax. It just feels out of place among the very low key sounds being generated here. Repetitive and ungraceful, the music seems to hover in one spot with random flute or sax passages creating most of the variation. Now, don't get me wrong, the sax and especially the flute are beautiful. I just don't think they are used well.

This is one of those albums where NOTHING HAPPENS. You will wait an entire song expecting some kind of climax or some sort of soul to present itself, but the same plodding music plays over and over until it just ends suddenly. The track "Man Singing" is a good example of this. It goes on and on, and just when you think something is going to happen, nothing does. The entire album goes on at this pace, and you start to glance at your watch to see how long it's been.

Overall, this album is pretty. It's capable, and some people might enjoy it. However, I really find nothing here at all. There is some much potential energy that is just never released, and so much potential for excellence that is never revealed. It's sad really, as I kinda like the zany tone and the mix is good. I just wish something would happen to make this music interesting in the slightest.

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 Men Singing by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.57 | 74 ratings

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Men Singing
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

2 stars Men singing? Unfortunately not; I miss a lot on this record. Henry Fool, considered a crossover band, is in my opinion rather an eclectic band or an avant-garde band. Does it make the music more interesting? Absolutely not!

First I was honoured to see my country's name in the first track's title. "Everyone in Sweden" gives a perfect view of Henry Fool's music and the record will continue in the same manner. Though, is the two first tracks more warm and a little more varied than the third and the fourth. I find the first track an interesting mixture of instruments in a landscape of sounds. Each ingredient sounds quite well for itself but the whole thing feels forced and not enough driving for me. A have a rather present need for melodies, which here's not satisfied. Still I think the first track is worth 6/10 stars. The second one is better: "Man singing" is though rawer but has also something of a melody and a beautiful flute in the end(6/10). "My favourite zombie dream" then(3/10) feels just unnice, chaotic and heavy and finally "Chic Hippo"(4/10) continues to make a painting of sounds which certainly is interesting but not pleasurable for my senses.

The classification of this record seems unjuste because I don't know how this could be considered clossover, I find it very alternative. The cover picture is nice and I am sure the musicians are both clever and innovative. But I am also sure this album isn't for anyone, even not here at a prog rock site. I am still glad I could listen to this and hope that others will think better of it.

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 Men Singing by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.57 | 74 ratings

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Men Singing
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars I have been LOVING this album since I first heard it about a month ago and moreso now that I own it, BUT I will/can not in good conscious give it a five star rating for two major resaons: it's brevity and it's lack of vocals. Though I cherish and relish instrumental music, it takes an extraordinary product for me to rate an entirely instrumental album with a full five stars cuz it is my opinion (though I am not consistent with this principle and, therefore, guilty of hypocrisy) that the 'guts' it takes to add vocals and lyrics to music is part of the 'risk' involved in making progressive rock what it is. Also, though, yes, the "classics" of the pre-CD era of music recording were 'limited' (ask Todd Rundgren about the 'limitations' of the vinyl medium) to 35 to 42 minutes of music, today's artists are not and, I believe, should do the consumer/listener the courtesy of labeling a product that contains less than 40 minutes of music as an EP (though I have bought a few EP's that have contained over 50 or 60 minutes of music, so that designation can be irregular, inconsistent and, therefore, misleading). But these nitpicking complaints aside, let me say that this album contains five interesting, enjoyable, upbeat, well-composed and well-performed songs; it is an album that I have happily returned to over and over without disappointment. This surprises me a bit because It is rare that the full presence of saxophone is well received by me, but it works on this album. Men Singing is, indeed, in my humble opinion, an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

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 Henry Fool by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.58 | 22 ratings

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Henry Fool
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Henry Fool are a new prog band based around Fudge Smith (Pendragon/ Steve Hackett Band) and Tim Bowness (No-Man/David Torn). Along with Steve Bennet (keys), Peter Chilvers (bass), Michael Bearpark (additional guitar) and Myke Clifford (woodwind) they have produced one of the most interesting prog bands to come out of the UK in recent years.

Fudge must find this music like a breath of fresh air having played in Pendragon for so long. Take 60's/70's influences such as early Genesis, early Floyd, Soft Machine and VDGG and mix them with Rain Tree Crow and King Crimson then throw in some Faust and Greg Lake for good measure. The album moves from delicately sung ballads that are beautiful in the extreme to music that takes a lot of work to gain the benefit from it.

This is probably too far away from what most people these days think of as 'progressive' music but in many ways this truly is and deserves to be heard.

Originally appeared in Feedback #64, Dec 01

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 Men Singing by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.57 | 74 ratings

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Men Singing
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars The 2001 Henry Fool debut album was a quirky ride to say the least, featuring some zany arrangements delving into experimental zones of sonic conflict, a modern equivalent of Random Hold or even Quiet Sun, strangely both having Roxy Music's legendary Phil Manzanera as main artistic vehicle. So it will come as no surprise that the man is finally present on a couple of tracks on this the sophomore album, in a style reminiscent of his recent 'Firebird VII' release back in 2008. Once again, the musicians are led by bassist Peter Chilvers, keyboardist Steve Bennett, ex No Man axeman Michael Bearpark and reedman Myke Clifford, as well as Tim Bowness on vocals and guitars. Well Bowness is back but no microphone for him, as this is an all-instrumental affair, adding drummer Andrew Booker and keys guy Jarrod Gosling (no relation to Ryan). There are 4 tracks on this short release, evenly timed as two 13 minute + jobs and two 6 minute and such pieces.

So what is it like, you ask? A smoother, more groovy set of tunes, very British, very quirky once again, with loads of stellar interplay, a serious dedication to modern atmospherics colliding with a resilient Canterbury tinge whilst dabbling unashamed in sonic lunacy. 'Everyone in Sweden' is a near 14 minute frolic, immediately catchy a la Soft Machine, with loads of assorted keys rippling through the bass/drum shuffle, flashy Manzanera riffs cleverly overlaying the auditory carpet. You have it all eddying nicely with churning organ, whistling synths, tingling piano, brooding mellotron walls and some sexy saxophone blurts, dedicated to send you into buzzland. Simply sensational progressive rock and classic British jazz-rock coalescing into a tremendous swirl of creative sound and blessed fury. The bass in particular does some dazzling settlings of account with Clifford's squawking brass arsenal, Bennett and Gosling laying down some nasty symphonic bliss, recalling at times, old and early instrumental King Crimson (led by the mighty Mel Collins). It is becoming increasingly rare to find a track that can alternate pace and mood with such seeming ease, creating dense atmospherics that are most inspiring. The effect is a curious mixture of avant-garde and old school, expertly played and brilliantly arranged. Manzanera's distinct guitar rasp adorns the title track. Intensely luxuriant, almost menacing 'Men Signing' has a more cinematographic feel, with the mellotron front and center, coerced by a pulsating beat and slashed by a Manzanera special, full of astute guitar sounds and ingenious timbres, delivered with such methodical grace and effortless precision. The track literally cooks with fervent urgency and electric dedication. So you wonder about Brit humour? Well it's still alive and well if one glances at the next two titles 'My Favorite Zombie' and the longer 'Chic Hippo'. The first is a stranger piece, led as it is by an insistent and omnipresent mellotron, a twofold guitar attack from Bearpark and Bowness, a gruesome bass pounding display and some confused drumming, all establishing a slightly schizoid sagacity of imbalance. It's hard edged in an unconventional sense, truly unsettling! 'Chic Hippo' is a portlier piece led by a scouring violin courtesy of Steve Bingham, as Chilvers burps with authority, aided by Booker's two-fisted slam and percussive genius. The trumpet squeezes out demonic restraint, with buzzsaw guitars mowing down the guilty. When an e-piano flutter enters the ring, things just get kookier, almost dissonant and nearly weird by previous standards, with echoes of grand musical schemes painting the air. Again quite experimental and 'recherché', the boys are seeking out dense pastures and infusing with brilliant musings in enticing the listener into their world of 'singing men'.

Fans of the afore-mentioned bands will flock to this mellotron and sax mixture, in my mind a clear step-up from their debut, which was highly regarded by prog fans. Subtle and deranged sounds from clearly imaginative artists certainly deserve our attention and applause. Bloody marvelous!

5 Male vocalists

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 Henry Fool by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.58 | 22 ratings

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Henry Fool
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Henry Fool came in life out of the coffee shop chats between No-Man's singer Tim Bowness and ex-Lahost/Airbridge's keyboardist Stephen Bennett to come up with a project indicating their music influences as youngsters.Henry Fool officially formed in spring 2000 with the two men gathering also bassist Peter Chilvers, Pendragon's drummer Fudge Smith, guitarist Michael Bearpark (known also for his work with No-Man) and woodwind player Myke Clifford.The project recorded its debut at Chaos Studios in Norwich and at the Music Farm in the hamlet of Lenwade between March 2000 and April 2001 and the album was eventually released on the Cyclops label.

The album contains 16 short tracks connected to each other and making a long composition, which passes through extremely different soundscapes and each drawing influences from a mass of music styles.These unrelated textures will definitely surprise the listener in a positive way, though this is the same reason the album lacks in coherence.With Bowness as the leading figure ''Henry Fool'' contains lots of ambiental/psychedelic textures akin to NO-MAN with hypnotic guitars, dreamy flutes, distorted electronics/sound effects and sensitive vocals creating calm, chill-out images.The psychedelic vibes do not stop here, there are also a couple of more upbeat moments with solid grooves and jams, very much in a Kraut Rock enviroment, led by impressive guitars and a powerful rhythm section.The more Classic Prog-oriented tracks feature always the presence of Bennett.Loads of Mellotron, refined electric piano and light organ themes recall the 70's Prog Rock era, mainly influenced by KING CRIMSON, offering dark but well-crafted soundscapes with an orchestral mood.The next leading figure of the album seems to be Myke Clifford and his sax.Many moments in ''Henry Fool'' are led by his strong sax experiments with evident VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and EMBRYO inspirations, somewhere between Psych/Prog and Kraut/Jazz Rock.Beautiful performances with an obvious jazzy approach, much in a loose mood.

This album should be easily regarded as a nice trip into the world of NO-MAN's music and the Classic Prog ages.Alternating calm and nervous passages result a work of a documentary character as a whole.Not a masterful album, but definitely an original and pleasant listening.Recommended.

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 Henry Fool by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.58 | 22 ratings

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Henry Fool
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars NO-MAN's Tim Bowness is part of this project along with PENDRAGON's Fudge Smith on drums.This is spacey, atmospheric music with lots of sax and mellotron. I really prefer this to NO-MAN by the way. Oh, and Steven Wilson mixed a couple of tracks.

This album opens with no less than 3 instrumentals. The first one "Friday Brown" has spacey synths, guitar, Fender Rhodes piano and mellotron ! A very atmospheric piece. The second song "Bass Pig" has distorted guitars to start with, cool drums, organ and mellotron. This is very Red era Crimson sounding. Kind of the opposite of the first song. "Poppy Q" is brighter with keys and mellotron. The bass and drums are excellent on this one. It has a spacey ending. "Lateshow" consists of 5 songs that blend together. The first is called "Midnight Days".This is where we first have the privelige of hearing Tim Bowness sing for the first time on the album. Right away the band NO-MAN comes to mind. This is beautiful, fragile and gentle.The next part "Blindman One" is led by the sax and it's still dreamy. "Poppy Z" is more uptempo and I love the dissonant sax. "Blindman Two" features gentle sax and is very PINK FLOYD-like. Nice and spacey.

Besides "Bass Pig" the next song "Grounded" is my favourite. The vocals, the flute, the mellotron, this is beautiful music. It does get heavy as the vocals come in with mellotron. Amazing sound ! "The Laughter that Turned To Ice" and "Judy On The Brink" could both be on NO-MAN records, I even checked to see if they were, because they sounded so much like NO-MAN. In between those two tracks we have the mellow song "Jazz Monkey". "The David Warner Wish List" is a cool sounding experimental tune with fuzz bass and sax leading the way. It builds as synths, guitar and drums come in. "Heartattack" is an atmospheric song with vocals. Nice bass lines in this one. Some angular guitar, flute and sax in "The Mellow Moods Of Malcom McDowell". The next tune "Dreamer's Song" has vocals, piano and organ leading the way. Love the mellotron after a minute. "Tuesday Weld" ends the album with a dark instrumental. I like it ! Especially the mellotron.

I highly recommend this atmospheric, mellotron laden beauty.

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 Henry Fool by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.58 | 22 ratings

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Henry Fool
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by dmwilkie

4 stars This is an interesting album with a variety of sounds. There are plenty of ambient keyboard sounds, sometimes soothing, sometimes unsettling, which can suddenly morph into wild,jazzy passages, and before you know it, you are into a short, well constructed song, impeccably crooned by Tim Bowness. Don't expect spectacular guitar solos, but you will find jangling guitar chords and short staccato phrases,which are all the more effective for thir understatedness. I was particularly impressed by Fudge Smith's drumming, especially his exquisite drum-rolls on 'Jazz Monkey'. Myke Clifford also delivers a stunning performance on sax, flute and clarinet, while the keyboard work is excellent throughout.

The tracks are short, and well-constructed. I found it best to listen on headphones to appreciate the composition of each piece. The only trach which outstays its welcome is the longest one, ' The Mellow Moods of Malcolm McDowell', but even it is not lacking in interest.

The album is similar to Porcupine Tree at times, and at others, reminiscent of Somnambulist. An enjoyable, relaxing and interesting cd.

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 Henry Fool by HENRY FOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.58 | 22 ratings

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Henry Fool
Henry Fool Crossover Prog

Review by The Sea Priest

4 stars Contrary to what the first review suggests, this is actually a project spearheaded by Tim Bowness, Steven Wilson's partner in No-Man.

For me, the album's an organic and interesting fusion of early-1970s Prog and Jazz-Rock influences (Crimson, Soft Machine, Gabriel's Genesis etc...) and elements of Post-Rock bands such as Gastr Del Sol and Tortoise.

The most surprising aspect of the album to these ears is the fact that Fudge Smith's drumming is far more loose and expressive than his work with Pendragon. Not at all what I was expecting.

Personal highlights include 'Bass Pig' (Crimson-esqe mellotron-driven fury) and the beautiful 'Grounded' (a conclusion to the album's mini-suite).

Not as innovative or contemporary as No-Man or Porcupine Tree perhaps, but well worth a listen for those interested in an affectionate, warm and distinctive take on the first wave of Progressive bands.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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