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Sean Filkins - War And Peace & Other Short Stories CD (album) cover


Sean Filkins


Crossover Prog

4.08 | 409 ratings

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3 stars Here we have a combination of Neo-Prog bombast and earnest acoustic-led passages. Sean Filkins has a pleasant, grandfatherly voice that doesn't come expected atop the Neo-Prog style (I don't mean that to insinuate elderliness- only a warm eagerness to tell stories). Where he shines is in the shorter tracks, as the highlights here are "The English Eccentric" and "Learn How to Learn."

"Are You Sitting Comfortably?" Somewhat. But I'll take coffee and not tea, thanks.

"The English Eccentric" Wild synthesizer and a thundering rhythm section billows through, settling into an upbeat acoustic rock song. The refrain is catchy enough, and the acoustic guitar solo is lovely touch, and is a stark contrast to the electric one that concludes the piece. This is a fun, stimulating song that is easy to just enjoy, and is my favorite on the album.

"Prisoner of Conscience, Part 1: The Soldier" Opening with the sound of war, the instrumentation begins with a low drone and lonely flute. What follows is an unexpected peppering of Indian instrumentation- the sound of a bazaar in Bombay rather than that of an English battlefield. Next in the queue is lighthearted acoustic guitar and bright singing. Herein lies my main criticism: There are stylistic changes that don't seem to make sense in the context of a single song. The organ solo drives the piece back into symphonic splendor, and the lead guitar that soon follows does not disappoint. The vocal passages at times remind one of Yes, while the instrumentation sits comfortably (ha!) in the neighborhood of Spock's Beard.

"Prisoner of Conscience, Part 2: The Ordinary Man" Coming right off the tail of the previous piece, this second part begins with a light vocal passage with a simple bass progression. This particular song is oozing with early Marillion.

"Epitaph for a Mariner" You'll think you're in church with the beginning this one: Pipe organ straight from a hymnal and an airy feminine voice. Expect quite a bit of synthesizer lead and repetition. I don't think the use of the snare complements the music. This lengthy song just doesn't capture me like a long tune should; I find myself looking at the clock. That isn't to say that the artist's instrumental prowess isn't on full display here (it is), but the composition itself just seems to carry on for the sake of carrying on.

"Learn How to Learn" A pastoral waltz with acoustic guitar, flute, and tranquil vocals, the final uplifting song is bathed in the nectar of The Flower Kings.

Epignosis | 3/5 |


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