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Subway - Subway CD (album) cover

SUBWAY

Subway

 

Prog Folk

3.76 | 14 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!

This duo's sole album proved to be one of the most elusive collectible vinyls in the folk rock realm, and its reputation of being a lost gem was not usurped. Made from an encounter in the London tube between American singer/songwriter Irvin Mowrey and British classically trained violinist Malcolm Watson. The duo developed an acoustic 12-string guitar-violin sound that sounded quite unique, mixed with Mowrey's great voice and intriguing lyrics.

From the fragile opening I Am A Child to the darker 5-mins Songs From A Sinking Shelter (Watson is all over the track from the foreground to the background and enhanced with a mellotron and percussions) to the absolutely haunting and psychedelic Warm You Are (with a slightly Mauresque ambiance and backwards cymbal effects) and the group-enhanced soundscape of All Good Things, the first side is a pure marvel of psych/acid/progressive folk. Yet, nothing is to prepare us for the flipside.

Opening on the fantastic Enturbulation, where some electric guitars, organ, bass and drums accompany the duo, Watson's violin simply soars to height unsuspected until Mowrey's guitar is taking the song into full-blown jam, ending dramatically. Arizona Sands return to more traditional folk, with Watson's violin is sending chills down your spine. The closing track Trade With You My Mind is another full group effort, pushing the music towards an electric folk rock. Influence-wise the two tracks with the rock arrangements are really close to String Driven Thing's best moments on Machine That Cried.

It is clear that if all these songs are penned by guitarist-singer Mowrey, they would not have the same flavour without Watson's superb and inventive violin, often giving a normal song a haunting and eerie atmosphere to them. Sadly all too short, I'm more than sure there are more tapes lying around from radio shows or unused tracks for the album. And yet after so many years of turning the music racks upside down, this old geezer still manages to discover one of those legitimate lost gems in the acid-folk domain, that this little oeuvre is a real beauty.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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