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Flamborough Head - Tales Of Imperfection CD (album) cover

TALES OF IMPERFECTION

Flamborough Head

 

Neo-Prog

3.58 | 41 ratings

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mbzr48
5 stars The album starts with a short instrumental with soothing flute played by Margriet. There is a certain cleanness about it, but Edo Spanninga's keyboards are pretty important too, as is the piano. The song shows warmth, and a bit of power too as we find ourselves in "Maureen". The flute plays the main theme, the guitar plays some strong chords. The music is as we have come to expect, very melodic, quite accessible, but varied. The production is good and clear. The style I guess is a mix of Camel and Glass Hammer with a dose of Genesis (check out the guitar work for instance during the long intro). Thus we have a full symphonic sound with equal roles for guitar and keyboards, and a good sense of melody. But the band can also rock, as evidenced by the guitar plus flute solo and the brimming organ right before one third down the road. The vocals start just halfway, telling the story of the front cover. They are sung quite fast, but sure. In the middle we have some rare backing vocals, but I'm not so sure this is a good idea. In between we have the 'usual' solo elements which make up a lengthy symphonic song. We run right onto "Higher Ground", again an instrumental, but a lengthier one. The song has many (bombastic) elements and a large amount of melodic and instrumental variation, with a few synthetic violins thrown in, and some wonderful thematic flute play, combined with acoustic guitar. This is similar to the best of Hackett's solo material, the fairy stuff, although the guitar is more Latimer like. This does not mean the song is all melody. Indeed, following it we get to a rather funky part with 70's rhythm guitar. With the very Camel like keyboards that follow, we are thoroughly enmeshed in seventies Camel. Excellent.

"Silent Stranger" is the next somewhat epic vocal track, opening with flute and some prominent bass play, which gives the music a somewhat bouncy and frolic feel. The band again takes its time to start up the song, playing the main themes, before moving to the vocal part. Again, there is a lot of melodic material going into a song of this length. It seems Flamborough Head was pretty inspired when they wrote this. But the music is not all friendly, indeed the piano play is quite tense. The vocals are again rather pacey, as is the guitar work, but they do slowly build up. Margriet shows a bit more roughness at the edges, which improves things, I think. Halfway, we arrive at an introspective interlude with piano and strong melodic guitar work. In these moments, the Hackett influence is strongest. Later the vocals come back in, but in a different fashion, a bit more emotional and outspoken this time around. Margriet is sure singer these days.

"Captive Of Fate" opens with acoustic guitar and string synths. The vocal line sounds a bit familiar, but that could be from a previous listen. The song is about helping others in need, usually they have only fate to blame for their situation. The chorus is one that sticks in your head. The acoustic guitar-work is strongly reminiscent of Genesis.

"Mantova" is again an instrumental, the third one thus far. It brings the same melodic richness, but without sounding like something you heard before. This time the flute plays the role of bringing in a sense or urgency and all through the organ is in the back. This is one pacey instrumental with flashy play from all concerned. "Year After Year" is the closing vocal track, a ballad. Margriet again shows how much she has grown since the first album, and she carries the song more or less by herself, although the guitar solo shines too.

Year after year, Flamborough Head has been showing that it can still grow. Their brand of melodic symphonic rock with a female vocalist reminds most of Camel and Genesis, and this time around the band shows very sure of itself, excellent thematic material to bring into play, and with all the different melodic material, they do run the chance of loosing the edge to the music. However, they cope with this by introducing some tense interludes and elements, as well as some heavy guitar accents, and keep the pace high as needs be. For me a strong 5 stars!

mbzr48 | 5/5 |

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