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Lunar Cape - Lunar Folk Tales (instrumental version) CD (album) cover


Lunar Cape


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.04 | 8 ratings

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4 stars The second effort by the charming eccentrics of Lunar Cape exaggerates the Prog Folk whimsy of their debut album ("Just Lunatics", 2016), to a point where the Jazz Rock pigeonhole of the band's page in these Archives now seems completely wrong.

A drastic purge in the lineup, from a sextet to the current augmented trio, might have actually helped to focus their eclectic style. The instrumentation resembles a typically multi-tasked Gentle Giant recording session, but with curious detours. Translating from the Cyrillic runes of the official Lunar Cape website, Andrey Shaskov is listed as "bass guitarist, bass flutist, and storyteller"; Olga Scotland (possibly a pseudonym) plays flute, mandolin, recorder, tin whistle, and "all sorts of things"; and Roman Smirnov is given responsibility for " guitars, ocarina, and pure positive"...although I strongly suspect a Google Translation failure for that last credit.

Drums are rare, and by invitation only. Thus the Ian Anderson-like fluting of Ms. Scotland assumes a more prominent role here, together with the washboard and mandolins giving the music its medieval peasant vigor. Rock dynamics are kept to a minimum, but they do exist: in "Greedy Cousin Leprechaun", and the exotic Jethro-Tull-in-Arabia groove of "What the Peacock is Silent About". Fans of the debut Lunar Cape album might also recognize the feline tease of "Cat Bite", recycled here as the more unplugged "Old Man Crowley and Wood Goblin".

The fanciful track titles are meant to suggest imaginary fairy tale narratives, to be further explored in upcoming separate English and Russian language editions of the album: a novel plan that I hope doesn't suffer from the inevitable redundancy. This first version is entirely instrumental, and benefits from the more universal appeal: it's hard to imagine how words could possibly improve the folk-art purity of the music alone. The project was originally conceived for children, and in their undiluted instrumental form the songs retain a lot of that childlike innocence and joy, but in a manner equally attractive to discerning young-at-heart adults.

The vocal alternatives are overdue, by the way. But don't worry: in the meantime the album is also available as a collection of 30- to 40-second ringtones, for the next time you receive a phone call from the moon.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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