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Decameron - Mammoth Special CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.05 | 21 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Second album from this Gloucestershire now-quintet group as they added Cadbury a fulltime bassist (although he would also diddle the fiddle) and they now moved onto Mooncrest Record to have their "classic years" although this should stay relative and all things considered. Musically becoming a quintet did not modify greatly the sound of the band, but it's clear it gave them more opportunities, although you wonder why they did not take advantage of it more. So we still have this prog folk rock that sounds somewhere between Strawbs (especially when they do flirt with country rock), String-Driven Thing and BJH.

11 tracks, the longest of which is just below 6 mins plus two more hovering the 5 mins mark, and all of them (bar a useless Stills' RnR Woman cover) written by either Ball or Coppins or both is somewhat deceiving considering all five members (still no fulltime drummer) are multi-instrumentalists, including sax and cello. Interestingly enough, the violin gives them a SDT edge as you'd swear that Graham Smith joined Decameron. Vocally speaking, we never far away from Cousins' vocals, but there is tinge of BJH as well. Drum-wise, this is the guests appearance galore, including to Indian-sounding names on percussion instruments.

Sure, there are some catchy songs, including the piano-lead Late On Lady Day (a short interesting crescendo) and Cheetah (killer bass line over dramatic vocals, while the other instruments, flute included, are whizzing by) or the awesome slow-developing Stone House (Cadbury's bass again plays a definite role). Clearly in this respect, the better tracks are on the flipside. Some tracks are downright cheesy, such as the String-sunk ballad like the Just Enough Like Home, the closing string fondue Empty Space (a cousin of Cousins) and the title track, while others are hovering on country-rock like Glimpses of Me and Breakdown of The Song (mind you if everybody in the country rock realm was as pleasant, I'd probably like country better), Other tracks like Jan are simply nothing worth more than mentioning.

What really lacks Decameron is one or two good lengthy rockers to not only let loose, but really work it up, get down and boogie it away and add a good touch of prog nirvana. I'm sure they could've done it well enough to. But since they didn't dare, their albums are lacking the "je sais exactement quoi" feel and therefore are only good but nowhere close to essential.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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