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The Psychedelic Ensemble - Mother's Rhymes CD (album) cover


The Psychedelic Ensemble



3.77 | 84 ratings

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5 stars Mother's Rhymes is the much-awaited sixth full-length studio album from the quasi-anonymous composer, The Psychedelic Ensemble (TPE). Like TPE's other albums, it a concept album whose theme, this time, recalls the often creepy nursery rhymes that plague one's thoughts since childhood, and how all can be rectified if we simply "rewrite the rhymes".

Fans of his previous album, "The Sunstone", will immediately appreciate this new release as it shares a great deal of compositional elements and vocal stylings. At the time of writing this review, the album was released only for streaming and downloading without liner notes, so the full list of credits is somewhat unknown. However, there is a great deal of violin presence throughout this album, and that can easily be attributed to a past collaborator, Davis Brooks. There are also female vocals, both as lead on "Little Bo Peep", and backing on many other tracks. To this reviewer's ear, it is once again the vocalist who goes by the nom de plume, Ann Caren. There are other parts, particularly at the end of track 8, "Rewrite the Rhymes", that don't sound like Ann, so there could be (as has been rumored) another female guest vocalist.

Like TPE's past couple of releases, this album is jam packed with layers of keys, guitar, violin, percussion, and synth. It must be listened to at fairly high volume to give room to the immense dynamic range, and to appreciate the full drama of TPE's compositions. Keys, as always, are blazingly fast -- so much so that Keith Emerson, were he alive, would stand up and applaud. And TPE's guitar work, both acoustic and electric, really stands out on this album. Attentive listeners will pick out, particularly on track 2, the one-string tremolo on guitar -- no doubt derived from his classical mandolin compositions.

The album is also chock full of various moods. "Mother's Rhymes" starts with a somewhat folksy, pastoral mood reminiscent of his first couple of albums, before it quickly moves into the mind-filling drama that we have come to know and love. Track 2, "Farewell", is somewhat somber and brings to mind Gentle Giant's "Think of Me With Kindness". Track 5, "Blind Mice", was previously released as a single. It is all instrumental and heavily classically influenced. Track 6, "Simple Simon", begins with a brooding delivery. Track 8, "Rewrite the Rhymes", is fast-paced, up-beat, and happy. It ends with the lyrics "When the bow breaks, the cradle won't fall, and safe will be baby, cradle and all." -- an obvious rewrite of the original nursery rhyme. All tracks run seamlessly together, with a continuous, uninterrupted flow.

TPE has done it again. He created another virtuosic masterpiece that will not age with time. One can't help but wonder whether some tracks, notably "Farewell" and "Humpty Dumpty" reflect on TPE's personal experiences, or whether it's just another example of his epic story telling like we've heard on "The Tale of the Golden King", and "The Sunstone". Only time, or maybe he himself, will tell. Five stars.

wiz_d_kidd | 5/5 |


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