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The Incredible String Band - The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion CD (album) cover


The Incredible String Band


Prog Folk

3.84 | 45 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The second album of this band is in my opinion their best. This decision grew after I had listened these records independently for some years, I think here the average song quality is best, nearly all really mind blowing and only few last songs not so good, they being really fine too. The lyrics are understandable and wise, and music interesting but not trying to be experimental for sake of being it.

This marvelous album opens with raw violin, guitar and voice delivering "Chinese White", a beautiful ballad with thoughtful lyrics, crystallizing major key elements of the group right away. "No Sleep Blues" is more traditional folk song with surreal lyrics, funny feeling and some subtle sitar lines. "Painting Box" is then a true classic, with exceptional melody and lyrics that really grew to my mind, creating thoughts which I could identify with in bad times. There's a nice film of this song which was performed in Julie Felix show with her. Following "The Mad Hatter's Song" has interesting ancient sound in the melody, strong wailing vocals included and also really powerful lyrics. The song structure alters, there are wonderful moments of silence, and changes which do not return to previous themes. "Little Cloud" opens interestingly with weird vocal harmony, changing then as really playful and happy, healing song. "The Eyes of Fate" is a Slowly rolling and quietly opening kaleidoscope of religiously-scoped thoughts, with holy moment of chanting as verse. "Blues for the Muse" is then a happy world-hugging bluesy folk tune with accordion and sitar ringing in the background, fine twist in the lyric at the end, heh. "The Hedgehog's Song" is a really peculiar small song, with funny lyrics of a metaphorical hedgehog arriving to tell the same universal truth applicable to all possible events. Following "First Girl I Loved" is another melodically suberb and strongly personal classic song for long wailing voice and guitars. Next "You Know What You Could Be" is circled by ancient sounding sequence with tablas, pipe and guitar studying the chords. The the song starts to roll happily forward, building quite nice logical melodic folk song. Powerful "My Name Is Death" has really wonderful lyrics, and is a sad quiet contemplative song so true (optimal for ruining teenage parties). "Gently Tender" is a happy tune for flute, tablas, voice and guitar with slightly experimental sequences in the end. The album closes with "Way Back in the 1960s", a raw descriptive rant for guitars and vocal with some sitar. I usually skip this song when listening the album, as it is the least best when compared to others, which are in my opinion exceptional, creating an album difficult to match in quality or emotional sincerity and richness. That doesn't mean that it would be a really poor song though! The other tunes of this record are just so much better and form a different feeling for me. These songs have been big solace for me and the record has grown as personal all-time favorites. I would recommend this psychedelic gem wrapped to a nice dualistic hippie drawing for anybody open for thoughtful and sincere European acoustic music.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 5/5 |


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