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Secret Green - To Wake the King CD (album) cover

TO WAKE THE KING

Secret Green

 

Prog Folk

3.89 | 23 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars I somehow doubt that fans of groundbreaking cult group ENID, during a 13 year drought, got together in their drafty cellars and lamented into their draughts that what the ENID needed to do above all was incorporate Olde English folk derivations into their already twee arsenal. But, if I had bothered to follow the group at some point that's surely what I would have concluded. Curiously, the deliverance came in the form of former member FRANCIS LICKERISH and his SECRET GREEN project, coincidentally (or not) released in the same year as the mother ship's first sailing since 1996.

Luckily so much more than lip service is paid to intrinsic folk influenced numbers like "Echoing Green", "Tom O'Bedlam" (and its companion "Bransle") and "Nimue", but even in the surprisingly aggressive moments like the introduction to "Galliard", the ancient roots are nurtured. Sure, you still get the ceremoniousness of any Enid related production, so fans would be mostly at home here, and the heavenly voice of Hilary Palmer only adds to the enticements.

My main criticism is how slowly matters unfold on many of these tracks, and I'm not always so keen on the timbre of the lead guitars, but really these are ungrateful quibbles when considered in light of this uniquely English event that is equal parts symphony, courtly dance nickelodeon, and social mixer for lords, serfs and scallywags alike. At least that is what the sound evokes, which is surely the point, along with a lament for the long departed and idealized benevolent dictatorships of yore. Given modern vicissitudes, if the KIng has not awakened yet, he has rolled over and wished the nightmare away. That's where SECRET GREEN comes in.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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