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Art Bears - Winter Songs CD (album) cover


Art Bears



3.88 | 100 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is ART BEARS second album.It was originally released on THE RESIDENTS "Ralph Records" label. It's been remastered by Bob Drake and re-released on the ReR label. They're a trio with Dagmar Krause on vocals, Fred Frith on guitar / violin / keyboards and Chris Cutler on drums. Chris also wrote the lyrics that "Tell political allegories through medieval-tinged stories." My biggest surprise with this album was at how dark it was, then add Dagmar's often creepy vocals and it makes the cover art seem ironic.

"The Bath Of Stars" is dark with the organ floating in the background as these creepy vocals slowly come and go. Cool song. "First Things First" opens with vocals only then these dark,sparse piano lines join in. Drums and guitar after a minute. "Gold" again opens with vocals only. Piano and other sounds join in. Eerie stuff. "The Summer Wheel" is led by drums and piano as vocals join in. This is almost normal sounding. Love the drumming. He's busy yet restrained. Bass like sounds after 2 minutes. "The Slave" sounds really good. It settles after a minute as the organ floats in with almost spoken vocals. It kicks back in with violin after 2 minutes. Guitar follows. Nice. "The Hermit" opens with vocals followed by violin and drums. Contrasts continue. I like this one a lot. "Rats And Monkeys" features aggressive vocals as the violin screeches. Intense is the word here. A crazy ending to this one too.

"The Skeleton" opens with organ and drums.Vocals and piano around a minute. Guitar before 2 minutes. "The Winter Wheel" is led by drums and vocals early.Great sound after 2 1/2 minutes as it has gotten much fuller. "Man And Boy" has a crazy intro.It's dark and ominous as the almost spoken vocals with piano join in. A very avant-garde tune. "Winter / War" is slow paced with vocals and piano. It picks up 1 1/2 minutes with guitar and drums. "Force" is uptempo with vocals as the guitar joins in. "Three Figures" has some excellent vocal arrangements on it and I really like the overall sound. "Three Wheels" opens with vocals. Piano arrives as it calms down. Reserved vocals join in. Amazing sound as it gets fuller. Love the atmosphere.

4.5 stars for this one. A must for Rio / Avant fans.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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