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Spirogyra - St. Radigunds CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.25 | 204 ratings

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A Person
5 stars Spirogyra's debut is one of their essential albums and is a landmark in the acid folk genre, comparable to Comus' First Utterance. St. Radigunds, however, could be considered to have a more "normal" approach to prog, albeit their own interpretation.

The album is driven by Steve Borrill's bass and Martin Cockerham's guitar, Julian Cusack's emotional violin plays over them beside Martin and Barbara Gaskin who made an odd but captivating duo. Martin's vocal style is vaguely similar to Roger Wootton's, although less manic, while Barbara has one of the most beautiful voices I've encountered in prog, a soft, flowing voice that best is suited for prog folk. The album opens with "The Future Won't Be Long" and sets the standard for the album, a distinctive off-kilter sound that compliments the lyrics perfectly. The lyrics themselves are one of St. Radigunds strong points and seem to be politically inclined; "The Future Won't Be Long" relates a story set in WWII and later "Captain's Log" seemingly deals with nuclear holocaust. Island however, takes a more poetic approach, Martin's vocals accompanied by a haunting violin.

The violin continues to shine on "Magical Mary", which contains an instrumental section that might be the single best part of the album. Steve is also particularly strong, and helps to keep the song together where the vocals are even stranger.

Spiro take a short break on "Captain's Log", which is a refreshing folk rock song despite its pessimistic lyrics. They further explore this softer side on "Love is a Funny Thing" and is probably the lightest song on the album. The piano driven "At Home in the World" is also a lighter affair than the first three tracks, with some interesting piano and a fiery intro by Cusack.

A ballad of sorts, "We Were a Happy Crew" is a pretty song that again features vocals from both Gaskin and Cockerham that develops an ethereal, psychedelic feel. Returning to a style first explored on the first track, "Cogwheels, Crutches and Cyanide" has an introspective atmosphere with a strong narrative.

After the aforementioned "Love is a Funny Thing", they launch into the ambitious "The Duke of Beaufort". It's an intense track that ends the album perfectly and brings together the elements that contribute to making this album a masterpiece; the stunning duo of Martin and Barbara, Julian's soaring violin solos, and Steve's bass keeping a wonderful sense of rhythm. A cohesive album all told, St. Radigunds has the capability to capture its listener's attention on both an intellectual and emotional level, using acid folk influences to help craft an album I consider a prog masterpiece.

A Person | 5/5 |


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