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Stackridge - Friendliness CD (album) cover

FRIENDLINESS

Stackridge

 

Prog Folk

3.72 | 42 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Sophomore album of this odd and eclectic bunch of musicians, with an added Jim Walter bassist who had previously been involved in the band when they were known as Stackridge Lemons (keyboardist Andy Davis had doubled on bass in the debut), so the group is now a sextet. With a well-known theme of the old man and the birds theme gracing the cover of this single-sleeved album, I cannot make out if there are some conceptual tid-bits linking the tracks

With the instrumental opening track Lummy Days (which will open many shows), Stackridge picks up where they had left off with the closing Slark on their debut album. The first half of the title track is a charming soft piece that will remind itself to the listener just before the end of the album. The Beatles influences had not disappeared yet as the unashamedly Anyone For Tennis (featuring The Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra on strings) and No Refuge suggests, though. Again they save their best moment on the almost 9-min Syracuse The Elephant, where their mainly acoustic instrumental prowess are quite impressive including a mellotron.

Amazing Agnes (their second single) presents again strong Beatles resemblance, talks about a cow and gathered some good airplay. The again-bizarre (not in terms of typical British quirkiness, though) Father Frankenstein Is Behind Your Pillow is a clarinet- dominated soft song contrasting heavily with the preceding RnR-esque Keep On Clucking. The instrumental (piano-only) Story Of My Heart and the just-as-short second title tracks (two of them) again change to the more reflective mood that the band thrives on. Again, Stackridge close an album side with one of their best track, the deliciously pastoral Teatime where the musical trances can make you think of String Driven Thing's The Machine That Cried: simply excellent. Evans' violin, Walter's bass and Davis' mellotrons are a pure joy on this track

Only marginally better than their debut, this album is a better intro to understand the musical landscapes that Stackridge loves to deploy before our very ears. With only the Clucking track sticking out a bit, this album has much charms and is an essential oeuvre of the group.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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