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Stackridge - The Man in the Bowler Hat (AKA Pinafore days) CD (album) cover

THE MAN IN THE BOWLER HAT (AKA PINAFORE DAYS)

Stackridge

 

Prog Folk

3.24 | 35 ratings

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apps79
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Stackridge's popularity increased with each release and in February the band made its television debut on a BBC programm, followed by a two-month tour.It was something like a tradition for them to be supported by future Prog Rock giants, this time the supporting act meant to be the legendary Camel.Later on ex-Audience Keith Gemmell joined the band on saxophone and during the summer they recorded their third work ''The man in the bowler hat'' at the Air Studios in London, supervised by The Beatles' producer George Martin, who also appeared in a few tracks as a pianist.The album was the last one on MCA, launched in 1974 and released in a different version in USA and Canada under the title ''Pinafore days''.

At this point Stackridge appear to lose contact with their progressive beginnings, the presence of George Martin on the production stool surfaced an even more evident THE BEATLES' relation both on vocal and instrumental parts and the complex themes have been pretty much reduced to zero.On the other hand this was not your average Pop/Folk Rock album, it maintained a highly sophisticated profile with demanding orchestrations and instrumental richness among the sweet mono- and polyphonic harmonies and the charming melodies with the discreet GENESIS influences being still around in the guitar and organ parts, this is basically an Art Pop album with glimpses of British Prog Rock, heavily relying on the instrumental variety, lots of flute, strings and keyboards pop out in the process next to the standard electroacoustic sound of the band.The long tracks are sorely missed here and actually their length has been decreased to an average of 3 minutes each, but the inspiration of the British veterans remains always at a high level, even if THE MOODY BLUES, THE BEATLES or STEELEYE SPAN seem like more appropriate comparisons than to say Genesis or Strawbs.Veteran producer George Martin helped the band to complete some great orchestral moves, doubled with Britrish Folk and Pop sensibilities, the result was a pretty fascinating work with lovely harmonies and a pretty accesible sound.

Not among the priorities of a Classic Prog fan.This sounds mostly like The Beatles at their most complicated attempts, orchestral and melodic music with minor proggy vibes, quite tasteful and fairly entertaining.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |

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