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Stackridge - Friendliness CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.72 | 42 ratings

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4 stars "Someone said the strangest thing is friendliness."

Literally so, in speaking of this album. But what an absolute treasure this is. Describing it is not easy. A very English piece of folk-rock that combines traditional Pub sing-a-long music with the Abbey Road flavor of the Beatles (Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard type stuff). All is delivered with unbelievably high quality vocals, instrumentation, and production. There is also a slight psych undercurrent, imagine songs not so far from the style of Syd Barrett, but played more straightforward and with a sunnier disposition perhaps. Whimsical stories are treated to the most careful, loving arrangements you've ever heard. Vocal harmonies are as perfect as can be, acoustic guitars sound very crisp. There are delightful piano passages, violin and cello accents, and flutes. Simple folk songs become much more when tastefully peppered with such high-minded performances and bit of eclectic rock and roll.

Highlights include the stoic opener "Lummy Days" with its bouncy and festive announcement that you are about to experience musical individualism, that is, folk music on its own terms. Love it or leave it! There is the two part title track which is a proclamation of amazement that people manage friendships which can be difficult as we all know. Delicate harmonized vocals are set atop acoustic guitars. "Anyone for Tennis" is a clear nod to Beatles tracks like Rocky Raccoon, with a whimsical ditty adorned with lovely orchestrations and a vocal every bit as sweet as Sir Paul, yes these guys can sing. "There is no Refuge" is a quiet ballad with piano and violin, lovely. The big epic here is the 9 minute "Syracuse the Elephant" which lives up to its impressive title! Pure magic. The story of an elephant who wants to go home but ends up in Hollywood of all places. The vocal sections break for another great piano/violin interlude. The second half brings in some delicious flute. "Amazingly Agnes" is one of the modest "rocker" tracks which brings a more traditional drum/bass rhythm, though still pleasantly quirky. It has a bit of a reggae feel to it. "Father Frankenstein" is another cute Beatle-esque track. "Keep on Clucking" is a bluesy rocker with some jamming electric guitar and the story of chickens headed for the factory line! "Story of my Heart" is a beautiful, slow, and introspective piano solo. "Teatime" ends the album on a very strong note. An excellent piece of songwriting with strong violin and flute interplay. The lyrics are fabulous talking about taking a journey, and how everything was wonderful, but really, all he wants to do is get home and have tea. In other words, yeah, there's this big crazy world out there that we're supposed to shoot for, but really, I just want some peace and quiet-please shut the door on your way out. I love this band, they package great songs together with a very dry humor and impeccable playing. Very, very close to a folk-rock masterpiece. 4+ stars. Highly recommended to fans of folk-rock, Beatles, English whimsy, and lovely melodies.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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