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Twelfth Night - Smiling At Grief CD (album) cover


Twelfth Night



2.90 | 50 ratings

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4 stars Essentially a demo tape produced between Live at the Target and Fact and Fiction, Smiling at Grief finds Twelfth Night dabbling in a range of different styles and getting used to working with new vocalist Geoff Mann. Compared to the Electra Tape, this seems to have been a more successful bid to incorporate vocals into the band's music; whilst the Electra material is very obviously Electra's vocals recorded in isolation and pasted onto previously-instrumental tracks, here Mann and the rest of the band have clearly been working more closely together from the start.

It's pretty nice-sounding for a demo album too, especially on the 2009 Definitive Edition (which includes as a bonus disc Smiling At Grief Live, a live recording from the tour the band went on to promote the tape), with tracks such as East of Eden both giving Geoff a decent chance to show off his vocal chords whilst blending edgy New Wave anger with neo-prog atmosphere.

Though the two best prog-oriented songs on the album - This City and Creepshow - exist in superior versions on Fact and Fiction, the versions here aren't too bad either, and it's clear that Geoff Mann has found his style as a vocalist and lyricist quickly. He's very theatrical, which might be off-putting to some, and he's clearly got some social commentary to offer, so you can see why Twelfth Night and Fish-era Marillion would soon become associated in people's minds. (Indeed, it feels like in some passages on Creepshow either Marillion would go on to be influenced by Twelfth Night or Twelfth Night were being influenced by Marillion or, more likely, both were deriving inspiration from each other.)

Warthur | 4/5 |


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