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FRUUPP

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Fruupp biography
Founded in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK in 1971 - Disbanded in 1976

Irish guitarist, singer and writer Vince McCusker had spent some months in London to find musicians for his musical ideas. Disappointed he returned to Belfast and recruted musicians to play his material: Miles McKee (lead vocals), Stephen Houston (keyboards/oboe), Peter Farrelly (bass/vocals) and Martin Foye (drums). They called themselves FRUUPP, the name is dreived from an Electroset Page, the band added an U and a P. FRUUPP signed a contract with Dawn Records and in '71 they released the debut album titled "Future Legends", in '74 followed by the "Seven Secrets" and "The Prince of Heaven's Eyes". The band was making real progress (good sales, succesfull gigs) but Stephen Houston left for religious reasons the band and was replaced by John Mason. In this line-up FRUUPP made their last but acclaimed LP "Modern Masquerades" ('74).

The best introduction to the very distinctive sound of FRUUPP is the compilation CD "Songs for a Thought (Sequel Records, '92) featuring 14 tracks from their four albums. FRUUPP showcases a great maturity in writing, combining several styles and showing lots of instruments and changing atmospheres: classic with oboe, folky with acoustic guitars and symphonic with propulsive interplay between electric guitar and organ. This CD also includes the previously unreleased track On a clear day: an alternating piece with powerful electric guitarplay, tasteful keyboards and strong vocals. The best comparison to the unique FRUUPP sound is YES-rooted band like Druid and England but FRUUPP sounds more sophisticated and more colourful.

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS

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FRUUPP discography


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FRUUPP top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 244 ratings
Future Legends
1973
3.46 | 151 ratings
Seven Secrets
1974
3.24 | 159 ratings
The Prince of Heaven's Eyes
1974
3.46 | 145 ratings
Modern Masquerades
1975

FRUUPP Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Masquerading with Dawn
2022

FRUUPP Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FRUUPP Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 12 ratings
Songs for a Thought
1992
3.32 | 17 ratings
Future Legends / Seven Secrets
1996
3.74 | 19 ratings
The Prince of Heaven's Eyes / Modern Masquerades
1996
3.66 | 21 ratings
It's All Up Now - Anthology
2004
4.00 | 4 ratings
Wise as Wisdom: The Dawn Albums 1973-1975
2019
4.00 | 2 ratings
Maid in Ireland - The Best of Fruupp
2020

FRUUPP Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 3 ratings
Prince of Heaven
1974
3.00 | 2 ratings
Janet Planet / Why
1975

FRUUPP Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Modern Masquerades by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.46 | 145 ratings

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Modern Masquerades
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars 1975 was the year when the fourth Fruupp's album was released and it does not see any retreat from their progressive tendencies, fortunately. With the keyboard player changed, we got to hear more lush keyboards that give the album a modern 1975's jazzy progressive feeling - Fender Rhodes, digital piano, mellotron (or mellotron- like synths?) Music is still progressive, even though less dynamic and no less symphonic than before. There are some clever chord sequences such as the keyboard-driven section in the outstanding symphonic "Masquerading with Dawn" which deserves good audio equipment. "Gormenghost" is a surprisingly restraint and mellow track despite its length, however it sets to a good keyboard/drum supported chase. "Mystery might" is another strong cut, first following the typical album mood then upgrading to a busy jazz-rock instrumental exchange. "Sheba's song" is the ultimate keyboard highlight on the album and a suitable band's swang song. It's surprising how much the band's sound change from 1973 to 1975 and the band never lost its focus of a good progressive rock. Having said all that, I believe that this album captures the band at being most original and competes with "The Prince of Heaven's Eyes" for their most progressive album.
 Seven Secrets by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.46 | 151 ratings

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Seven Secrets
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Fruup made a sonic leap forward on their second album. Abandoning the early 70's hard rock/psychedelic elements and opening up to a more contemporary progressive and ambitious sound, I welcome this step. Keyboards are more present and introducing synths/moog rather than just variations of organ. Take it or leave it, the music also becomes more stately as we have a heavy dose of classical music inspiration. "It's all up now" is a ballad in the vein of prog-meets-classical music with piano standing for the retro style and guitar bringing the prog. The best part comes after the fifth-minute mark, elegant subdued guitar on the walls of synths. "Prince of darkness" borrows the theatrical singing from Gabriel but stylistically, again binds the remote nostalgic 20-30's augmented by honky-tonky piano then transforming into a merry-go-round instrumental mess. On top of it, we have great singing and a good melody. "Jaunting car"is rhythmically repetitive but let's highlight the country-like sounding guitar. "Knowing you" is a return to the previous folk leanings on the debut album, a stripped-down and sharp number. "Crystal book" and the longer "The perfect wish" are attempts at suites. They are both well played and we hear plenty of quality symphonic instrumental prog. The latter song features dynamic shifts in the song pace augmented by great drumming.

Out of bonus tracks, I recommend the synth-heavy and melodic "Prince of heaven" that could, by a better luck, end up in the contemporary radio.

To me, it's the band's best album.

 Future Legends by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.91 | 244 ratings

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Future Legends
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Perhaps the only Northern Ireland's 70's contribution to prog, Fruup was a fine yet unimportant one. The band members were pretty young in 1973 but judged by the sound, have been well acquainted with hard-rock, classic rock and folk rock. When you put on the album, you actually feel you are back in 1971/1972 as Fruup weren't the forerunners, they kept being down to earth, relying on overall sound and delivery rather than instrumental awesomeness. The first and last track act as a nod to a concept album and are quite progressive, be it it the instrumental intro or fantastic folk harmony coda. "Decision" is my favourite track with references to Yes (drums, melody construction). "As day breaks with down" is another highlight thanks to its dynamic structure, be it a hocus-focus like rhythm section or a pastoral oboe-driven moment. "Graveyard epistle" finally also introduces a significant keyboard contribution, a pleasant tandem of aggressive guitar and accompanying organ. The remaining music is more conventional and can be described as ambitious classic rock. It's here where Fruup proves to have a sense of melody and creating balanced arrangements. 3.5 stars
 Future Legends by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.91 | 244 ratings

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Future Legends
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by AJ Junior

4 stars Fruupp's debut album is a good one. From Belfast, Northern Ireland, the band was founded by guitarist Vincent McCusker in early 1971. The band opened for bands such as Genesis, Queen, and King Crimson. This album has an awesome classic prog sound. This band is fairly unknown which I find very surprising considering their sound. The whole band is classically trained which definitely reflects in their sound. The production on some parts can be a little sub-par, but still some awesome tunes on here.

The album opens on an unexpected note with the 1:30 self-titled interlude "Future Legends." After the acoustic violin and string-driven opener, we are introduced to Fruupp's true sound. "Decision" marks the second song on the album, with a fiery start. A drum roll under heavy guitars and piano bring us into the verse. We hear Peter Farrelly's unique vocals for the first time on a softer section with nice piano from Stephen Houston. Around the 3:00 mark, the song goes into a very impressive guitar solo section from Vincent McCusker. This solo along with string arrangements from Houston and thumping bass from Farrelly makes this section awesome. The song ends by going back into the verse section. After one of the highlights of the album, the 3rd track "As Day Breaks with Dawn," continues the theme of great guitar songs. After a very fast-paced intro containing spectacular keys from Houston, the song goes into a quieter section with soft guitars and horns. After the majority of the song is dominated by the quiet section it goes back to the fast-paced intro with an unbelievable guitar arpeggio.

"Graveyard Epistle," is my personal favorite song on this album. After an intro similar to the prior song, this one quickly changes to an acoustic guitar section with nice vocals, reminiscent of something like "The Sage" from ELP. The song then goes into the best sequence on the entire album for only about 16 bars at around the 1:50 mark. I really wish the band had capitalized on that one progression more throughout the song. Nevertheless, still a great song. "Lord of the Incubus," begins with a great guitar-dominated progression over a lone wailing choir voice before going into the verse. The verse passage is a great nice organ, vocals, guitars, and eventually strings. After some nice piano sections and a huge buildup, the song goes back into the intro to close it out.

"Old Tyme Future" opens very softly with an organ and guitar before being gently picked up by the drums. Around the halfway point in the song goes into a nice chorus, and towards the end has a beautiful progression with the same lone wailing choir voice from "Lord of the Incubus," before coming to a close. "Song for a Thought," is the longest track on here sitting at 7:30. The song is pretty straightforward, and has a couple of nice sections. I like it but I think it lacks creativity up until the end. The best moments on here are definitely the horn solo in the middle and the last minute and a half, the rest of the song being a tad bit repetitive.

Overall a very impressive album from a quite obscure band. Vincent McCusker's guitar playing on this record is absolutely sensational and is very ahead of its time. Stephen Houston puts on a show with his keys, but also composed all of the string arrangements, and horns, and plays the oboe. There is a reason prog greats like Genesis and King Crimson had these guys open for them. Recommend to all lovers of some classic progressive rock. Solid 4 stars.

 The Prince of Heaven's Eyes by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.24 | 159 ratings

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The Prince of Heaven's Eyes
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars A bit different this one be.

A concept album around an Irish lad living their life.

A so-so album.

An overly dramatic album placing importance on over enunciated lyrics straight from something as hamfisted as a musical. With a musical score fire for romantic films this album has the signature Fruupp charm mixed throughout, yet still remains a poor effort.

Track one opens with nice drumming and strings that become a lovely vocal section. This becomes a sillier section that just ruins the song, simply awful singing here, cringe inducing. A guitar solo after with string backup takes us back to clearer meadows. A great interlude moves the song to a strong finish with the original vocal section returning, thus 3/5 on a track that could have been excellent.

Track two opens with crackling sfx and guitar/piano. Accentuated Irish accented singing follows to establish their ruinous hold. This is interspersed with vocal harmonies and better singing. Various pleasant instrumental sections follow until a reprisal of earlier vocals occurs. 3/5

Track three opens with a more Americana (might be Irish folk which is what American folk is derived from anyways?) beat/instrumentation, terrible. An interlude without vocals it's fine (I don't rate short songs like this, they're score is entirely derived from their surroundings) .

Track four opens with rock guitar and frantic piano chords. The singing on this one is alright, I like the brief turn to falsetto but dislike the bridge. 3/5

Track five opens with the closing of track four because this album can be viewed as one song and this is side two. This track is actually quite amazing. The singing is very touching. It's followed by a shout after a lull, which kicks the song into a powerful guitar solo. Gentle piano and flute follow, guitar chords come in quietly, so beautiful. The band builds up again for different singing, less calm more vigorous still sublime. Drifting vocals through audio panning open the song up for a ridiculous bass/keyboard section, very otherworldly in its brilliance. Eventually the band works to an ah ah ah part that drives towards the songs finishline. The second vocal part returns, delivered more powerful. Guitar soloing over bass/keys, aided by percussion closes the song on a happy note. A surprise 5/5 song.

Track six starts right away with classical esque piano that is joined by crystalline vocals floating above. This is a good short song 4/5, nice and pretty.

Track seven starts with guitar in the Melodic Symphonic Progressive Rock style Fruupp resides within. Quickly piano overtakes the composition. The guitar then returns and the song becomes piano runs over prominent bass. Sadly vocals come when the song should have ended. They are okay, really striking me as unnecessary bloat to the song/album though. This song is fine.

Track eight closes the album like it started gentle vocals, string keys, percussion and bass. This is followed by a mediocre guitar solo that goes on a bit to long. Another okay song.

Overall I find this to be without a doubt Fruupps worse album and wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they are a fan of silly music or musicals. Without the storytelling singing at times this album could be 4/5.

Ps "Knowing You" I do recommend, that song is excellent.

 Modern Masquerades by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.46 | 145 ratings

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Modern Masquerades
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

4 stars I like Fruupp more than Genesis. Yeah they basically are a clone of them but a bit Jazzy, hey y'know, I just love like 4~ of their songs. Two of those songs happen to be on this album and are the longest numbers so they really bring this album up for me to 4/5.

The first two tracks are pretty plain Fruupp songs, pretty by the numbers for the band.

Gormenghast is a powerful song made beautiful by the lyrics being about Mevryn unfinished novel series. It is fitting Fruupp be a band to use his work as an inspiration since they to have an unfinished album that will likely languish for an eternity as unreleased. Everything just comes together on this song.

The other excellent track is Sheba Song which is about Queen Sheba. It is lovely.

The rest of the tracks aside from the pretty piano ballad Why, are all okay.

Overall this album has a lot of average spread across a few tracks and pure excellence on two tracks, ergo easy 4/5, great album and definitely the best Fruupp album to my ears. (Mel Collins saxophone really adds something wonderful here)

 Modern Masquerades by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.46 | 145 ratings

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Modern Masquerades
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 20-Year Chronological Run-Through pt. Thirteen: 1975.

I found this Belfast-based band roughly ten years ago by the 2-cd compilation It's All Up Now (2004) which I have reviewed here. Of their four studio albums between the short period of 1973-1975, this last one is actually my favourite. The original keyboardist Stephen Houston had found faith and jumped to a Christian band called Liberation Suite. In Fruupp he was replaced by John Mason. Perhaps his participation is a crucial reason for the album to be so elegant.

The highlight is the nearly 11-minute track 'Gormenghast', composed by Mason and inspired by the fantasy trilogy of Mervyn Peake. It flows very beautifully with a dream-like atmosphere with some livelier sections to make it dynamic. Comparisons to e.g. HAPPY THE MAN, Focus and Caravan are justified.

With the exception of the irritating, 60's spirited song 'Janet Planet which features a horn arrangement, Modern Masquerades is a fine, mature and sophisticated prog album. It was produced by Ian McDonald, who is best known as the original member of King Crimson. The opening track 'Misty Morning Way' has laid-back melodies in the vein of CAMEL but contains more jazz groove in its vocal harmonies. Piano oriented 'Why' is a moody ballad.

As a whole the album may be slightly too mellow and polished for many prog listeners, but despite one bad track -- not mellow, nor polished --, this is easily a four-star album for me. I also like the cover art; a pity I don't remember which painting (most likely from the Renaissance era) it is based on.

 Future Legends by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.91 | 244 ratings

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Future Legends
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars With a bizarre name like FRUUPP, you might imagine this five-piece band are some obscure Krautrock outfit from deep in the heart of Germany, but no, they're some obscure Belfast-based outfit from deep in the heart of Northern Ireland. They have four albums to their credit with this album "Future Legends" (1972) being their first. Later albums were "Seven Secrets" (1974), "The Prince of Heaven's Eyes" (1974), and "Modern Masquerades" (1975). A fifth album was planned for 1976, but due to poor record sales and the emerging Punk/New Wave movement, Fruupp were consigned to the prog history books when they broke up at the end of the year. Progressive Rock has triumphed over the shortlived Punk-Rock era in the long run though, because Fruupp have gone on to become "Future Legends" in their time, with their marvellous brand of mellifluous melodic prog experiencing a well-deserved resurgence of interest on the Internet. The 2009 CD remaster of "Future Legends" includes the bonus track, "On a Clear Day", which classical buffs may recognise as being a proggy reworking of "Jupiter" from Gustav Holst's "Planets Suite"

"Future Legends" opens with the title track, a short classical piece of music which acts as a prelude to "Decision", a lively and rumbunctious number that gallups along nicely with a pounding rhythm and builds up to an impressively rousing finale. An awesome opening to the album. "As Day Breaks with Dawn" follows next, with a melodic classically-inspired opening, which breaks out into a powerful thrumming Genesis-like number with the singer sounding remarkably like Peter Gabriel. Yes, we're definitely in Genesis territory here, with a somewhat heavier sound, and very good it is too. Onwards now to Track 4 and "Graveyard Epistle", a song which begins as a melodic ballad before breaking out into some very proggy, heavy and intense riffing. In true prog fashion, there are constant changes of tempo, staccato breaks and a few key changes thrown in too, to keep the listener entertained and enthralled. We're halfway through the album now and this is sounding very good indeed!

Side Two opens with "Lord of the Incubus". It's a grand-sounding title and the music is impressively grand too, Again, it sounds like a song Genesis could have recorded in their classic prog years. There's a thumping rhythm section and the guitarist is really in his element here as he demonstrates his virtuosity with some masterly soloing. Track 6 "Olde Tyme Future" has a more sedate pace, with some beautifully melodic keyboard motifs. The cryptic lyrics are shrouded in mystery but with music this good, who cares about the lyrics anyway!? And now we come to the penultimate and longest song on the album, "Song for a Thought". It's a seven and a half minute long magnum opus which opens in fine rollicking style and then transposes into a laid-back mellow and melodic groove in the middle section. before the resounding and reverberant grand finale, which might just blow your socks off. It's melodic, it's dramatic, and it'll leave you feeling euphoric. The final song is a brief and gentle vocal reprise of the classical title track which opened the album. It's a perfect ending to a magical album full of proggy tales of mystery and imagination.

This is a very impressive debut album from this Northern Irish band that's likely to appeal to fans of the classic Peter Gabriel years of Genesis. It's hard to pick out a highlight of the album, because "Future Legends" is full to the brim with great songs. If you're looking for a band with the musical talent and melodic finesse of Genesis with a somewhat heavier edge, then you'll be in prog heaven with this superb album. This prog masterpiece is such a delight to listen to that you may be inspired to give Fruupp's following three albums a spin too. A must-have album for any discerning collector of classic British prog.

 Wise as Wisdom: The Dawn Albums 1973-1975 by FRUUPP album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2019
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Wise as Wisdom: The Dawn Albums 1973-1975
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Unless there's a latter-day reunion of Fruupp (highly unlikely, so far as I can tell) or someone manages to dig up some decent-quality live material from the band, this budget boxed set from Esoteric is pretty much all the Fruupp that's there to enjoy: you get a no-frills presentation of their four studio albums, with significant non-album tracks incorporated as bonus tracks on the relevant albums, and that's your lot.

If you only wanted the absolute cream of the crop when it came to Fruupp, you might hold out for just Future Legends and mmmmmaybe also spring for Seven Secrets or Modern Masquerades if you were feeling generous, but this boxed set is sufficiently generously priced and compactly formed that I consider it a reasonable enough way to get this mid- tier act's work into your collection.

 Future Legends by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.91 | 244 ratings

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Future Legends
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

5 stars First things first. This unique progressive rock band known as FRUUPP that formed in 1971 in Belfast, Northern Ireland is pronounced like it rhymes with "cup," "sup" or "pup" and contrary to claims that the band was named after a ghost as posted in an early bio, the name was in reality taken from letters remaining on a Letraset page with an extra U and P added just because it's proggier that way! Thus the name is nonsensical and has proved to be a source of confusion throughout the band's legendary status as one of prog's hardest working bands that played hundreds of gigs alongside the greats such as Genesis, Queen and King Crimson, released four albums on the Dawn label and created an innovative mix of Celtic folk and progressive rock mixed with an interesting mix of classical, blues, jazz and a highly creative imagination. Sadly, FRUUPP has been rendered to near obscurity despite a very original mix of highly melodic eclecticism, particularly on this debut album FUTURE LEGENDS.

After a trip to London to test the musical waters and then back to Belfast where he formed FRUUPP, many band lineups were assembled by founder and guitarist Vincent McCusker before the group finally settled down as a collective of classically trained musicians that consisted of McCusker, Peter Farrelly (bass, guitar, lead vocals), Martin Foye (drums) and Stephen Houston (keyboards, oboe) before releasing their debut album FUTURE LEGENDS which came out in October 1973 just as the progressive rock scene was in its peak years. While not in sync with the ballroom dancing that was all the rage in Northern Ireland during the early 70s, FRUUPP nevertheless found a loyal following in the rest of the UK with the incessant touring that amounted to up to 230 shows in a year! Yet somehow despite it all, FRUUPP has gone down as legendary myth only known to hardcore proggers who dig beneath the surface. FUTURE LEGENDS is however one of the great albums of the era despite not appearing at the top of the prog history charts.

Starting out with a string section makes you wonder if you've been slipped a classical record as no prog rock is present and to be honest, the opening title track seems like a stray dog running around in the midst of a pack of tigers as it seemingly has no relationship to the sounds that follow. While not too overly different from the heavier side of Genesis, "Decision" opens with a symphonic proggier-than-thou attitudinal bombast with McCusker cranking out the aggressive guitar parts while the rest of the band dishes out an equal delivery of pure cacophonous time signature angularity before the track changes at the drop of a hat to a vocal jazz standard sound that continues to leap from style to style but maintains the overall melodic flow, a trait that FRUUP mastered superbly. McCusker provides one of many exemplary guitar solos matching the neoclassical prowess of Ritchie Blackmore and this is only the first track!

Masters of dynamics, tempos, timbres and the art of morphing from extremely lush pastoral symphonic melodies to dark, ethereal and manic outbursts of instrumental gymnastics carries the album through the seven of nine tracks that exist in the rock paradigm. FRUUP consistently delivers a never-ending mix of guitar riff oriented passages that drift along with McCusker's guitar work as the showcase but Farrelly's lead vocals give the album its own distinct personality unlike any other of the era. "Graveyard Epistle" and "Lord Of The Incubus" continue the soaring melodies that divert into Deep Purple-esque hard rock, symphonic operatic classical and Yes like freneticism. "Song For A Thought" is perhaps the strongest track on board as well as the longest as it tackles neoclassical scales, Irish jig jitteriness, hard rock organ stabs and pummeling percussion and guitar bliss. It also has some extra string arrangements conducted by Michael Rennie. The track also sums up the album's accomplishments with all the elements juxtaposed into an interesting sprawling Celtic folk drive with all the prog elements completely unleashed.

The album ends with a second title track except this one is a vocal choir in folk form instead of a classical piece but just as brief and totally unrelated to the the songs in between. A strange effect that didn't exactly work for me in the beginning but somehow conveys a true sense of the unexpected which is exactly what the majority of FUTURE LEGENDS presents. In many ways, FRUUPP's debut reminds me a lot of the romantic symphonic prog of the Italian greats like PFM, Banco and Le Orme with its over-the-top melodramatic sensuality that also dives deep into the wellsprings of true prog with hardened time signature runs, aggressive bombast and careful attention to the compositional constructs. However the Irish influences and well adapted English lyrics keep this in its own little section of the prog universe. While the band didn't quite replicate another brilliant album of this magnitude, at least they delivered the goods on this phenomenally brilliant debut.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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