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Bread Love And Dreams - Bread, Love And Dreams CD (album) cover

BREAD, LOVE AND DREAMS

Bread Love And Dreams

 

Prog Folk

2.81 | 15 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars The first Bread Love & Dreams album, much like the band’s brief career, is a study in glimpses of unfulfilled promise and underappreciated talent. It would be followed up with the more eclectic and ambitious duo of records ‘Amaryllis’ and ‘The Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha’. The former explored the ‘acid’ side of acid folk more fully then the debut; and the latter employed a broader array of guest musicians including Carolyn Davis, who departed the band after the first album. Both albums (originally intended to be a double-disc release) would be the more memorable contributions the group gave to progressive folk music, with their self-titled debut relegated to back shelves for years before being quietly reissued on the dubious Hugo-Montes Productions label in 2001.

But in some ways this opening exhibits charms that draw belated fans like me to acid folk, more so than their more well-known works. This one is rather sparse despite having both Angie Rew and Carolyn Davis to accompany multi-instrumentalist David McNiven on the abundant vocals that fill every track. The latter two albums featured only Rew and McNiven for the most part, with more emphasis on varied instrumental arrangements and psych-leaning lyrics as opposed to rich vocal harmonies. The band also doesn’t seem to be taking themselves all that seriously on this record, with songs like the hangover anthem “Switch out the Sun” and the somewhat silly “The Yellow-Bellied Redback” showing a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor on the band’s part.

At times the trio doesn’t stray far from what most would consider traditional folk, particularly in the middle of the album with the laconic “Lady of the Night”, the almost too-staid “Falling Over Backwards” and the slightly self-indulgent ballad “Poet's Song”. But elsewhere there are little flashes of creativity. “Main Street” layers backing vocals from both ladies with harmonica and an upbeat tempo for what is probably the liveliest song on the album. McNiven lapses into ballad-like vocals and acoustic guitar- strumming on “Mirrors”, but here again the vocal harmonies are quite beautiful and the string arrangements and other keyboard flourishes make for a charming vignette.

This isn’t a very memorable album, but it is certainly good enough to merit a proper reissue on some prog-friendly label at some point. Bread Love and Dreams were clearly heavily influenced by the Incredible String Band, and although they began their brief career in a similar vein, the duo of McNiven and Rew would never reach the level of creativity or establish the following that kept ISB going for so long. Too bad. Three stars (but just barely) for this record, with a mild recommendation for serious prog and acid folk fans if you can find it. The Hugo-Montes CD is the only reissue I’m aware of, and doesn’t include any bonus material or anything else to enhance interest, but like I said – hopefully someone, someday will give this a proper re-release with handling appropriate to its place in prog folk history.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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