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martes, 3 de noviembre de 2015

Flamborough Head - Tales of Imperfection (2005)


Artista: Flamborough Head
Álbum: Tales of Imperfection
Año: 2005
Género: Neoprogresivo
Duración: 51:48
Nacionalidad: Holanda


Lista de Temas:
1. For Starters
2. Maureen

3. Higher Ground
4. Silent Stranger
5. Captive of Fate
6. Mantova
7. Year after Year

Alineación:
- Margriet Bommsma / Voz principal, flauta, flautas dulces
- Marcel Derix / Bajo

- Eddie Mulder / Guitarras, voz
- Koen Roozen / Batería, percusiones y café
- Edo Spanninga / Teclados

Vamos con el siguiente aporte de Marek desde Polonia! Esta vez de una banda que ya existía en el blog pero que está con los links caídos, los holandeses Flamborough Head, con este disco de 2005, Tales of Imperfection.
 


Entre las cosas que me ha enviado Marek, a este disco le tengo un aprecio especial. Lo he escuchado varias veces, siempre con ese gusto de estar ante algo bien hecho y hecho con corazón. Flamborough Head es una banda que sabe equilibrar sus recursos instrumentales, siempre sinfónicos, y comunicar una idea, un concepto claro, armonioso, balanceado, desde el lleno hasta el momento acústico muy suave.

Las estructuras clásicas sobre las que se desarrollan algunos de los temas, les permiten explorar en variaciones para extender el sentido de la música. Las canciones, en la voz de Margriet Bommsma, tienen una presencia inusual, con momentos que recuerdan al Renaissance de los inicios (otra banda de la que habrá que hablar). "Captive of Fate" es una de las baladas más conmovedoras que he escuchado en mucho tiempo, y la que le sigue, "Mantova", tiene una excelente guitarra funk en fusión con una rítmica tipo renacentista que frecuerda mucho al Snow Goose de Camel.

Buen rock neoprogresivo de Holanda, un agradable disco para escuchar.





De Progarchives:


The Dutch band Flamborough Head is not the most prolific one, Tales Of Imperfection is their fifth in 8 years. But listening to this latest effort I can conclude that it is their most mature album. I have seen the band a few times, even on their annual performance on the Dutch Progfarm Festival. By the way, I can recommend every proghead to visit this festival featuring many less known but interesting progrock bands!

The seven compositions on this new CD (running time at about 52 minutes) sound pleasant and melodic and are a very tasteful arranged blend of classic, folk, rock and symphonic with the emphasis on the traditional symphonic rock from the Seventies with echoes from early Camel and Renaissance. The keyboards from Edo Spanninga are lush and varied: sparkling piano and soft violin-Mellotron in Maureen, classical piano, a church-organ sound and in the end a Peter Bardens-like synthesizer solo in Higher Ground and wonderful interplay with the flute and electric guitar in most of the songs. But the most impressive contribution on this CD is delivered by guitar player Eddie Mulder, from sensitive and warm to fiery and harder-edged and subtle use of slide and volume pedal, what an outstanding guitar work! The female vocalist (also flute) Margriet Boomsma will never gain the 'Annie Haslam award' but her voice sound less sharp than in the past, a bit more warm. IF YOU ARE UP TO WONDERFUL AND PLEASANT 24 CARAT SYMPHONIC ROCK, THIS ONE IS YOURS!
erik neuteboom
After 3 years finally came Flamborough Head´s second CD with the new line up. The sound has developed quite a bit and it´s hard to label them just neo prog. They now have much more symphonic leanings with some folk influences here and there. Guitar work of newcomer Eddie Mulder is superb, with great electric solos and some tasteful acoustic parts. He´s in top form! Margriet Boomsma sound a little bit more restrained here, but her flute work has bloomsomed and now is fully part of Flamborough Head´s music. Edo Spanninga´s keyboards are lush, varied and creative as ever. Bass and drums are tigh and strong.

But really what the best the group offers are great songwriting skills and great instrumental arrangements. No wonder they take so much time between each release! They simply don´t repeat themselves and never let the overall quality falls short. There are no fillers or weak songs to be found anywhere. All tracks are beautiful, well crafted and played with passion and precision. For some progheads they may sound simple at first, but that´s quite deceiving, really. The music grows on you with every listen. And I find myself pressing the repeat button again and again everytime I listen to this CD. Oh, how I wish all other prog bands had their quality control! While the production is not the best for this kind of music, it is overall quaite acceptable. Highlights are many, but I do have a soft spot for their mini epic Maureen: ten minutes of pure prog heaven, with lots of vintage sounding keys, shifting moods and a terrific, emotinal guitar solo at the last part that will surely make several seasoned masters of that instrument envy.

This is another winner from this dutch band that is one of the best prog groups around. As Erik has already pointed out, this is 24 carat symphonic prog music! 4,5 stars with honors!
Tarcisio Moura
The previous "Flamborough Head" album was a really good one and I know that it would be very difficult for the band to equal it. Although, in a period of three years time, the band might have been able to recreate such a jewel.

As usual, this album will sound much more as a symphonic piece of music that to a neo-prog one. Just listen to the title track and to the brilliant instrumental opening for "Maureen". It is true to say that when the band changed for a female vocalist, some "Renaissance" scent could be felt but not as much as for "Magenta" of course. "Maureen" is one example of this. The use of piano only underlines this even more. Its finale being just superb thanks to a great guitar solo. A highlight.

The band will also offer some "Genesis" interlude with the instrumental "Higher Ground". Just average. But "Flamborough Head" is quickly repairing this during "Silent Stranger". Nice fluting from Margriet. This long song starts as many ones from this band : with a strong and long instrumental intro. During these moments the band is really impressive and sounds so emotional. Even the song is probably not the best one available on this album, it remains enjoyable from start to finish.

Just as the next "Captivate Of Fate". Mostly acoustic with just sufficient keys to sustain the wonderful melody. Somewhat light and folkish but OK. "Mantova" won't be different in essence : strong and rhythmy introduction. Very good rhythmic section and powerful synths. Margriet joining nicely with some background fluting for this all instrumental track.

This is what "Flamborough Head" is all about. Lots of catchy instrumental music. This was already to be noticed in their first album "Unspoken Whisper". And the closing piece is no different. A crescendo short song, starting gently with a duet vocals/piano which will end up in a frenetic guitar part.

I would have liked to give this album a seven out of ten rating. Since it is not as great as their previous album, I will downgrade it to three stars. But remember that three stars means a good album.
ZowieZiggy
This is FLAMBOROUGH HEAD's second release with the new female singer. Most consider this inferior to the previous one called "One For The Crow" but it does seem to be the most mature effort from the band so far. Not a big fan of the vocals and i'm sorry but I find the concept of this one a bit lame. I feel like i'm being a little insensitive in saying that but it's hard to relate.

"For Starters" is the short opening track with synths,guitar and cymbals that create an epic sound. "Maureen" opens with piano then it kicks in with some heaviness.Synths are prominant. A calm after 2 1/2 minutes with flute and piano standing out. It picks back up with prominant guitar before 4 minutes then we get vocals for the first time. A spacey calm after 6 minutes then piano joins in followed by other instruments and vocals. Some tasteful guitar after 8 minutes and it stays fairly laid back to the end. "Higher Ground" is mellow with piano and synths. Drums and guitar join in as it builds a little. It settles again the we get some nice acoustic guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. Flute joins in as well. Organ before 6 minutes then guitar as it kicks back in. It settles late with flute to end it.

"Silent Stranger" turns fuller before 2 minutes then the guitar starts to solo.Vocals and piano 3 minutes in then it picks up. A calm with piano and laid back guitar after 5 minutes. It picks up again before 7 minutes. Another calm 8 minutes in with reserved vocals. "Captive Of Fate" features acoustic guitar and background synths as vocals come in before a minute.This is a ballad-like track really. "Mantova" is an instrumental with where the tempo changes quite often. "Year After Year" ends the album with vocals and piano before the guitar solos 2 minutes in.

I'm just not feeling it at all with this or their previous album. Average at best.
Mellotron Storm

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Summary
Album by album, Flamborough Head is turning into a household name in symphonic rock. And, of course, they host Progfarm, a festival worth visiting even if you do not care much about progressive music. This year, in fact, the festival celebrates it's first decade. If you wonder why the album is called this way, the well-crafted front cover explains it all.
The music
For Starters is a short instrumental with soothing flute play by Boomsma. There is a certain Clannadness about it, but Edo Spanninga's keyboards are pretty important too, as is the piano. The song shows warmth, and a bit of power too as we find ourselves in Maureen. The flute plays the main theme, the guitar plays some strong chords. The music is as we have come to expect, very melodic, quite accessible, but varied. The production is good and clear. The style I guess is a mix of Camel and Glass Hammer with a dose of Genesis (check out the guitar work for instance during the long intro). Thus we have a full symphonic sound with equal roles for guitar and keyboards, and a good sense of melody. But the band can also rock, as evidenced by the guitar plus flute solo and the brimming organ right before one third down the road. The vocals start just halfway, telling the story of the front cover. They are sung quite fast, but sure. In the middle we have some rare backing vocals, but I'm not so sure this is a good idea. In between we have the 'usual' solo elements which make up a lengthy symphonic song.

We run right onto Higher Ground, again an instrumental, but a lengthier one. The song has many (bombasitc) elements and a large amount of melodic and instrumental variation, with a few synthetic violins thrown in, and some wonderful thematic flute play, combined with acoustic guitar. This is similar to the best of Hackett's solo material, the faery stuff, although the guitar is more Latimer like. This does not mean the song is all melody. Indeed, following it we get to a rather funky part with 70's rhythm guitar. With the very Camel like keyboards that follow, we are thoroughly enmeshed in seventies Camel. Excellent.

Silent Stranger is the next somewhat epic vocal track, opening with flute and some prominent bass play, which gives the music a somewhat bouncy and frolic feel. The band again takes its time to start up the song, playing the main themes, before moving to the vocal part. Again, there is a lot of melodic material going into a song of this length. It seems Flamborough Head was pretty inspired when they wrote this. But the music is not all friendly, indeed the piano play is quite tense. The vocals are again rather pacey, as is the guitar work, but they do slowly build up. Boomsma shows a bit more roughness at the edges, which improves things, I think. Halfway, we arrive at an introspective interlude with piano and strong melodic guitar work. In these moments, the Hackett influence is strongest. Later the vocals come back in, but in a different fashion, a bit more emotional and outspoken this time around. Boomsma is sure singer these days.

Captive Of Fate opens with acoustic guitar and string synths. The vocal line sounds a bit familiar, but that could be from a previous listen. The song is about helping others in need, usually they have only fate to blame for their situation. The chorus is one that sticks in your head. The acoustic guitarwork is strongly reminiscent of Genesis.

Mantova is again an instrumental, the third one thus far. It brings the same melodic richness, but without sounding like something you heard before. This time the flute plays the rol of bringing in a sense or urgency and all through the organ is abrim in the back. This is one pacey instrumental with flashy play from all concerned. Year After Year is the closing vocal track, a ballad. Boomsma again shows how much she has grown since the first album, and she carries the song more or less by herself, although the guitar solo shines too.
Conclusion
Year after year, Flamborough Head has been showing that it can still grow. Their brand of melodic symphonic rock with a female vocalist reminds most of Camel and Genesis, and this time around the band shows very sure of itself, ahs excellent thematic material to bring into play, and with all the different melodic material, they do run the chance of loosing the edge to the music. However, they cope with this by introducing some tense interludes and elements, as well as some heavy guitar accents, and keep the pace high as needs be. Their best so far.
© Jurriaan Hage




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