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Aleppo Pine: Holy Picnic

Everything goes round in circles, as they say. Young Spanish band Aleppo Pine take you all the way back to the Woodstock age, back to "flower power" and hippies – their music is firmly rooted in that psychedelic folk-rock Sixties tradition. Fans of that period, old and young, are going to adore Holy Picnic. There is also much to enjoy for other fans – melody, beautiful harmonic singing and sensitive instrumentation – but the retro feel may temper their enjoyment.

The instrumental "Intro" immediately sets the tone for the whole album that is to follow with its soothing cello and olde worlde feel. "Black Wizard" brings in the vocals, male and female together – though throughout the album it is Roger Caballé's male vocals that dominate, with Sonia Alvarez and Sonia Mata's occasional contributions always adding feminine beauty. Folk is the primary influence, though there is occasional electric guitar drifting us into a rock fusion, as well as infiltrations from country. This music reminded me very much of the British folkie Donovan, who had himself been inspired by Bob Dylan: these seem to me like better matches than the band's own promotional material calls to early era Pink Floyd, as well as to Fairport Convention, Soft Machine, Hawkwind and Ash Ra Temple - the link seemed more tenuous as the list grew.

All music fans will enjoy the instrumentation and sensitive musical arrangements. Enric Chalaux plays guitars, sitar and the exotic, always gorgeous sounding theramin; Caballé adds guitars and tambourine to his vocal duties. The band line-up on the album is completed by Carles Martín, who is the main percussionist and plays tabla, tamboura, maracas and tibetan bells; and Toni Forns, who plays bass and flute. Crucial to the lushness of the sound, and the album's overall enjoyment, are the additional musicians brought in as guests. In particular, Marie Julie Arnal's moog on a couple of tracks, Amaia Ruano's cello on five and Daniela Poch, who plays glockenspiel, shaker and hammond on a couple of tracks. Conventional rock drums appear on only three tracks, courtesy of Andreu Revilla – like I said, this is primarily folk inspired.

Overall, an enjoyable album of pleasant sixties psychedelic folk. If you're a fan of the period and the genre, you may comfortably add a full ranking star to my own score.

Track Listing:-
1) Intro
2) Black Wizard
3) Swan Skies
4) Magic Dolmen
5) Great Golden Mornings
6) Mystic Lady
7) 3rd Eye
8) It's All in Your Mind
9) Coloured Trees
10) Your Inside World
11) Purple Flashes
12) Dead Garden
13) Reverse Symphony for the Living Dead
14) Wonderman
15) Jeremiah Johnson

Added: July 11th 2011
Reviewer: Alex Torres
Related Link: Band's MySpace
Hits: 2341
Language: english

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