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Magicfolk: Tales of Power

Of all the subgenres of progressive music, prog folk is arguably one of the smallest and most beloved. Combining elements from 70s pioneers like Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, and Pentangle, as well as baring similarities to modernizers like the Decemberists, Lehto & Wright, and present day Brainticket, Magicfolk stirs up plenty of fine melodies and instrumentation on its sophomore LP, Tales of Power. All the expected elements are present, and while the songwriting isn't astounding, the very fact that music like this is still being made makes the record endearing.

A sextet composed of two women and four men, Magicfolk formed several years ago in Norwich, England. An "esoteric blend of folk, Celtic, Psychedelia, acoustic, and prog rock," Tales of Power, which follows their 2007 self-titled debut, is full of mystical lyrics, earthly tones, and nostalgic timbres. It's as mysterious as it is welcoming, and fans of the aforementioned groups will definitely find a lot to like here.

Opening track "Call Time" features inspiring melodies, pleasant arpeggios, and a relaxing vibe. Vocalist Michelle Glover clearly draws upon the influence of the original prog folk female singers, such as Sandy Deeny, Judy Dyble, and Annie Haslam. "The Faery Song" begins with spoken word passages about elves, rings, and fairies (which, if such subjects disinterest you, will feel a bit lame). Luckily, the rest of the track is full of odd rhythms and vocal lines, as well as beautiful sounds, making it quite intriguing.

Elsewhere, "Desert Song" features the best pure songwriting on Tales of Power (its melody is lovely), "Dragonspell" features some fantastic electric guitar and flute work, "Winged Bull" includes plenty of enjoyable solos from several instruments, and "Dweller" closes the album with a short, simple, and sweet ballad. Every song on the album (save of the one-trick redundancy of "Wiccan Dance") is a winner in its own way.

Tales of Power will probably appeal most to aficionados who've followed prog folk throughout its several decades of existence. The majority of enjoyment stems from hearing how Magicfolk takes the spirits and sounds of its influences and mixes them together into an original musical stew. The group could work on making their songs catchier and deeper, but overall, they've done a fine job with this sophomore release.

Track Listing
1. Call Time
2. Nagual
3. The Faery Ring
4. Lion Tamer
5. Desert Song
6. Into the Blue
7. Dragonspell
8. Wiccan Dance
9. Death & The Maiden
10. Winged Bull
11. Dweller

Added: January 10th 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1957
Language: english

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