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Future Kings of England, The: Who is This Who is Coming?

In recent years, the influence of centuries-old folk and classic literature has been heard on many new artists, with The Decemberists being perhaps the most well-known. On its fourth album, Who is This Who is Coming?, trio The Future Kings of England draw from the much same well, albeit with a more psychedelic, post-rock, and ambient aesthetic. The group masterfully synthesizes these different styles into a very intriguing and affective result, making the album a joyful experience from beginning to end.

Envisioned as one long piece of music broken into sections, the album is based on the 1904 eerie short story "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to you my Lad" by M.R. James. It concerns a professor who digs up a bronze whistle and unleashes an ancient evil. In addition, the band admits that spiritually, Who is This Who is Coming can be taken as the final part of the trilogy that began with The Fate of Old Mother Orvis and The Viewing Point. In any case, there is a great sense of ominous wonder and nostalgia in the music, as if the album was crafted decades ago.

Opener "Journey to the Coast" introduces the album in waltz time as a pleasant acoustic guitar melody is complemented by a recorder and staccato strings. It's as if you could close your eyes and imagine waking up at dawn in a quiet European town. "The Globe Inn" is much more sinister—its Pink Floyd-esque percussion and spacey tremolos resonate ominously. With its repetitious guitar pattern and keyboard work, "Finding the Whistle" feels like a lost track from Camel's masterpiece, The Snow Goose. So far, the band has shown excellent compositional skills, and on "Watcher Part 1" and "Part 2," they prove to be equally able to sing haunting harmonies akin to The Strawbs.

Throughout the rest of the album, the band continues to blanket its folk base with prog, psych, and avant-garde. The music is wonderfully dynamic, too, as it often alternates between intense, threatening jams and calm recuperation (its middle seems especially catastrophic, like a Canterbury instrumental version of David Bowie's Diamond Dogs). While the severe lack of vocals (the group only sings on a few tracks) is a bit of a letdown, the music is sequenced so well thematically that the album is still quite fascinating. Overall, Who is This Who is Coming is a short but sweet gem you shouldn't miss.

Track Listing
I. Journey to the Coast
II. The Globe Inn
III. The Whistle
IV. Watcher Part 1
V. Who is This Who is Coming?
VI. Disbeliever
VII. Watcher Part 2
VIII. A Face of Crumpled Linen
IX. The Spectacle of a Scarecrow

Added: March 25th 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2673
Language: english

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