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Deckchair Poets: A Bit Of Pottery

If you don’t know, Deckchair Poets are something of an evolving, underground, supergroup, with Lynden Williams (Jerusalem), Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia) and Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard/Big Big Train) being joined by, this time, the likes of Sue Lord, Ollie Hannifan, Dave Meros, Rachel Hawnt and Rob Aubrey. A Bit Of Pottery is the third album from the humour-proggers who can often be found looking at serious subjects through a more abstract lens, although if I’m not mistaken, what with the oft references to the likes of Muggles and Dementors, the Pottery nodded to in this album title is one of a Harry variety.

Now, cards on the table, I’ve heard both previous albums from this outfit and refrained from reviewing either because my own personal stance on the band is one of those uncomfortable times when it’s undeniable that what’s going on with Deckchair Poets is sublimely executed and carefully crafted and yet it leaves me colder than a discarded Fab Lolly in the middle of winter on a remote outpost of Siberia. A Bit Of Pottery, in all honesty, still finds my teeth chitter-chattering in the cold as I frantically hug myself and rub my arms in the hope of keeping out the chill.

Firstly, special mention for the artwork of Sarah-Jane Szikora, whose magnificently playful scenes and figures are just wonderful and it’s to the band’s credit that she gets equal billing in the beautiful booklet along with all the musicians involved.

Comprising four tracks that all land in around the 12 minute mark, rather than write prog epics, what the DC have a predilection for is jaunty upbeat, if intricate, happy clappy passages that seem to about face and head in another direction, before revisiting places we’ve been before. To me it all feels a little like “Anniversary Waltz” era Status Quo playing nursery rhymes and then adding in some cracking keyboard solos, guitar asides and nifty time-signatures. What really doesn’t help lower my own hurdles to be vaulted is that lead vocalist Lynden Williams’ delivering is displayed in a way that cheerfully chirpy Kids TV presenters used to back in the day (maybe they still do?) and when combined with the luscious layers of Rachel Hawnt’s unquestionably cultured contributions, causes a real disconnect for me. All four tracks follow this similar pattern, leaving me in the excruciating situation of absolutely knowing that Deckchair Poets are incredibly good at what they do and a lot of people seem to like them. However, no matter how hard I try I personally find it all to be twee, forced and, truth be told, a little cringey. Plenty other opinions are available on this band, so if you like upbeat, clever, happy-happy pop-prog, give Deckchair Poets a whirl. I however will still be sitting on the ground with my beach towel scowl.

Track Listing
1. Part One
2. Part Two
3. Part Three
4. Part Four

Added: April 5th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: A Bit Of Pottery @ Angel Air
Hits: 219
Language: english

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