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Proud Peasant: Peasantsongs

Since their excellent 2014 debut album, Flight, which consisted of three epics, Austin-based Proud Peasant has been in a state of disarray, with many lineup changes. The only constant has been multi-instrumentalist Xander Rapstine. Following Flight, they released two EPs, 2014’s The Avatar and 2016’s Cosmic Sound.

Their most recent CD, the 32-minute Peasantsongs, which Rapstine calls a “mini-album,” contains all five songs found on those EPs. From The Avatar are “Turbulence,” “Cencibel,” and “The Avatar,” which is drawn from one of the tracks on Flight. From Cosmic Sound are “Daybreak,” a cover of a 1973 Eloy single that can be found on remastered editions of Inside, and “Saturn, Lord of the Ring / Mercury, the Winged Messenger,” a cover from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s 1973 album Solar Fire.

There are two other covers: “Red,” from King Crimson’s 1974 album of the same name, recorded live at Austin’s 2015 VoyagerFest, and “Down at Circe’s Place,” from Touch’s sole full-length album, 1969’s self-titled, sometimes referred to as 20-20 Sound.

That leaves just one track that isn’t a cover or previously released, the short opener, “A Prelude.”

Much of the album is instrumental, with competent vocals on the covers when they are required. Those songs are fairly faithful to the originals. On the plus side, two of the four songs, the Eloy and Touch tunes, are pretty obscure, so this may be the first time that many listeners have heard them. Long-time prog fans will almost surely be familiar with “Red” and a fair number will have heard “Saturn, Lord of the Ring / Mercury, the Winged Messenger.”

All of the four Proud Peasant compositions are enjoyable. Two are largely atmospheric, while the brief “Turbulence,” is quite heavy, and “The Avatar” shows what the band is fully capable of, combining both electric and acoustic instruments to great effect.

Is Peasantsongs worth picking up? If you have their EPs, the answer is no. If you don’t, give it a shot on Bandcamp and see what you think.

Rapstine views Peasantsongs as sort of a bridge to Proud Peasant’s next full-length album of originals, Communion. I sincerely hope that album appears. This is a band that has more to offer, if they can manage to carry on.

Track Listing:
1. A Prelude
2. Daybreak
3. Cencibel
4. Turbulence
5. Down at Circe’s Place
6. The Avatar
7. Red (Live from VoyagerFest, 2015)
8. Saturn, Lord of the Ring/Mercury, the Winged Messenger

Added: January 8th 2022
Reviewer: Aaron Steelman
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 734
Language: english

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