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Life Trip: Green Man

Sitting in the garden on a spring day is a wonderful way to while away the hours. The sights can be refreshing and renewing and the smells can be uplifting and energising and so it is with the album Green Man by Life Trip. More a one man labour of love than a band, Life Trip is Chip Symonds, who ably plays everything from saxophone and flute to guitars and keyboards on this album along with adding vocals that sound like an American Mark Knopfler. It is while sitting in his North Carolina garden that Chip receives most of his musical inspiration and it is easy to hear in his songs the sense of growth and warmth a garden can provide. There is an innocence to his music, that adds a charm to some grandiose themes that sometimes teeter on the brink of becoming too big for their boots, but never quite topple over the edge.

The album seems to be a glimpse into a different world that exists in Symonds mind (or his garden!) as the new year's growth cycle kicks in and the interesting use of flute and accordion that infuses some of the songs illustrates the change of season very well. Sometimes the themes, as they do on "Morning Glory Afternoon" can become a little twee, but in general the warmth in Symonds vocals and the varying pace of the songs saves them from becoming too jaunty and jolly. That said the overly optimistic lyrics (admirable though the sentiment is) of "A Song For Peace" is more than a little cringe worthy and while the keyboard playing is skilful and dextrous, the songs is a bit Asia-lite, if that's possible. Other comparisons could be made with Jethro Tull (isn't all flute led rock?), or a sprinkling of Kansas. However this is not prog as such, with a feel that is more folk-rock with stretched out arrangements.

Green Man isn't the sort of album that is going to grab you and insist that you devote all of your attention to it. However as a way to while away an hour, it is a welcome diversion from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Symonds is an engaging singer - the short spoken word section of "Shadlight Recedes" has a real potency and power to it (something he could use more) and there is no doubting he is a skilful and tasteful musician.

Maybe it is fitting that an album inspired by a garden and named after a sculpture hanging from a tree is a good way to lose yourself on a warm spring afternoon under the sun.


Track Listing
1. Shadlight
2. Twig People
3. Dance Of The Twig People
4. Sustenance
5. Shadlight Recedes
6. Twig People Refrain
7. Melancholy Monarch
8. Melancholy Monarch II
9. Melancholy Monarch III
10. Cataclysm
11. Morning Glory Afternoon
12. Lady Lover And Friend
13. Edge Of The World
14. A Song For Peace
15. A Song For Peace II (The Case For War, But Peace Prevails In The End)
16. Only Phantoms Do Deceive

Added: October 10th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Life Trip MySpace
Hits: 1948
Language: english

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