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Galahad - Galahad Acoustic Quintet: Not All There CD (album) cover





3.38 | 43 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Dreaming from the inside

This album was a big positive surprise for me! Though not a Galahad album proper, but released under the name of The Galahad Acoustic Quintet, this is not exactly what I expected from a Neo-Progressive band. As this name implies, what we have here is five people playing a (mostly) acoustic set "live in the studio". The music is not entirely acoustic, though, as there are electric keyboards in addition to the strong presence of acoustic piano and guitar as well as very nice flutes. Sadly, some of the keyboards have a rather cheap sound and some misplaced, but thankfully rather discrete, programmed drums are used on a couple of the songs. However, these small flaws cannot distract too much from an overall very strong set of songs. The mood is mostly mellow and the songs often tend towards Folk music.

The album opens with the very folky Sir Galahad which sounds like a medieval dance tune with very pleasant flutes. The piano based Mother Mercy slows the tempo down considerably and Stuart Nicholson delivers a simply beautiful vocal. Nicholson's vocals on this album are very strong and moving (and the lyrics are mostly too). Admittedly, he does sound a lot like Fish, but he also has something unique in his voice. The instrumental Club 18-30 raises the tempo a bit again, this time with a strong Latin influence! Sadly, the keyboard that tries to imitate a trumpet here over some good acoustic guitars sounds not quite as it should. They clearly should have had a real trumpet here, but you can't have everything!

Dreaming From The Inside offers yet another great vocal performance from Nicholson with a slightly jazzy flavour. This album is so eclectic! Melt is the album's stinker and sounds very much like it comes straight from an 80's Barclay James Harvest album! Cheap keyboard sounds and programmed drums. I'm sure they could have made this one better that it is here, but the lyrics are too syrupy. White Lily is a very nice instrumental piano solo that could have come from one of Rick Wakeman's many Classical albums.

Through The Looking Glass is a little bit similar to Dreaming From The Inside with it's sing- a-long type chorus, but it too has a mellow quality. Looking Up The Apple Tree is another very folky song here based on vocals, acoustic guitar and flute. A bit Strawbs-like in character. Shrine too has a folky melody, this is an a cappella number that ones again shows Nicholson's vocal talents. The tranquillity is suddenly broken by Legless In Gaza which is something of a World Music thing, complete with ethnic vocalisations and a repetitive drum loop. Not at all as bad as is sounds, really!

Iceberg and Where There's Nothing close the album in a similar mood to previous songs. This means great vocals, acoustic guitars, piano, keyboards and flutes. The sounds are varied and almost all of the songs have strong melodies. However, the band probably could have given this a lot more work in the recording and production stages.

Still, Not All There is a very good acoustically driven album. It certainly deserves to be heard, especially by Prog Folk fans!

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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