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The Pentangle - The Pentangle CD (album) cover


The Pentangle


Prog Folk

3.88 | 53 ratings

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3 stars PENTANGLE's debut was a cagey mixture of traditional English fare, American blues, jazz, and psychedelia, impressive and hitherto unimagined in its day. While it was most easily compared to FAIRPORT CONVENTION, they were more eclectic and less bound to the American styles of the day, which was a good thing.

The album begins strongly with "Let no Man Steal your Time", a thinly veiled trad number about the usual fears of a maiden back in the day. "The Bells" is an unadorned expose of the group's considerable tightness as an ensemble, somewhat marred by a drum solo, which I assure you works even worse in the studio setting than live. In fact, in 2010 it's hard not to view this as anachronistic grandstanding, and leaves me wondering about the fairness of rating something this old based on its appeal today as opposed to its import. This problem sprouts fully on the longer and more doodling "Pentangling". But I have no such ambivalence about "Way Behind the Sun", which could have been any American blues rock group of the time, and simply doesn't work in the PENTANGLE context. Luckily, there is an appealing Celtic Gothic quality to "Bruton Town" that effortlessly surpasses their contemporaries.

As with most of PENTANGLE's discography, I can't count this brief but significant disk among those rare folk rock albums to which I return time and again. For this reason, though its pent up highlights angle for 4 stars by several significant criteria, it falls short on the "hear and now" meter.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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