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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 212 - 12/17/13

Autumn Whispers
Cry of Dereliction Vol. II
Autumn Whispers Music / FairyMusic

Now here's an international band, if ever there was one. Two or three members from Norway, two or three from Greece, one from Malaysia and also more Greek and Norwegian guests. The music includes elements from the music scene of the 1970s: progressive rock, acoustic and classical music, the press sheet says, but also improvisations, pop and folk from the members' home countries. Cry Of Dereliction Vol. II is - surprise, surprise - the sequel, of a series of no less than seven albums! This is my first encounter with the band, thus haven't heard the first volume, yet.

The albums present selected poems from some of the world's most recognised poets in addition to the band's own lyrics. This time around they present poems by Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, W.B. Yeats and William Blake; as famous poets of the English speaking world as can be. But most of them are written by band leader, it seems, Dino Steffens. He has also written all the music, sings lead on most of the songs and plays acoustic guitar. Other members include Tirill Mohn (violin and vocals) and some who have participated on her solo albums. The music is varied, but includes less folk elements than I expected from the press sheet. The opening track "Fire And Ice" (words by Frost) is a notable exception. In a addition to a sad Mellotron and guitar it includes a cimbalom that gives it a southeast European feel. Pop-folk perhaps.

Some tracks seem closer to singer-songwriter than folk. "A Bird Can't Fly" starts very low-key, only acoustic guitar and discreet bass. Then a Dave Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) sounding electric guitar glides in, followed by vocals and drums. It keeps growing with beautiful harmony vocals by Tirill and keyboards in the chorus. After a second round the intensity grows even more with drum rolls and heavier guitars, violin and keyboards including at least one flute'ish Mellotron by Liew Ceng Teng. My favourite of the album. The short "The Jasmine" stays low-key all the way through and secure special attention that way. Another favourite. "I Measure Every Grief I Meet" floats away on a layer of vintage Mellotron but retain a cosy singer-songwriter feel all the same. It's a bit monotonous, but the Mellotron demands the goose bumps to rise! "Nostalgia" is another Mellotron-driven song; a sort of Pink Floyd'ish mellow pop ballad. "Auguries Of Innocence" is even more pop; reminds me of "Across The Universe" by The Beatles (the great original 1967-version without all those strings). The final song "Autumn" also has a bit of the same feel, more so because of the vocal Lennon-phrasings than the melody. Another nice ballad with a exquisite gliding electric guitar by Nils Einar Vinjor all the way through.

The two tracks that really represent something different on the disc are "Walls" and "The Puppet's Monologue". The former is a straight rocker with heavy tendencies, forgettable apart from an occasional noisy background violin. The monologue is the fun track, in 3/4 with cuckoo elements and witty sounds. The title track (well, almost; it's called "Cry Of Dereliction Pt. 2") also stands out, the epic of the album, almost 13 minutes long. A sympho-rock ditty with different parts within the part, dominated by electric guitars, keyboards, even cimbalom and a heavy thunderstorm. A couple of the guitar solos are a bit too long for my liking, though. For those with lots of patience there's also a hidden bonus track, a nice little piano ballad that starts almost eight minutes after the last song according to the cover has ended.

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