Gerard Smith - Lullabies in an Ancient Tongue
As a genre, Progressive Rock has been around now for over 50 years: many hold that King Crimson's 'In The Court of The Crimson King' was the first album of that genre - others go back a little further and cite The Beatles' 'Sergeant Pepper...' or The Moody Blues' 'Days of Future Passed' as the nascent release. Wherever it started, the genre has been growing and developing - progressing, perhaps - over the years, with each generation drawing from the past and influencing the future in their own particular way.
Into that great succession comes the new album from Gerard Smith, a Michigan native of Irish roots and a founder member of Bill Grogan's Goat, who gives us a wonderfully eclectic selection of songs that takes as its title a line from the aforementioned King Crimson album - "Lullabies in an Ancient Tongue."
Don't let the title fool you, though: this is not collection of sleep-inducing tunes - far from it! The opening track, 'Standing Stone', comes in with a bang, and carries on with a driving rhythm and almost growl-y vocals, and the album proceeds with shifts in tempo, time-signatures and texture within and between songs, which is uplifting and keeps you on your toes. The nearest any of the songs come to a lullaby is 'Sweet Dreams and Soft Mornings' (which appears in two versions on the album), but even this, with its multiple time-signatures, would make rocking a child to sleep difficult!
Drawing on the Progressive tradition, there are hints of Hawkwind, Genesis, and (of course) King Crimson in the music, but the 'ancient tongues' go further back too, with folky tinges in the guitars, mandolin, whistles, and even Uilleann pipes, and it's that mix of traditional and more contemporary musical themes that makes this a very alluring album of excellently written and constructed songs, and one that I would heartily recommend.
To listen to, or even to buy, the album go to Bandcamp.
Posted by John Simms at 13:19
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Labels: 2021, Gerard Smith, prog