"Looking – Glass Lantern" is the brainchild of classically trained and Multi-Instrumentalist Graham Dunnington. Graham originally played keyboards in a classically influenced rock band and this, allegedly, is where he got his initial inspiration for adapting Victorian novels into Classical/Prog songs. Not surprisingly Graham also has a PhD in Victorian popular music and has a keen interest in the novels of Arthur Conan Doyle. (Specifically Sherlock Holmes).
In " A Tapestry Of Tales", Graham fuses these influences to provide a well-crafted and competent Cd, of which I am sure will appeal to many fans out there in Progland and beyond. Indeed I feel that this album may have the same sort of allure as albums such as Camel's "The Snow Goose" or even "Tubular bells" inasmuch as they were appreciated by the public at large and not just the "Proggies".(although the style is of course different). Hey, have I just created yet another genre? "Soft Prog".
To his credit, Graham plays all the instruments himself on this album (with the exception of the violin on the opening track) and although many influences are obvious(to those in the know)Graham, ultimately, makes this album his own.
Track List :-
1. The Blue Carbuncle
2. Six Pearls To Mary
3. Two Solitary Men
4. A Scandal In Bohemia
5. Wisteria lodge
6. A Tapestry Of Tales
Because an album is reminiscent, or for want of a better word, "evokes" memories from a classic period of Progressive Rock, it does not necessarily imply that the end product is altogether inferior or unwarranted, and this is very much the case with this album. There is no real need to state the obvious but for the younger fans amongst us, I will) "GENESIS"
"THE BLUE CARBUNCLE" commences with the lilting, melancholic strains of a solo violin, (quite clever considering Holmes's preoccupation with this instrument).
A minute or so into the piece and it's Christmas (replete with tinkling bells), this is then followed by an "Oldfield" type motif which reinforces the festive atmosphere to great effect. The vocals then set the scene and the musical landscape opens up somewhat. Despite the obvious comparisons mentioned earlier, this is a veritable musical tour de force and should appeal equally to the non Proggy amongst us. A competent effort.
"SIX PEARLS TO MARY" is a very pleasant commercial ballad with an addictive hook which draws the listener in. The song commences with a rather dynamic intro, the vocals follow in that rather inimitable, understated British fashion (a la Canterbury) and then we're treated to a very melodic stand alone song which compliments this album very well.
A touch of the Baroque sets the scene for the third offering "TWO SOLITARY MEN", an instrumental piece which lulls the listener into believing all is calm and tranquil , BUT WE KNOW BETTER DON,T WE ?
Surely there is more to this piece than the evocative tinkling of a solo harpsichord?
We are not disappointed. In true Prog tradition, this number opens up.
A nice pleasant track.
"A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA" clocks in at a not inconsiderable 13.24 minutes and is the longest track on the album. Unfortunately in my opinion it is not the best. I have to say that for me, this piece is too long. I find it very samey and lacking in variation. All the elements of Prog are there in abundance and it will no doubt appeal to many listeners, however, I found myself anticipating the next track (and getting fidgety). As you have probably gathered by now, I am not a great lover (OF DIALOGUE), so that puts me at a disadvantage from the outset. One man,s meat etc. etc. like all the songs on this album (and many others), it does improve with time. Hang on in there.
"WISTERIA LODGE" is a pleasant oasis of calm and a radical change from the previous track. Great background music which adds a little diversity to the album, but not really long enough to merit a lengthy review. Just a bridge really.
"A TAPESTRY OF TALES" is a wonderful piece and justifies it,s position as the title track of this album. From the opening Synthy chords you just know that it,s going to be something special. Full of melody, memorable hooks, time signature changes and infinite variations, this is by far my favourite piece and stands out head and shoulders above the other songs on the album. Dare I say? A Classic.
CONCLUSION. Quite a pleasant little album with one really great standout track. Other tracks apart from "A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA" are up to par and certainly worth a listen. This is a competent first effort and as I stated earlier this may appeal to a potentially wider audience than the Prog fraternity alone.