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Giles - 2008 - "Dancing with Dolores"

(56:39, 'Giles')

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Maria Magdalena 5:20
2.  Freedom 4:37
3.  Letter to Bush 4:06
4.  Fallen Angel 2:49
5.  Dancing with Dolores 5:25
6.  Gypsy Eyes 2:14
7.  That's Why 5:18
8.  Mind Your Own Damn Business 3:45
9.  Wanna Come Home Father 5:33
10. Behind Your Eyes 3:07
11. Just a Shell 4:58
12. Nutbush City Limits 3:26
13. Bird on the Wire 4:12
14. Yearning 1:49


Mark Koehorst – vocals; guitars; keyboards; percussion
Terry Shaughnessy – drums 
Piet Koehorst – bass 

Prolusion. GILES is a UK based power trio who released their first album back in 2002. "Dancing with Dolores" is their fourth production and was issued on their own label, May Tree Studios, in 2006.

Analysis. The promo copy of their CD came into my hands in a peculiar, modern manner – I got sent an invitation to a concert they were holding in the city where I live and informed that if I showed up I would get the CD. That doesn't happen too often, and for a band describing itself as a blues act to contact a reviewer of progressive music in that fashion is even more peculiar. And although I would be hard-pressed to describe the musical contents of this disc as progressive, it does contain quite a few stylistic explorations that may be of interest to followers of the genre covered by this site – and thankfully the music itself is rather innovative too. Few of the tracks here follow conservative blues traditions. The songs are easily defined as blues rock, but rather than exploring a set theme or themes, this is a band that sets out to evolve their songs. With an approach I've come across in quite a few artists playing jazz rock and fusion, slight alterations to previously explored themes is an effect utilized throughout this album, first and foremost with the guitar as main provider of both melodies and variations on those. Another approach used extensively is to add in features and details to one or more themes making up a track, so that a tune that starts out pretty basic sounding ends up as a much more elaborate creation as it reaches its end. Careful use of keyboards adds a few extra dimensions to the blues rock foundation most compositions have in common and as for stylistic variations, the psychedelic side of Jimi Hendrix's output has been a major influence on this act, while other creations are comparable to the mid ‘70s output of Robin Trower in sound - covering both the energetic hard rocking sound as well as the smoother funk-tinged excursions he made from time to time. But it's among the compositions less directly influenced by heroes past that we encounter the most innovative features of this act. The best example of this is the title track, a song blending blues rock with flamenco and tango, romantically dancing away into a sound collage trying to convey doomsday - or at least something pretty close to it. Of the 14 tracks present on this album, 4 are cover versions. Two of these, Richie Valens’ Freedom and Tina Turner's Nutbush City Limits, are among the highlights of this excursion. The former a scorching, energetic rocker in this version, the latter more of a psychedelic tinged but also energetic excursion.

Conclusion. Giles isn't an act that will have a strong appeal amongst followers of progressive music. But those who enjoy the earlier releases by Robin Trower as well as those intrigued by the albums issued by Jimi Hendrix might take an interest in this one. The songs are well crafted and well performed and with a level of innovation and creativity one doesn't often encounter amongst acts exploring blues rock.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 12, 2009
The Rating Room

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