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(101:05; Fruits de Mer Records)
In 2013 the mighty Fruits de Mer released a compilation of material on a double vinyl album along with an associated 33 rpm 7” single providing 23 songs at a total length of more than 100 minutes. Needless to say, the vinyl sold out as soon as it was announced, but this album is still available through Bandcamp and I believe singer Nathan Hall still has some double CD sets for sale as well through the same site. The album starts with a short cover version of the theme tune for ‘Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads”, a popular British sitcom from the mid Seventies (which I clearly remember watching), and is apparently the only cover the band have ever attempted. It certainly through me back into the Seventies when I heard it, as although it has been given the SHS treatment of acoustic guitars and harmony vocals it is instantly recognisable. Interestingly, the TV series was itself a sequel to a Sixties sitcom, picking up the tale some five years after that had ended, showing how the two featured friends had changed, so it is a perfectly fitting and interesting title for a compilation which is looking over a period of time. This means we get earlier material with a drum machine, and later material with “real” drums, and we trip through whimsy and different styles, all of which are firmly rooted in the late Sixties. We get banjo, Wurlitzer-style organ, mandolin, and one cannot help but fall in love with songs that are full of naivety and refusal to conform to whatever anyone feels music should be in the 21st century. Songs such as “The Trees Don’t Seem To Know It’s September” are full of the feelings of love and joy which only ever seemed to be displayed in this manner back when the world was a far nicer and better place. “Halloween People” with its multi-guitar attack is simply delightful, with hooks and a nod to the Canterbury Scene. This is folk, it is prog, it is psychedelic, it has been influenced by Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Caravan, and is a wonderful place to discover one of the best bands to come out of Wales.
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