Self-released – [Release date: 22 April 2014]
Remember, way back in the good old days of the late sixties and early seventies, how bands would bang an album out every six months or so?
And such was the calibre of the bands concerned that the quality of the music, in most cases anyway, remained at a consistently high level.
Compare and contrast with today’s multi-million grossing mega-bands who can take up to six or seven years to come up with enough new material for an album.
OK, I know times have changed, but it is particularly refreshing when an artist such as Dodson & Fogg comes along who take the word prolific to a new level.
And not just prolific for the sake of it but prolifically excellent.
This, if my maths are correct, is Dodson and Fogg’s fifth album since 2012, and, with the odd caveat, displays the continuous raising of the bar that each subsequent release has shown.
For those new to Dodson and Fogg ‘they’ are essentially one person – songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Wade – although he must have a bulging contacts book as the likes of Celia Humphris (Trees), Alison O’Donnell (Mellow Candle) and Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan) add their considerable talents to help him find his acid-folk nirvana.
Yeah man, that’s what we have here, acid folk that harks back to the halcyon days of Donovan, Pentangle and Barrett-era ‘Floyd, but with a distinctly contemporary and idiosyncratic twist.
There are twelve tracks here to settle yourself on the Habitat scatter cushions, get your spliff rolled, don the headphones and generally wallow in a haze of nostalgia.
From the violin and sitar infused opener ‘You’re An Island’ to the wonderfully Quintessence-alike eastern rhythms of the closing title track, the dreamily languid tracklist has the ability to delight at every turn.
Check out in particular the duet with Celia Humphris on ‘Careless Man’ – a shoo-in for Sandy Denny’s magnificent vocals on ‘Zep’s ‘Battle Of Evermore’, though it must be said that the musicianship and songwriting throughout is outstanding.
That said, the one bum/custard interface scenario occurs on ‘Lord Above’ where some heavily clicheed metal riffing somewhat spoils the ambience – although salvation is partially earned with some tasty electric soloing.
Taken in the round, Dodson & Fogg have continued their rise from cult obscurity on this album and on their own terms too – and whilst they are never going to be huge, it is definitely worth checking them out now before the word spreads too far and rapacious record company executives start circling.
Review by Alan Jones
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