Medieval Records [Release date 01.04.16]
Here’s a prog concept album that doesn’t take itself too seriously, judging by the lighter touch in the accompanying press release. There is no doubt that a lot of effort and enterprise has gone into this, and it’s nicely packaged, but it falters on several counts.
Firstly it’s a concept piece and fantasy that means we have to follow closely the lyric sheet, there’s a narrator “superannuated thespian” Brian Nash – who frankly is no Jeremy Irons – and a vocalist Paul W. Nash (Brian’s son) who will either irritate or alienate or maybe both in equal measure. Derek Dick he isn’t.
The orchestration - broadly medieval in scope and including mellotron samples – is impressive and the album may have worked better as an instrumental piece but that’s evidently not the general idea. There are shameless references throughout to Genesis, Hackett, early Marillion et al.
The overall style reminds me also of the whimsy of a band like Dr Strangely Strange. That band has staunch followers but their seventies idyll hasn’t aged well and may now seem somewhat anachronistic.
However a band who freely quote from the TV theme ‘The Persuaders’ may gain some votes for sheer audacity. And audacious perhaps best describes Lyrian’s offering.
The band was formed in 2006 and consists of three librarians and can only perpetuate the myth that librarians are somewhat staid, bookish, and repressed due to prolonged silencing. After hearing this you may want to scream, but not – please – in a library. **1/2
Review by David Randall
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