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Thank you so much to Less Leßmeister for the review of our album Sprezzatura. (Google translation from German) 26.11.2019
Ui. Mmm. Aaah ... what? Well, very difficult to give you a linear, not misleading description of this very interesting second disc of the KENTISH SPIRES, which also makes sense. If anyone knows and loves the uncategorizable THE ENID by BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST veteran Robert John Godfrey, it becomes essential. The only rough indication, because purely vocal we move in completely different climes and on the other THE KENTISH SPIRES are just as unpredictable and unlinear as THE ENID. After guitarist Danny Chang and bassist Phil Warren crossed paths again after 30 years of enriching themselves with many different musical and stylistic experiences, they decided to record albums that would include all the influences they grew up with.
After enjoying the 'Girl From Ipanema' / 'Journey To The Center Of The Earth' Overture, I divide the album into the jazzy-progg instrumental section for the supporting saxophone as well as other wind instruments of the newcomer Chris Egan plus swinging tools, and the hippiesk-folky part of the work, in which the divahafte Lucie Vox (also violin) lives out their true vocal strengths. The epic Doom folk tune 'Sea Shanty' with recorder and dreamy ending forces one to think about how LORDIAN GUARD would have sounded on the Woodstock. 'Don't Shoot The Albatross' swings through the ear canals with GENESIS and ELOY sounds of keyman Rik Loveridge. As a true century number, 'Horsa From Beyond The Grave' flourishes with a beautiful sadness and an increase of expressive, powerful vocals alongside the contrasting positive theme.
Exhausted, whether this emotional palette I labe afterwards with a refreshing sip from the peaceful 'Wishing Well', which with terrific background vocals invites you to dream and finally ends almost meditative with bells and blown finesse. Almost cheeky-aggressive tendencies reach Lucie, when she demands of us `You Better Shut Your Mouth', while her companions musically draw all the stops for the particularly growling bass. 'Never Tell On You' beats PAVLOVS DOG to FLEETWOOD MAC as the most catchy song, while not only does our Diva 'The Long Goodbye' give a ROGER WATERS shine.
This work, which is hard to describe, musically has the makings of a classic - not least due to the fact that this band constellation already does not exist any more, as the positions vocals and percussion were already filled when the review was published. The importance of this album may be only musically wide-ranging contemporaries such as Mick Shark - with or without mushrooms - can understand, if he is relegated by Kaia - but that's another story. Only the future and the artistic path of the KENTISH SPIRES will show the true value of 'Sprezzatura'.
(without rating, but with the greatest possible love)
Sprezzatura is the second full length release from experienced purveyors of the Canterbury flame, The Kentish Spires, welcoming in Chris Egan on sax/flute and James Hall making his professional recording debut on drums. As I understand it powerhouse vocalist Lucie V has now left the band and so it may also be their last outing in this format.
Which is a shame as this album, while nodding to its predecessor in its quirky mix of folk, Kentish history and jazz fusion is a more clearly constructed and focussed piece displaying great promise. While their first collection, The Last Harvest (2018, see review) was recorded over a period of months, this was done in 40 straight days recording and it works brilliantly in cutting out the padding. Anything which didn't work quickly was consigned to the bin, keeping the quality level high. Both halves of the release (sides in vinyl money) consist of a trilogy of pieces and a standalone track, making for two contrasting pieces. Side one is the folk tinged jazz which listeners of the first release will be familiar with while part two is the urbane, modern, witty version exploring the conundrums of modern relationships. Horsa From Beyond The Grave will delight those whose taste is more for 5th century history and who can tell a Jute from and Angle or Saxon. Here the focus is more personal and less tub thumping, making for an engaging tale. As ever Lucie V's folk tinged vocal powers these tales with conviction, although there is time for musical whimsy on Don't Shoot The Albatross.
On side two Lucie's voice is more modern, with an estuary tinge exploring three different relationships and on You Better Shut Your Mouth managing the rare trick of being able to explore an abusive relationship in an engaging way without diminishing the seriousness of the subject. The music on this second half is less obviously stylised, more original and all the better for it. This was always my favourite aspect of the band when they were more natural and unfettered by musical conventions. The final track The Long Goodbye, a part duet is a poignant, soaring piece where the band really comes together, showcasing Chris Egan's saxophone. It feels comfortable and as if the group had found a space where everyone could breathe.
If that was really the last track for The Kentish Spires, it wasn't a bad way to sign off. To me it sounds like unfinished business, but then fans always want more and one has to trust the musicians to know what's best for themselves. I can only thank them and wish them well in their future endeavours (and hope they may have some time for another outing, one day)
**** Andrew Cottrell
Thank you to Henri Strik at Background Magazine for sharing Andrew Cottrell's review of our album Sprezzatura. 07.11.2019
Thank you to Didier GONZALEZ and BellaMarie at Highlands Magazine for their very kind words and 5 star review of our album Sprezzatura. 08.10.2019
Also a big shout out to Stephen Lambe of Ninteen-73 who did a wonderful job in promoting both of our albums and brought us to their attention.
Thank you to Eric Perry of DPRP for his fabulous review of our album SPREZZATURA . 29.09.2019
The follow up to last year’s The Last Harvest see’s this Canterbury scene inspired band gain a couple of new members (drummer James Hall and woodwind player Chris Egan). It was recorded over a 40 day period, where the band worked quickly and, according to the press release, discarded anything that didn’t fit.
What you get is 8 tracks of contemporary progressive rock in quite a folky vein, with nods and hints to previous eras, particularly with the lovely warm Hammond sound and the woodwind that effortlessly ebbs and flows throughout this album.
What really pulls it all together though is the amazing vocals of Lucie V, however, it seems that whilst I was polishing off this review Lucie and the band have parted company, which is a real shame as her vocals were an integral part of the band, and indeed this album.
Starting with a loose trilogy, Overture gently sets the scene for the album, before Lucie and the boys go really folky on the rather wonderful A Sea Shanty, which leads into the first curiosity on the album, a wonderfully psyche piece of woodwind and folk, with goonish voices intoning “Don’t shoot the albatross”. It sounds bonkers written down, but in reality it’s a really funky piece of music, showcasing all the virtuoso performances that the band can pull together.
The way that founders Danny Chang, Rik Loveridge and Phil Warren jam together is wonderful to hear, new boy Chris Egan given space to fill with his reeds, showing how much confidence the band have in him.
Feeling like an offcut, or link to the debut album, Horsa from Beyond the Grave returns to the band’s roots, a wonderfully epic piece from one of the legendary brothers Horsa and Hengist, who as everyone knows turned against King Vortigern, with Horsa dying in battle and Hengist being first King of Kent. The impassioned vocals from Lucie implore Hengist to turn away from destruction and towards peace, and with some amazing musicianship from the band, this nod to the debut is one of the strongest pieces on the album.
The next trilogy, Tale of Three Lovers, starts with the folky Wishing Well. Again the band are focusing more on folk-rock elements than the previous album, and this gives the songs room to breathe, making the instrumentation more subtle, and allowing songs to work their way into your head, but they soon kick it up a gear, again a different mood change from the debut album, and one that really showcases the amazing power of Lucie’s voice.
You Better Shut Your Mouth is one of the best on the album for me, with an absolute killer bass groove that kicks into a full-on rock track, allowing Chang to showcase his phenomenal guitar work, and some brilliant woodwind from Egan, but it’s Lucie who steals the show here, her versatile and powerful vocals running the gamut from scorned to scornful, with the absolute killer line “I burnt your records, I never did like Prog rock anyway” – pure genius on a powerfully funky track.
Following this is the absolute 360 degree turn around, based on true life experience. Never Tell On Me is one of those songs with a wonderful melody, and is the most commercial sounding track on here, with really dark lyrics (a trick pulled off by bands like Squeeze and the Beautiful South). It’s quite a harrowing track about domestic abuse, and by God it’s effective, again kudos to Lucie for her vocal performance.
Rounding it off is the slow-burning, almost Floydian Last Goodbye, the band really does change gear again and go all atmospheric and moody with some superb performances all round, and this is the fitting way to finish.
So, to sum up, Sprezzatura is a totally different beast to its predecessor, giving the band plenty of room to grow and experiment, and it sounds very much like a band working out where they want to go next and who they want to be going forward.
Unfortunately, instead of being a transitional album, it’s now a full stop, rather than being a stepping stone to the next album with Lucie, it’s now the end of an era.
Wherever the band and Lucie head next on their own individual musical journeys we wish them the best, and can look back on the burst of creativity that produced these two wonderful albums with fondness and relish the fact that whilst their journeys continue in a different direction, we have these musical postcards from the road to treasure.
James R Turner
Thank you to James R Turner from The Progressive Aspect for his wonderful insightful review of our latest album Sprezzatura. 17.09.2019
Thank you to those wonderful chaps at Prog for reviewing our Sprezzatura album and to Stephen Lambe for spreading the gospel. 17.09.2019
In a dodgy music culture and time when plastic and pace seem to be the new order, The Kentish Spires' approach to musicianship and recording is certainly worthy of some praise. They haven't gone apes**t over the compositions and there's plenty of space between all instruments, allowing all the band members to shine like radioactive cats in the dark. Everything is so friggin' clean and crystal clear that I couldn't help but think about the sterile landscape of atomic winter when I first heard it.
More than this? there's nothing? Oi! We're not talking about Roxy Music. It's the Canterbury-style Prog at full swing. However, the choice of sound and structure favours the quirky arrangements and that is clearly first noticed on the opening tracks of "Overture (instumental)" and "A Sea Shanty". They are both part of the trilogy of Knots. The experienced musician of Danny Chang (guitars, keyboards, producer), no doubt the Captain of the ship and he's taking his merry crew on a journey across the seven seas where you're not supposed to shoot the Albatross?
It's definitely also worth pointing out the Spires effective use of light and shade vs. the moody keyboards and woodwind. The cinematic "Horsa From Beyond The Grave" seems to be a cross or the bridge between the ancient year of 1970 and today, while "The Long Goodbye" goes through several different changes of Prog and Spacey Rock with an infectious melody. Vocalist Lucie is a shining star in the making and as the sound travels through the different years´of rock (even though it's mostly 70s styled prog), the album seem to have the confuse/intrigue thy listener as its official agenda of the day. Atmospheric Prog-Rock and moody fragmented musical arrangements constantly collide with experimental pieces and you can feel the force of all of them at once. Final verdict: Perhaps not quite as great as their debut. Still recommended if you're into Canterbury and old skool Prog though.
Many thanks Urban Wally Walstrom for his review of our latest album Sprezzatura. 05.09.2019
A cutting-edge Kentish Spires of the 21st century British rock expectation that decorated a dramatic debut with a dramatic and fantastic design last fall. After a span of more than half a year from that point, along with the design based on the flow of the previous debut work and romanticism.
With the long-awaited new music 2nd, I came back as if I had responded to our love call.
As if it embodies the British empire's lyricism and the artwork as if it embodies a vast and natural rich flavor, but also the delicate but powerful singing ability of the diva Lucie who serves as a jacket model, vintage Feeling tuck
The sound of the guitar, the guitar that followed the 70s ism, the rhythm team (drummer has changed the member), and the performance of the newly joined wind instrument player, symphonic, folk, Celtic, Canterbury, etc. ) Even the beauty that resembles the inner face of a sensual and sensational woman who can't change anything like a wave that wraps around the listener's mind like a wave that returns with a view of the world that includes the knowledge of the music Let's be ugly.
It has nothing to do with current trends such as the recent melodic symphony and neo-progressive, and while pairing with the country's vintage progressive Prussian, the taste and the taste that made a difference from psychedelia are purely different Even the appearance of a bard like the Grand Prix Griffon cannot be forbidden to the British tradition and the royal road.
Big Thank You to our friend Yoshiyuki Ooseki from Japan who has reviewed our second album, Sprezzatura. Difficult to translate but Google has done its best. 31.08.2019
White Knight Records WKCD0819
A year on from their excellent debut the Kentish Spires return with the follow up. There are changes in the group, Chris Egan and James Hall are the new boys on reeds & Keyboards and Drums & Percussion respectively. The first album was recorded over a lengthy period, this time a concerted block of recording time was utilised. It adds to the cohesion of the group, the songs, different though they are have more of an altogether feeling about them.
As with the first album, the packaging is important to the album. Yes you can get it digitally, but you lose the lyrics and the photographs, which follow on from the debut. All songs on the album were co-written by all of the band, with contributions on two of them from Helen Williams, producer and guitarist Danny Chang’s partner. She also did some engineering work during the recording sessions.
The music is divided in to two three track themes and two longer, stand alone songs. Opening with Knots (A Trilogy) there is an instrumental Overture, a bright and bouncy piece of prog with tinges of jazz and more. The solid and precise drumming is fronted by saxophone with keyboards, bass and guitar all creating a solid bed of sound. This segues into “A Sea Shanty”. Not a jolly singalong piece but a slower story with a very emotive vocal from Lucie Vox. You can picture high seas and pirates. The suite ends with “Don’t Shoot The Albatross”, another instrumental. This one bounces along with the sax leading for most of it with some fine synth parts and sounds. It is a Very laid back piece.
“Horsa From Beyond The Grave” is a stand-alone piece. Like all the album based in but not exclusively tied to the Canterbury sound. For a large part of the song Lucie’s vocal and Chris’ sax duet and fight upfront with so much more going on behind, as repeated listening reveals.
Tale Of Three Lovers (A Trilogy) opens with “Wishing Well”, a song of longing. The other sider of the coin is “You Better Shut Your Mouth”, which starts “I never really liked you anyway”. The latter being more forceful than the former of course. Again,jolly the playing through the songs is crisp and precise, as is the production. Lucie loads each line with emotion, positive and negative. The trilogy ends with “Never Tell On You There is some lovely synth work with a driving beat, and a vocal telling a very sad stet of affairs indeed. Read the lyrics in the book.
Finally, there is a slow, controlled “The Long Goodbye”. Starting gently and building, then easing off for a final, wistful sax solo over keyboard. This again builds with Danny’s guitar and Phil Warren on bass pushing it, but not taking over. Then a final verse from Lucie and a gentle end to a wonderful album.
The band can be found on Facebook, and both CD and Download versions are available from
Big thank you to Ian Burgess for his review of our latest album Sprezzatura. 05.09.2019