Colin Mold - 'Girl On The Castle Steps'

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Colin Mold - 'Girl On The Castle Steps'

A most wonderful escape from everyday life.

Having recently taken up residence in UK prog mainstays Karnataka, multi-instrumentalist Colin Mold now regales us with his new and wonderfully atmospheric solo album ‘Girl On The Castle Steps’. On the recent Karnataka tour, Colin brought his abilities with guitar, violin and backing vocals to the band, building on the folk roots that his newly adopted outfit have become known for. As a solo artist he adds keyboards and lead vocals to the list, performing everything on all bar one of his songs of acoustic-based folk with a hint of progression.

Short vocal-less album introductions may well be the order of the day in just about every genre at the moment. However on ‘Girl On The Castle Steps’ the three minutes or so of piano, whispering keyboards and layered voices that make up the title track prelude, build a strong image of the captivating album it introduces. Colin has an easy, unforced vocal style similar to Al Stewart, that works beautifully on ever evolving acoustic guitar and violin fuelled music that manages to feel poised, yet urgent at the same time. The album never quite “rocks” as such, but that doesn’t stop the likes of ‘Green And Gold’ benefiting from a stinging electric guitar solo, or the title track proper from trotting along in a manner that will surely appeal to anyone who has been seduced by the more recent Karnataka output. In fact while Karnataka could accurately be described as folk-tinged prog, ‘Girl On The Castle Steps’ takes the focus off the prog and turns it onto the folk, while still retaining the sprawling instrumental sections and intricate arrangements that makes progressive rock so interesting in the first place.

The beautiful nine minutes of closing track ‘Ancestral Song’ however proves that on occasion there’s nothing better than a simply presented, but expertly performed piece of music that relies on nothing more than engaging melodies, wonderful vocals and a touch of atmospheric keyboards to make a lasting mark. A more pensive approach is taken on the equally effective ‘Chasing Rainbows’, where the violin adds a dark drama to the more contented feel offered elsewhere, although the instrumental ‘Storm Dance’ retains the theatrical feel, with a swirling electric guitar reel that conjures up images of oddly erotic traditional dancing....

Compared to most of the music represented in Fireworks ‘Girl On The Castle Steps’ is an undoubted change of pace. However when you are in the mood for an intricately crafted set of songs that carries you away on sumptuous melodies and evocative imagery, then you’ll find the memorable music that Colin Mold lovingly creates to be a most wonderful escape from everyday life.

Steven Reid

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