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BANCHEE – Banchee
                                                    
Banchee were an East Coast US band, who emerged at the end of the psychedelic era, and whose music therefore combined elements of both psyche and prog. Their 1969 debut perhaps has more of the former, with hints of the Byrds and CSN in the chiming guitars and vocal harmonies, and has both gentle moments like opener ‘The Night Is Calling’, and storming rockers like ‘Train Of Life’. ‘As Me Thinks’ utilizes harmony vocal backing and some jerky rhythms, all leading into a superb guitar solo which fades out just as it gets interesting, and ‘Follow A Dream’ is a power ballad with more great backing vocals and an unusual French horn solo. ‘Beautifully Day’ is another rocker which finishes with a searing guitar solo, and ‘Evolmia’ is by far the heaviest thing on here, but even that is drenched in harmony vocals and some light guitar touches. ‘I Just Don’t Know’ is their most straight-forward rock song, with a repetitive riff and a more ‘rock’ vocal that the other songs on here, but having said that it still contains some interesting tempo changes and the ubiquitous vocal backing – and of course a guitar solo on the fade-out. ‘Hands Of A Clock’ has a bluesy feel and a metronomic intro, while the eight minute ‘Toms Island’ rounds off the album with a riffing rocker which gives the guitar a chance to really shine and not be cut off in its prime. Their reputation as ‘premier heavy blasters’ is not borne out at all by this album, containing as it does songs with a genuine lightness of touch, and it is only really ‘Evolmia’ and ‘Tom’s Island’ which seem to earn it this epithet. ‘Banchee’ is a superb psyche/hard rock album and is highly recommended.
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