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Voice of the Seven Woods

Voice of the Seven Woods

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Album Review

Following a lengthy string of 7" singles and EPs that have been finding an ever-increasing audience as the psychedelic folk revival gains steam, Voice of the Seven Woods finally made their full-length debut with this self-titled album, which singer, guitarist, and sole permanent member Ricky Tomlinson claims is the culmination of the project. It's a true shame if this album is indeed the last Voice of the Seven Woods release, because this is among the finest releases so far in the whole style. Far too many of Tomlinson's compatriots think it's enough to cop some ideas from an old Incredible String Band album and leave it at that, but the list of influences here cannot be so easily summarized. Like Davy Graham or Pentangle, Tomlinson is well-versed in jazz, blues, country, and certain world music styles; for example, one of the album's many high points, the ripping "Second Transition," features a wild and woolly solo on the electric saz, a modern updating of a traditional Middle Eastern instrument that was last used this effectively on a rock record on the Cedars' 1967 freakbeat classic "For Your Information." Most crucially, Voice of the Seven Woods simply rocks much harder than, say, Devendra Banhart, with a heavy psych-pop vibe in the manner of the Bevis Frond: the genuinely trippy "Underwater Journey" could be placed intact on a Rubble-like compilation of unknown psychedelic-era jams with no one the wiser, and the epic "Return from Byzantium" has the hypnotic pulse of vintage Can. At just over six-and-a-half minutes, that last song is twice the length of all but two others (the opening solo acoustic reverie "Sand and Flames" and the Nick Drake-style ballad "Silver Morning Branches"), and that sense of concision is vitally important to this album's effect as well. Psychedelic doesn't have to mean endless, after all.

Biography

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active:

Voice of the Seven Woods is actually the prog folk vehicle of multi-instrumentalist Rick Tomlinson, a Manchester, U.K.-based musician whose acoustic guitar style echoes the approach of Bert Jansch, Robbie Basho, and Davy Graham. Tomlinson, who plays oud, sitar, and piano as well as guitar, and occasionally sings, has released a steady series of 7" EPs and limited-edition CD-Rs of his music, but the Voice of the Seven Woods project, which also includes musical input from Chris Walmsley, allowed him...
Full bio
Voice of the Seven Woods, Voice of the Seven Woods
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