Henry Fool – Men Singing
2013 Kscope Music
Would it be a case of irony if Tim Bowness, a frontman who has been known for his narrative with bands such as No-Man & Memories of Machines as a lyricist & vocalist would otherwise help create something instrumental. Well, that is the case on Henry Fool’s Men Singing, as Bowness and Stephen Bennett have shaped something of lyrical expression, but with a wordless conscious. Sparkling with a melodic drive featuring flowing semi-free form jazz tinged melodies juxtaposed with elegant atmospheric para-Fripp/Eno edge to afford something that strikes middle ground between the moody and free-form sides of art-rock, it reflects the work of Bowness’ past, plus that of pal Steven Wilson’s as well.
Featuring the lavishly executed & extended “Everyone in Sweden,” with it’s honking and singing sax, layering of multi-dimensional arrangements, and thick atmospheric overtones, it’s over thirteen minutes of commanding ethereal post-rock, where livingness is heard within all instruments standing out as opposed to some monotonous droning, para-neo-prog depression. The same can be said about another track in extension, “Chic Hippo,” where again there is no strain to push the envelope, yet there is the headroom for the improvisation from the guitar and occasional trumpet to lead the way above the graceful background. Even as the funkified groove rock/jazz fusion of the title track and the Mellotron driven lounge jazz of “My favorite Zombie Dream” might be a little more to the point musically, still the push for throwing the melancholic attitude aside is what completes the circle for a delicately executed melodic collective. Guests include Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Fudge Smith (Pendragon/Steve Hackett), & Huxflux Mettermalm (Paatos) among many others, and the result this four track, forty-minute musical journey hearkens another bold statement without words, yet still interpretive as an expressive piece of work.