Ex Reverie is actually a vehicle for Gillian Chadwick, singer and multi-instrumentalist but I'm not convinced that's the right emphasis -- in fact, I know it's not. Somewhat along the lines of a ratcheted down and flatted-out Annie Halsam, the group favors compositions nowhere near as accomplished as Renaissance's, though the band's sometimes heavier but always more spaced than Haslam & Co. were. On Language of Stone, a label slowly becoming a force in progrock, the disc does not suffer as probably rightfully should, and this is due to the presence of Margaret Wienks, a commodity who is going to explode one day soon, a cellist with exquisite sensibilities.
Chadwick most often isn't really singing but rather reciting in a melodic voice. About the only song this really works in is Cedar. Equally, her guitar playing is much too simplistic, tending to drag the tempo and depress change-ups. Gillian composed all the songs and made quite a few bad choices in declension and voicing as well. Greg Weeks attempts to rectify a number of these with a John Lees-ish lead guitar and, between he and Wienks (accompanied by a couple of violins), they patchily manage to ramp things up to a theatrically dramatic level, providing the real moments in The Door Into Summer.
The disc carries a medievally allegorical vibe, the Opelia-esque photos of Chadwick boosting that visually (shades of Candice Night), but branches off into prog in instrumental sections, such as the long close-out to Dawn Comes to Us All, a quirky but clever stagger-step. Overall, this CD, though, is just too banal, its misfortunes outweighing the plus'es, and can easily be ignored by all but completists and the likes of Gnosis neoprog fetishists.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Website design by David N. Pyles