It's rather strange to review another album by Census Of Hallucinations only a month after I reviewed the previous CD Coming Of The Unicorn (2013, see review). I wondered if this album would differ from the previous one. Well, after listening to Spirit Of Yellow I noticed that some important changes took place as far as the musical style is concerned. Instead of the progressive and hallucinating Hawkwind- like space rock this time Census Of Hallucinations sound more like an old English seventies folk group. I've never heard such a great musical change between two consecutive albums by the same band!
The first two songs, Forest and More Than Ashes, are very calm: a kind of folk rock in the vein of Jethro Tull, but without the kind of flute playing by Ian Anderson. They both start with acoustic guitars and worldly lyrics. Church has some caustic lyrics with a strange ending. In my opinion one of the best songs on Spirit Of Yellow is Riding The War, a traditional British folk song in the vein of Fairport Convention, Magna Carta and Matthews Southern Comfort. In Infra Red, part 1 it seems as if Simon & Garfunkel are singing, while the second part contains a brilliant guitar solo by John Simms.
Mountain Climbing is another remarkable song. It sounds like two boy-scouts singing like The Everly Brothers accompanied by only an acoustic and an electric guitar. Lie Again deals with corruptible and mendacious politicians when dealing with subjects like environment and pollution. Sara Jane is a cynical, venomous 'love' song. The lyrics of Hieronymus are of a high quality: 'There's a little heaven in hell' is the exact transposition of the paintings of the early medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. The only rock song on this album is Blood On My Shoes, while the final song Orion is again very folk-like: a pleasant ending of an attractive album.
With Spirit Of Yellow Tim Jones (guitars), Maxine Marten (backing vocals), Kevin Hodge (drums, bass, guitars), John Simmons (guitars, backing vocals), David Fendry (keyboards, synths) and Mark Crany (keyboards) have presented thirteen surprising songs in just one hour.
***+ Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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