‘In A Strange Slumber’ from Dodson and Fogg - complete and accomplished(November 12, 2014)
With a nod to Herman Melville and to paraphrase Ishmael, “Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; or whenever life reaches a point where it begins to make sense, I deem it high time to listen to a Dodson and Fogg album.” And luckily the latest offering, ‘In A Strange Slumber’ from the incarnation that is Dodson and Fogg, that periodical, ephemeral happenstance, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Chris Wade and whichever collective of outstanding musicians he cares to add to his entourage, has materialised in my time zone.
Writing about Dodson and Fogg since the inception of the ground breaking debut album ‘Derring Do’, through subsequent manifestations such as ‘Sounds of Day & Night’, ‘The Call’ and ‘After The Fall’ has consistently taken me on a progressive ride through definition-defying, musical journeying that exudes touches of experimental folk, psychedelic folk and progressive rock all conjoined through Chris Wade’s seemingly limitless fountain of varied and explorative ideas.
At the risk of repetition, ‘In A Strange Slumber’ is another complete and accomplished Dodson and Fogg work. There’s always been an expansive breadth and depth to Chris Wade’s music but with this offering he holds the reins tighter and directs rather than drives the horse power as it moves through fourteen tracks that belong inextricably to each other but stand serene in solitude. From the opening waves of ‘The Dance’, the intricate ‘I’m Coming Back’ and the driving ‘When You Were Young’ through the wandering ‘A Day In Your Life’, the ominous ‘The Wind’ and pulsating ‘Never Be Alone’ there’s an indefinable haunting, irresistible fascination. This time there’s also a slice of sarcasm, acidic observation and faintly irascible narration with ‘Entrepreneur In The Garden’ and ‘Clunes The Gravedigger’ - slightly at odds with the album’s continuity but priceless for those that identify with Nigel Planer’s deadpan style.
Musicians on ‘In A Strange Slumber’ are Chris Wade (vocals, guitars, bass, percussion, violin, zither, mandolin, keyboards) Nigel Planer (story narration) Kevin Scott (piano, harpsichord, organ) Ricky Romain (sitar) Celia Humphris and Alison O'Donnell (vocals) Colin Jones (trumpet) and Thomas Roberts and David Liam Roberts (strings).
FindChris Wade Dodson and Fogg here: dodson and fogg
Reviewer: Tim Carroll