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Here's one of those surreal, strange trips that just throws you off-kilter at first but soon enough becomes irresistible. Saint Just was an avant-folk group from Naples who fashioned this haunting interpretation of prog-folk with elements of centuries past classical, romantic and traditional folk influence. They don't sound like anyone precisely, but to give a general idea I can float the names Pierrot Lunaire, Trees, Fairport, Vashti Bunyan, Houlderlin's Traum. The band contrasts simple and sparse arrangements with almost free-form bursts of creativity and avant magic. Imagine a laid back piano playing alone in a large room. Suddenly the vocals of Jenny Sorrenti fill the air and soon you will encounter all manner of acoustic guitar, sax, flute, drumming all as if led by their own separate muse. It can often be disconcerting and seemingly random but eventually it pulls you in. Vocally Jenny Sorrenti is one of those challenging singers for whom some will be unable to tolerate. In the way that people can find Kate Bush, Rose Podwojny (Sandrose), or Jacqueline Darby (Pierrot Lunaire) too annoying many could have that problem with Sorrenti. Her high-pitched and eccentric delivery could be seen as an exciting style or just plain caterwauling depending on your viewpoint. I enjoy both her vocals and the musical schizophrenia very much. The 10 minute opener encapsulates the album well and Steve is correct to point out that there is a homemade sound to the recording akin to early Amon Duul II. And yet small details emerge with each listen that prove the slick productions of today are not necessarily preferable when the intent is this kind of experience. It is precisely the loose style that helps the album work to fullest potential. And it is the personal and intimate nature of the fragile voice and sparse piano/guitars that make this kind of music so endearing. A must for avant-folk lovers.
This is another classic reissue on Vinyl Magic, on coloured vinyl, of another out of print item; and once again, it's one of the best outfits of that incredible and fertile period. Not to be missed!