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Alan Prosser - 5/4AP (Rafting Dog Records)

Star rating: 
4

If I didn't so rigorously adhere to the old adage 'never judge a book by its cover', then I might just have missed this one, and that would've been a shame. Dreadful cover aside, the songs are quite exciting, especially Simple is Never Easy, which tears into the running order almost from the start, after a rather melancholy instrumental opener Ridingate, named for the Roman landmark of Canterbury. On Simple is Never Easy, the guitarist and founder member of the Oysterband, brings some of the band's vitality to the arrangement, yet makes it all his own. With each of the songs separated by instrumental interludes, the album manages to flow, allowing a breather between songs, a sort of moment for reflection. Prosser introduces some quality songs along the way, including Suicide Bomber, with its uncommon time signature and Middle Eastern instrumental solo, which keeps our attention focused. 

It doesn't take the listener long to realise that much of this album, in fact all of it, is in 5 time, exemplified in Dave Brubeck's classic cool jazz standard Take Five or Pentangle's own folk/jazz version Light Flight, the theme from the 60s TV show Take Three Girls. Here Prosser examines its potential further and creates some adventurous soundscapes, both instrumentally and through songs, including Out of Kent, Five For You and the beautiful Amy Isn't Waiting. Davy Graham fans will notice the homage in the title, based upon Graham's mid-Sixties collaborative EP with Alexis Korner, 3/4 AD. The Mike Oldfield-styled Tommy Atkin's March (5/2), which closes the album, is as good a closer as any I can think of.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky