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Tiger Moth Tales - 'Cocoon' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/84/ff/43/Tiger-Moth-Tales-Cocoon-51-1430420665.jpg Hot

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The album's warmness, weirdness, diversity, musicianship and Englishness make it not just quintessential... but essential.

This album is quintessentially the most English sounding I've heard in a long time. It's the brain child of Pete Jones who basically writes and plays everything on it and it's also probably one of the most interesting and challenging Prog albums I've had the pleasure of listening to. Jones states himself – "it all happened by accident really, one day I sat down to try and write a song, and ended up with the beginning of a Prog song about Trumpton" (an old U.K. children's show).

This happy accident led him to continue writing about his childhood and the TV shows/books that he loved growing up. What then makes this album so English? Well, in parts, it's the odd and weird time signatures, the strange arrangements and subject matter that Jones uses. At first this will speak mostly to an English audience but given the time and breathing space it needs, it will surely draw everyone in to its absurd, surreal and quirky musical world.

The album is split into sections of beautifully played instrumental passages representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, with the songs then interpreting what Jones, who has been blind since he was fifteen months old, was hearing on the TV as he grew up.

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Take a listen to the eleven minute 'The Isle Of The Witches' to see where pure imagination can take you musically because what you hear isn't truly just a musical piece; it is instead a short play set to music. With Jones, in his best Shakespearian voice, narrating a story about the battles of witches and wizards to a backdrop of dark and, at times, menacing Prog Rock. It is so strange to the ears on the first few listens that you're not really sure what you're listening to. Stick with the song however and soon you'll warm to its delightfully twisted melodies and charismatic vocals, until you're soon convinced that you're in the presence of something that is truly individual.

Try 'The First Lament', an almost perfect eight minute instrumental piece, where the outstanding guitar work of Jones just has to be heard and enjoyed. Then to the track that started it all, the absolutely wonderful 'A Visit To Chigwick'. Some of you will remember watching the shows this song is based upon; Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley and the stories of Windy Miller, Chippy Minton and the Fire Brigade. The nostalgia this song evokes is amazing and it brought back a lot of happy childhood memories.

With 'Tiger Moth Tales', Pete Jones has made a must have for those who say they love Prog Rock; the album's warmness, weirdness, diversity, musicianship and Englishness make it not just quintessential... but essential.

Ian Johnson

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