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The Vicar: Songbook #1

Album Review

Chamber-pop accompaniment to multi-format eccentricity.

The Vicar is the ‘semi- fictional British eccentric’ who blogs and rails against the perceived evils of the music industry in every medium he can get his virtual hands on. Now, his novels (graphic and otherwise), video blogs and audio books are reinforced by this widely collaborative ‘songbook of chamber-pop’.

David Singleton’s compositions embrace the orchestral grandiloquence of Pepper-period Fabs, the insouciant vitality of early solo Macca and the intricate tunefulness of Andy Partridge, all in the highest of fi. Woodwind and strings augment a gently psychedelic pop backdrop with such players as Chas Dickie, Cathy Stevens and Tony Levin. 

There are two rare but welcome vocal appearances by once-vaunted British soulman Lewis Taylor, Andy (brother of Thom) Yorke (on the mournful Count Your Blessings) and Sweet Billy Pilgrim’s Tim Elsenburg. Sung by Steve Porter, the cello-propelled Man With A Woman On His Mind could’ve been a great, late-period track by The Move. 

The accompanying DVD-A offers the whole album in 5.1 surround and other hi-res formats and well over five hours of footage, including The Vicar’s first novel in video book form.

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