The Legendary Pink Dots

All the King's Horses

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Longtime fans of the Legendary Pink Dots know what to expect: lots of dreamy, borderline arrhythmic songs with a certain whimsical charm and maybe even a kind of pop sensibility behind them, but not much that you can hold onto. All the King's Horses is built on keyboard and reed sounds of varying degrees of cheesiness, with a little bit of guitar thrown in, and the studiously plain-spoken vocals of bandleader Edward Ka-Spel. The ultimate effect is strongly reminiscent of the solo work of Church guitarist Marty Willson-Piper, only without the hooks. Everything moves at about the speed of molasses, and although "Bargain at Twice the Price" picks up the pace just a bit, it's not enough to lighten the mood significantly (nor is the goofy circus theme of "Daisy"). None of this is to say that the music's bad, but newcomers might want to start with the band's earlier work and ease into this one. (Watch for a companion album entitled All the King's Men.)

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