An all-star gathering convened by Mother Gong's Gilli Smyth, Fairy Tales is theoretically a children's storybook album. All three tracks are based upon and, indeed, offer straightforward renderings of the popular fables The Pied Piper, The Three Tongues, and Wassilissa (Baba Yaga). But anybody familiar with Smyth's techniques through the world of the original Gong mother ship will know that all is never what it seems. Her space whisper alone can reduce the sensitive spine to jelly, while her singing voice fed through an arsenal of effects loads the most innocent remark with foreboding and malice. Neither are her co-conspirators any more reassuring: Hawkwind mainstay Nik Turner contributes some rat sax to the Pied Piper story and it's really hard to explain what it sounds like. But when you hear it, you know. And you might wish you didn't. "Wassilissa" is the longest track and the most effective. The old Russian fairy story is so littered with horror that any interpretation is going to run up against it at some point. Smyth just dwells on it more than most. But the entire LP is magical, and if you can't imagine any child dreaming peacefully after an evening in its company, don't worry. Not many grown-ups will feel that comfortable, either.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson