Comus

First Utterance

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Comus' first album contains an imaginative if elusive brand of experimental folk-rock, with a tense and sometimes distressed vibe. Although there are elements of traditional British folk music, there's an edginess to the songwriting and arrangements that would be entirely alien in a Fairport Convention or Pentangle disc. At times, this straddles the border between folk-rock and the kind of songs you'd expect to be sung at a witches' brew fest, the haunting supernatural atmosphere enhanced by bursts of what sound like a theramin-like violin, hand drums, flute, oboe, ghostly female backup vocals, and detours into almost tribal rhythms. All of this might be making the album sound more attractive than it is; the songs are extremely elongated and fragmented, and the male vocals often have a grating munchkin-like quality, sometimes sounding like a wizened Marc Bolan. The lyrics are impenetrable musings, mixing pastoral scenes of nature with images of gore, torture, madness, and even rape, like particularly disturbing myths being set to music. It's been reissued on CD, but here's one case where you might want to get the LP reissue (on Get Back) instead, as it comes with a bonus 12" of three songs in a similar vein as their rare 1971 EP.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:37
2 12:12
3
10:54
4
7:30
5
5:26
6 2:15
7
6:14
blue highlight denotes track pick