Frank Tovey / Frank Tovey & the Pyros

Grand Union

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Grand Union Review

by Alex Henderson

Because the Pyros are an Irish unit with intensely sociopolitical lyrics, the first question one might ask is, "Do they sound anything like U2?" And Grand Union underscores the fact that no, these folk-rockers don't sound anything like Bono & Co. Influenced by Celtic folk as well as American folk-rockers (including Bob Dylan), this band has a distinctive and enriching sound and style of its own. Singer/acoustic guitarist Frank Tovey (of Fad Gadget fame) is a magnificent storyteller, and he shows himself to be poetic and compelling on such haunting gems as "Cities of the Plain," "The Liberty Tree" and "Bad Day in Bow Creek." Also very powerful are "When the Victim Takes the Tyrant's Place" (which reflects on the way the oppressed so often become despotic oppressors themselves) and "Bethnal Green Tube Disaster" (a description of the horrors British civilians faced when the Nazis bombed England during World War II). This outstanding though neglected CD is without a dull moment.

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