Review Summary: Retro prog/space rock done with style. If you like early Pink Floyd you will probably like this too.
The Future Kings of England have quietly been putting out records since 2003 and this is their fourth full release. Based upon a classic short ghost story by M.R. James called Oh Whistle And I'll Come To You Lad
, the music aims to capture the spirit of the tale of a hapless archaeologist who finds a bronze whistle which unbeknownst to him is capable of summoning a nameless horror.
One thing I will say about this album is that if you have a tendency to be unsettled by the supernatural under no circumstances read the short story, easily found on the net in the public domain, and then listen to this alone at 2 o'clock in the morning. The music and sound effects take on a decidedly chilling note at certain junctures. The story gets underway with a pastoral introduction entitled "Journey to the Coast" as our protagonist travels to The Globe Inn which he has been told is not far from a suitable dig site. The Pink Floyd influences are evident in abundance here with an eerie floating melody overlaid with Gilmour-esque lead guitar. After finding the cursed bronze whistle we are led through, on the ethereal and haunting title track, how the professor witnesses a strange landscape in a waking dream in which he is compelled to witness a man being pursued by a white shape. "Convinced Disbeliever" finds the band turning things up a notch with some 70's style prog riffing and serves to bring the listener back to reality. By the time "A Face of Crumpled Linen" announces its arrival with its eerie sound effects you will probably be turning all the house lights on and resolving to stay up all night as the hypnotic unsettling music paints the picture of our hero's final meeting with the dread figure that springs up from his bed and blindly gropes around for him as he stands terrified by the bedroom window.
This is not an instantly appealing album. The melodies are quite subtle on the mostly instrumental pieces and there is nothing that leaps out at you on a first listen. However, if you give it a few spins all the way through you could well find it seeping into your subconscious and becoming a compellingly addictive experience.