Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lethe - 1981 - Lethe


01. Lethe [5:36]
02. Avbury circle [9:46]
03. Cold in fingers [9:49]
04. Le tombeau II [9:25]


Thuur Feyen: Organ, piano, strings
Philip de Goey: Piano, oboe, flute, cor Anglais
Hans Lambers: Drums, percussion, xylophone, vibraphone, strings
Johan Saanen: Bass guitar
Kees Walravens: Guitar, classical guitar

A couple of years after Mirror dissolved, three members of the group, Philip de Goey, Kees Walravens and Johan Saanen teamed up with keyboardist Thuur Feyen and drummer Hans Lambers to set up the short-lived Lethe combo.This Dutch band recorded only one self-titled album (1978) on the small label ran by the Waalwijk-based M.M.P. Studios.It contains four long instrumental pieces and the most surprising thing is that the first one in line and the opening theme of the second are smooth Classical-like arrangements with piano, oboe and discreet strings, recalling The Enid.So there are no obvious signs of what's coming next, which is actually a dense instrumental Prog experience, somewhere between Camel and compatriots Finch.Parts of the following pieces are pretty melodic with definite symphonic orientations and occasional jazzy vibes, featuring strong piano, organ and guitar work and some delicate flute breaks.At moments though the material holds a strong Fusion flavor with excellent guitar moves by Walravens and omnipresent organ.Not original enough, but surprisingly good for an 1981 release, considering how close to mid-70's this one actually sounds.Saanen and Walravens later joined forces with ex-Mirror bandmate Peter Fransen in the cover band Looking For Clues.

This album by Lethe can be seen as the follow up of the Daybreak album, since this band contains the core of musicians who recorded Mirror. The music of both albums is similar. This record however is completely instrumental and the production is much better. It is best compared to the music of Camel.
The album opens with birds, piano and oboe. Then a classical guitar is added. So a very quiet and relaxed opening. The second track continues where the first one left us. It is only after a few minutes when the full rock band starts to play. This part of the song contains some excellent guitar and organ playing in the vein of Camel. On the third track an important role is reserved for the flute. Again a great track. On the closer all the elements of Lethe's music come together once again. It is a melodic track, with good guitar solos, some oboe, flute. Relaxed parts and rocking parts.
This is another good album, and a little better than the Mirror album. I can recommend this anyone who likes some good instrumental progressive rock, and especially for those who like Camel.
(Agemo, Dutch Progressive Rock of the Seventies)

Lethe's album starts off rather inconspicuously with a classically oriented oboe, acoustic guitar and piano piece. But, just as Mirror before them, the band launches into a sophisticated, but highly melodic progressive rock form. And while Side 1 is good, side 2 is an absolute clinic on how to combine complexity and yet still maintain a strong melodic backbone. This is the album that Camel never made after "Moonmadness". Astounding album really.