Comedy of Errors – Threnody for a dead Queen (2023)
Quite unexpectedly, Scottish band Comedy of Errors is releasing a new album again. Last year Time Machine was released and my, very positive, review can be read here.
I am a big fan of the music of this band and I still consider their album Fanfare & Fantasy from 2013 to be their best work to date. The band has been in my top ten favourite bands for years. As already mentioned, I was very pleased with Time Machine and I think that album is close to Fanfare & Fantasy. My least favourite album of this sympathetic band is Spirit. On this album, the atmosphere is more apparent than the quality of the songs and I miss the rock and guitar work of the other albums.
Up till now almost all music is written by keyboardist Jim Johnston and so is Threnody for a dead Queen. Gee, where would the inspiration have come from? And a little spoiler alert, this album is close to Spirit in terms of atmosphere and is relatively relaxed as a whole. However, there is clearly more attention for the beautiful guitar work of Mark Spalding who is again the only guitarist and I am very happy with that.
There are three long pieces on Threnody for a dead Queen and the first two open the album. My favourite song Summer lies beyond is wonderfully relaxed and Spalding gets to solo here a lot and for a long time while singer Joe Cairney has a modest role just like drummer Bruce Levick (do I hear a drum computer?). More than fifteen minutes of relaxation. As already stated, the atmosphere on this album is very relaxed with many wavy and floating keyboard parts and there is not too much rock. At the end a beautiful melody is played with some bombast and another fine guitar solo.
Track number two is the more than fourteen minute long The seventh Seal and again Johnston's keys are leading with the occasional solo. In terms of rhythm, I have to get used to this song, especially during the first minutes. Cairney's voice also sounds a bit thin and distorted while he does have a pleasantly warm voice. A strange choice for me because the whole mix of this album just seems a bit less direct than last year's Time Machine. The middle part is again very beautiful with a really delicious floating solo by Spalding. Esoteric is the word that comes to mind (and that doesn't happen often I can tell you).
Then a short key dominated instrumental track follows that I will spare you the very long title of, how do they come up with them? It is nice but not more than that. In Jane (came out of the blue), another rather short song, the band is completely deployed but it is a simple song with a melody that does not appeal to me.
Then the title track, Threnody for a dead Queen, which with its more than twelve minutes is a real prog track again with everything in it. Cairney does appear late in the piece, but then we also hear a very catchy melody with a text that needs no explanation given the title. Good song with a very long intro.
Then Johnston is back on the solo path with an instrumental keyboard song. Fun but not really engaging. Also the title is tiresome or it's humour that I don't understand.
The closing Funeral Dance is also a strange piece of music with the whole band present but again no vocals. Was Joe sick? A sneeze for me.
Well, then the conclusion. I love the music of Comedy of Errors, and it stays that way and so does Threnody..... there is a lot of beautiful music. The three long songs together clock in over forty minutes of excellent music. The shorter songs are nice but don't touch me. Maybe Johnston should make a solo album and use this kind of pieces for it. I would take my time for the next album and make it a real group work again. Patience is not my strong point, but when something beautiful comes out of it, the wait is definitely worth it. Nevertheless this album will be in my top 10 of this year for sure so that is already a huge compliment but for me it is not their strongest album to date.