PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE - SOUNDTRACK (DANDELION 1969) Japanese edition cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus MP3/Flac

Principal Edwards Magic Theatre's first album (not an actual soundtrack; "Soundtrack" was just the title) was a fitfully inspired but exasperating of-its-time affair. The sprawling troupe, with more than ten musicians contributing to the record, was at its best when doing a form of British folk-rock with a wistful quasi-medieval air. That's best heard on the epic 13-minute "The Death of Don Quixote," and also on "Sacrifice," and "Enigmatic Insomniac Machine." To drag in an obscure reference, at times they sound like a far more folk-oriented counterpart to the early-'70s British art rock band Julian's Treatment, another band with a haunting, female lead singer who made much of dramatic tunes with a faintly theatrical, fantastical, storytelling spin. However, the multi-sectioned, winding tunes require patience to sit through, and the mood is sometimes shot by the band's periodic shifts into lumpy blues-rock. Had the group been centered around Vivienne McAuliffe's strong quasi-Renaissance balladry vocals (and occasional Shakespearean narration) and their folkier material, they'd be a worthy footnote in British folk-rock. But both their songwriting and approach were too inconsistent for that, and when McAuliffe steps aside in favor of male vocals, the singing's far less memorable.[allmusic]