Exposé Online banner

Crystal Jacqueline — A Prayer for the Birds
(Mega Dodo DODO35, 2019, CD / LP / DL)

by Henry Schneider, 2020-03-26:

A Prayer for the Birds Cover art

Over the past ten years Crystal Jacqueline has grown and blossomed as a singer and musician. Her latest solo album is A Prayer for the Birds, co-written with her musical and life partner Icarus Peel. A Prayer for the Birds is a rock-solid set of eleven acid folk rock songs that hearken back to the heady days of the late 60s. There is something familiar yet undefinable about the music. At times her voice reminds me of Kate Bush, but then as on “Dorsetshire Days” there is some sense of late 60s Judy Collins. And then on “First LIght” she reminds me of Sally Oldfield on Waterbearer. To augment the dreamy hypnotic tapestry of music, her voice is multi-tracked. For this album Crystal Jacqueline is joined by new backing singers Victoria Reyes and Elaine Lightfoot. In addition, Victoria plays oboe and Lizzy Wayne plays flute. Altogether they provide rich colors to the pastoral sonic palette of A Prayer for the Birds. This is music for lying in sunny flowery fields watching butterflies and birds soar in the cloudless skies, while faeries dance on the edge of perception. Though primarily A Prayer for the Birds is Crystal Jacqueline’s album, Icarus Peel and his guitar work shine through from time to time, especially on the title track and “Turn the Tide.” If you are unfamiliar with Crystal Jacqueline, A Prayer for the Birds is a great place to start exploring her world of gothic psychedelic folk.


by Jon Davis, 2020-03-26:

With each new release, Crystal Jacqueline solidifies her place as one of the prime current exponents of acid folk. But even aside from genre labels or comparisons with her other work, A Prayer for the Birds is a beautiful album full of great songs that are impeccably arranged, maintaining a consistent mood but shifting around in details in ways that make each track a discovery. The orchestrations are stunning, with acoustic guitar forming the core much of the time, but there are wonderful additions that add different flavors to the individual songs. “The Edge of My Garden” has Middle Eastern percussion and a string section that complement her singing perfectly. “Dorsetshire Days” features some lovely vocal arrangements; “100 Years Ago” has a very nice oboe part in addition to some tasty slide guitar; the kalimba on “First Light” provides an interesting contrast with Indian-flavored strings and percussion; six tracks in, “Arise the Sun” finally introduces some elements of rock for a rousing, jangling psych tune that touches on Jefferson Airplane and The Byrds; and I could go on and on. Not a one of these eleven songs is in any way a disappointment, and the album as a whole is a brilliant example of modern psychedelia. I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Filed under: New releases , 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Crystal Jacqueline (Bourne), Icarus Peel

More info
http://megadodo.bandcamp.com/album/a-prayer-for-the-birds

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Penny Arkade - Not the Freeze – In the last issue I covered the reissue of the two strange albums (Apache and Inca) credited to Maitreya Kali, who, it is now known, was Craig Smith, formerly of an obscure LA psych band called Penny...  (2006) » Read more

Caamora - Journey's End... An Acoustic Anthology – To recap: Caamora is the musical partnership of Clive Nolan (Arena, Pendragon, Strangers on a Train, etc.) and Polish singer Agnieszka Swita. Last year they recorded an original musical theatre score...  (2009) » Read more

Landberk - Jag Är Tiden – Landberk had also released an LP only version of Lonely Land called Riktigt Akta, which was basically a Swedish version minus the T2 cover. This three-song EP is the same idea (from One Man Tell's...  (1995) » Read more

Orbit Service - Twilight – Here we are adrift in a sea of melancholy. Or maybe a better metaphor would be floating in orbit. There are lots of nice textures and rich sounds on this recording, the Denver band’s second, and...  (2005) » Read more

Tristan Park - A Place Inside – Simple song structures, basic harmonic progressions, and weak lyrical content place this release squarely in the dangerously-close-to-cheesy neo-prog category. The music can't seem to decide if...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues