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Dodson and Fogg - Tales from the Hidden Village

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 9 / 2 / 2018

Dodson and Fogg - Tales from the Hidden Village
Label: Wisdom Twin Records
Format: CD


Second album in 2017 from Leeds-based Chris Wade under his Dodson and Fogg alias finds him still discovering fresh ways to present his unique prog/folk/psych to the world

Strange old business this music thing. Elsewhere in this issue there’s a piece about Chris Wade’s (aka Dodson & Fogg) new film, ‘Seven Days in Never’ in which Wade states that he is finally beginning to see a few similarities to Marc Bolan in his work as Dodson & Fogg. Here’s the thing - the latest album from Wade under his Dodson & Fogg alter ego is the least Bolan influenced album heard so far under this banner. There are still traces of Bolan-boogie as in the instrumental ‘Take a Trip’ but with each album Wade releases his own unique blend of folk/prog topped with psychedelic flourishes comes more to the fore. Wade has been releasing albums as Dodson & Fogg for five years now and ‘Tales from the Hidden Village’ takes the count up to over a dozen, which doesn’t even include EPs and outtake collections. Wade would be forgiven if the quality of his music had dropped even slightly during that time. That’s an incredible amount of music to put out, especially considering that he appears to be utilising the services of other musicians less and less. On this latest collection Wade is responsible for every sound, including some of his best guitar performances to date and Wade is still one of the most underrated guitarists of his generation. It could be argued that ‘Tales from the Hidden Village’ follows the same path (apologies for that obvious reference to his previous album) as his other albums; the opening cut, ‘You’re Killing Us All’, opens with the sound of an air raid siren before morphing into a heavy riff-laden rock track, Wade’s trademark lead guitar just screaming for the listener to turn the volume up to eleven. Even Wade’s usual dream-like vocals have a tougher edge to them, it’s not the first time we’ve heard Wade in this mode but it’s one of the most impressive of his heavier tracks. As the song ends with explosions and the siren fades the listener is left wondering if Wade has abandoned his more gentle, spacey songs to finally make the heavy metal album that we feel is just bursting to get out someday. But in typical Wade fashion the multi-instrumentalist follows this track with ‘Are You Conscious?’, one of his most affecting acoustic ballads to date. Those dreamy, lazy summer day vocals are back; his acoustic guitar playing is, as always, stunning, and the gentle melody is captivating. Another Wade winner. While Wade has never been afraid to push boundaries with his music and has covered so much ground on each of his albums and, it has to said, every time he releases a new set of songs we are tempted to label it as his best to date, once again he’s taken his original template and while not for a second losing sight of his many inspirations or his roots this album still has an identity of its own that sets it apart from all that has gone before. Wade is quietly yet definitely moving his music forward in such a subtle way that each new album sounds fresh, and while all Dodson & Fogg albums are obviously the work of the same musician there’s always something new to discover about Wade and his music with every new album he releases. There are a few instrumentals on ‘Tales from the Hidden Village’. Two are taken from and share the title of his latest film, ‘Seven Days in Never’. Both work well away from the film allowing Wade the space to experiment a little more than he has on previous albums perhaps. The haunting quality of ‘Seven Days In Never (Part 2)’ makes that cut the more interesting of the instrumentals. Far from being just part of a soundtrack to fill up space this instrumental ranks as one of Wade’s finest pieces of work. ‘You Make Your Own Blues’ is Wade displaying that he can cut it with other styles than we are more accustomed to hearing from him, the guitar solo again reaffirms just how versatile this man is on guitar. Wade has nothing to prove anymore. He’s paid his dues and more and this song alone is confirmation of that. Overall this album leans slightly towards the gentler, acoustic side of Wade’s work although when he does rock out it appears to be with a little more ferocity than before. ‘Tales from the Hidden Village’ then, not just another Dodson & Fogg album but another step forward for our hardest-working, most inspiring and still grossly underrated multi-instrumentalist.

Track Listing:-
1 You're Killing Us All
2 Are You Conscious?
3 You Just Look The Other Way
4 I Don't Mind You Coming Round
5 Try Any Time
6 Seven Days In Never (Part 1)
7 You Make Your Own Blues
8 Take A Trip
9 Dressed For The Night
10 Seven Days In Never (Part 2)
11 Look At The Beggar

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Dodson and Fogg - Interview
Chris Wade speaks about his work as Dodson & Fogg, working with actors for his latest project, maintaining a breakneck work rate and why he’s putting the Dodson & Fogg name on hold
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