Cian Nugent & The Cosmos :: Born With The Caul

Just a few weeks after the release of Chris Forsyth's mind splitting Solar Motel, the world is blessed with yet another long-form guitar masterpiece -- Cian Nugent & The Cosmos' Born With The Caul. Praise the Lord.
Dublin-based Nugent has performed and recorded mainly as a Takoma School solo guitarist for the past few years (though his last album Doubles featured some more orchestrated moments), but his latest effort sees him embracing the pleasures of a full band; The Cosmos' violin, drums, keyboards and bass provide a launching pad for Nugent's joyful six-string excursions. Throwing around the adjective "perfect" is a dangerous thing, but I'll be goddamned if I can find a single thing wrong with Born With The Caul.

The album kicks off with "Grass Over My Head," a track that suggests John Fahey and The Band playing a New Orleans funeral, with mournful horns and fingerpicked acoustic guitar suddenly shifting into a beautiful double time rag. As good as that is, it's only a preview of the glories to come. First up is "Double Horse," a dreamy drone that conjures up the magnificent, oceanic swells of Fairport Convention's classic "A Sailor's Life." A powerful, transfixing ride. Then, for the length of side 2, we're treated to the massive "The Houses of Parliament," a 23-minute song suite that travels from majestic folk rock to candy-colored psychedelia to Thin Lizzy-style boogie to pulse pounding raga rave-up as though it's no big thing. It's a lengthy journey, but not one second is wasted.

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