Cobalt Chapel - Cobalt Chapel album review

Spectral psych folk debut from I Monster/Matt Berry & The Maypoles duo

cover art for Cobalt Chapel's cobalt chapel

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The pairing of Jarrod Gosling and Cecilia Fage might not be the most convenient musical union, separated as they are by a three-hour drive down the M1, but it’s clearly a winning one. Gosling will be familiar to prog lovers as one half of Sheffield dreamtronica outfit I Monster (as well as for his work with Regal Worm, Henry Fool and Skywatchers), while London singer Fage, who’s also an actress, filmmaker and ace clarinettist, has been a mainstay of The Maypoles, Matt Berry’s backing band, since the off (and she’s on the sleeve too, heavily pregnant with twins).

As Cobalt Chapel, the duo dispense with guitars and synths completely, electing instead to base these witchy songs around Gosling’s collection of vintage organs and the choral beauty of Fage’s vocals. It harks back to a golden age of weirdy folk prog, evoking the filmic reveries of Trees and Mellow Candle, or the outré imaginings of Judy Henske & Jerry Yester’s great Farewell Aldebaran. Ultimately, it’s marked by a very English otherness, from their gorgeous interpretation of John Tavener’s The Lamb to the seductive pastorale of Fruit Falls From The Apple Tree and the processional quirks that quicken the heart of Who Are The Strange. A rare delight from top to toe.

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.