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Trion: Funfair Fantasy

Dutch trio take a ride back to the mid-70s.

It’s not hard to see who Trion look to for their inspiration. On the Dutch trio’s third release their influences (Trespass-era Genesis, Focus, Floyd, and Snow Goose-period Camel) are impossible to ignore, and this instrumental album demonstrates both their strengths and limitations.

Their exquisite playing and heavy use of Mellotron (from which the name Trion is partly derived, leader Edo Spanninga being a ninja on the instrument) move everything along at a pleasant pace, the emphasis on atmospherics and mood. Despite some great guitar and keyboard soloing on Floyd-like In the Distance, beautiful acoustic work in Wandering and the laid-back, slightly funky Towers, there’s little in the way of up-tempo technical pyrotechnics.

Some tunes would benefit from tighter arrangements, and a light application of the hoary ‘beginning-middle-end’ ormula, to avoid the compositional rambling that occasionally creeps in. If such a sub-genre existed, Funfair Fantasy would rank highly as an ‘easy-listening-retro-prog’ release.

As it stands, it’s ideal for anyone into jazzy and dreamy prog instrumental music whose listening tastes don’t stray much later than about 1975.