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When Mary - Tainted album review

Trude Eidtang keeps the smooth prog flag flying

When White Willow dared to steer away from the symphonic prog genre in 2006 with Signal To Noise in favour of a more pop-friendly and modern sound, to say that not all their fans were thrilled would be quite an understatement. Their then recently recruited vocalist Trude Eidtang became their primary target and by the time the band returned four years later, she’d been let go. A decade later, she’s sticking to her guns with the second album for her solo project, said to be inspired by both the tale of Faust and Franz Schubert’s Gretchen am Spinnrade – hence its scattered lyrics in German. Musically, it’s inspired by trip-hop, classical music and even blues, even if sometimes it’s hard to detect a trace of that. Unsurprisingly, Tainted is a platform for her vocal performance, and although clearly using Kate Bush as a role model, she’s in a class of her own. But if Tainted has a fault, it’s that musically it tries too hard to please. Mostly electronic-fuelled and often slick, they don’t shy from the stylings of the flashy 80s, tracks such as Are You Really Sleeping revelling in smooth‑sounding progressive pop.