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Isopoda - Acrostichon

Isopoda - Acrostichon

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Genre: progressive
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  Acrostichon
Company: Twinkle
Catalog: BGL 730108-201
Year: 1978
Country/State: Aalst, Belgium
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: includes lyric insert
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 343
Price: $80.00

Having lived in Belgium for a couple of years in the late-70s, I have a hopeless addiction for obscure Belgian bands. The little known Isopoda fits the bill perfectly.

Formed in Aalst in 1974, it's hard to believe these guys started out as a cover band ... Regardless of their roots, by the time the band recorded 1977's "Acrostichon" the line-up featured keyboardist Geert Amant, bass player Arnold De Schepper, lead singer Dirk De Schepper, drummer Marc van der Schuerren, and guitarist Walter De Berlangeer. So the good news was that all five extended tracks (the shortest clocked in at over five minutes), sported progressive-oriented melodies that retained a commercial edge. As lead singer De Schepper had a likeable voice and while the vocals were accented, his English was actually quite good ... I can think of more than a couple of American lead singers who had heavier accents. All of the musicians were competent with The downside was none of these tracks was exactly exciting. In fact, after a couple of cold Stellas, the album had a tendency to kind of blur together. And thanks to the liner notes, I can tell you the album title is Flemish for the word 'acrostic'. I'll readily admit to being clueless ... "An 'acrostic' is a poem of which usually the very first characters of some successive versus spell out the name or a clause."

"Acrostichon" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Acrostichon - 9:21
Showcasing De Schepper's fragile voice over some extremely pretty acoustic guitars, the nine minute plus title track is challenging to describe - kind of a mix of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and Fairport Convention influenced folk moves ? rating: *** stars
2.) The Muse - 7:22
'The Muse' was a bit ham-fisted in the lyric department (not that I would do any better writing in Flemish), but sported one of the album's prettier melodies. rating: *** stars
3.) Watch the Daylight Shine - 5:17
Abandoning progressive moves in favor of a more folk-ish direction, 'Watch the Daylight Shine' showcased Amant's keyboards, great acoustic guitars, and some nice harmony vocals. rating: *** stars

(side 2)
1.) Don't Do It the Easy Way - 12:05
Opening up with some martial drumming and cool Arnold De Schepper bass, 'Don't Do It the Easy Way' was another track that sounded like mash-up of Genesis influenced progressive moves and Fairport Convention-styled folk. While I liked the melody (especially around the 9:20 mark where the song picked up speed and a bit of energy), at over twelve minutes, the song would have benefited from some judicious editing. rating: *** stars
2.) Considered - 8:00
The album's most progressive oriented track stitching a bunch of different concepts into an enjoyable and almost hummable conclusion. rating: **** stars

In 1985 the French Musea label reissued the LP in CD format (catalog number FGBG 4140.AR). For some reason the reissue featured new and inferior cover art and added a bonus track - 'Male & Female' lifted from an earlier compilation of Aalst-based bands. 
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