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Thread: We need a Fruup thread! So, here it goes!

  1. #1

    We need a Fruup thread! So, here it goes!

    Hey, I haven't seen any mention of this band for a quite long long time here around! What do you think of this band? Prime prog or second-rate band? If you're a Fruupp fan, what are your favourite albums and songs? And, last but not least, I remember some years ago I read about a possible Fruupp reunion. Do you know what happened?
    IMO, Fruupp's first two albums, especially the second one, are classic prog. However, their 3rd and 4th albums are pretty forgettable. They have a slight Genesis influence (though only during acoustic moments), but, in general, they have a quite original sound.
    Just if you wanted to know , my favourite album is Seven secrets and my favourite song is "Garden lady".

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankk View Post
    IMO, Fruupp's first two albums, especially the second one, are classic prog. However, their 3rd and 4th albums are pretty forgettable.
    My position is the exact opposite of this; I think parts of Heaven's Eyes are absolutely wonderful ("Seagull", for instance, is gorgeous close to unreal), but their swansong, Modern Masquerades, was by far the finest thing they did overall - with "Gormenghast" their defining track, IMO. That cocktail'ish slickness fit them perfectly, I think. I can hardly imagine more blatantly "out-romantic" antics in anything within the "symphonic rock" oeuvre.

    However, apart from a tune or two from the debut, I could never really appreciate the first two albums. They always came across as not only overtly náve but downright amateurish and generally immature or "unfinished" works. Sweet at what they are, but never exceeding that level - and, quite frankly, none of Fruupp's releases have aged particularly well in the first place.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  3. #3
    Member Joe F.'s Avatar
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    I have all four albums on original vinyl, and CD.

    I've always enjoyed them, but do think they are more of a second-tier band.

    My favorite is Future Legends (love the song Graveyard Epistle). The amateurish quality has always had a bit of charm for me.

    I'd rank them:

    Future Legends
    Modern Masquerades
    Seven Secrets
    Prince of Heaven's Eyes

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    My position is the exact opposite of this; I think parts of Heaven's Eyes are absolutely wonderful ("Seagull", for instance, is gorgeous close to unreal), but their swansong, Modern Masquerades, was by far the finest thing they did overall - with "Gormenghast" their defining track, IMO. That cocktail'ish slickness fit them perfectly, I think. I can hardly imagine more blatantly "out-romantic" antics in anything within the "symphonic rock" oeuvre.
    I love Modern Masquerades and would not be without my copy (which I paid a dollar for at a thrift store!). The A-side is simply stunning, and the B-side, while not on a par, is still very lovely. This is a band that got better with each successive release. Well, I admit that Seven Secrets didn’t move me like the others (and the “Leprechaun voice” on the title track is all kinds of creepy), it’s probably because they were transitioning from the more frenetic, Focus-influenced debut to a more refined folk/classical sound. I have to say that, even with the poor production and Stephen Houston’s crappy Farfisa organ everywhere, I have a soft spot for Future Legends on account of Vincent McCusker Akkerman-ing it up all over the place. It’s a bit of a shame he toned it down for future releases, but I guess that kind of guitar playing wasn’t appropriate for the sound they eventually pursued.

    But, yeah: the last two albums are where the real meat can be found.
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  5. #5
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    My position is the exact opposite of this; I think parts of Heaven's Eyes are absolutely wonderful ("Seagull", for instance, is gorgeous close to unreal), but their swansong, Modern Masquerades, was by far the finest thing they did overall - with "Gormenghast" their defining track, IMO. That cocktail'ish slickness fit them perfectly, I think. I can hardly imagine more blatantly "out-romantic" antics in anything within the "symphonic rock" oeuvre.

    However, apart from a tune or two from the debut, I could never really appreciate the first two albums.
    Pretty much my thoughts exactly. I think 'White Eyes' is a nice early track, but their 3rd album was better (particularly the opening track, 'It's All Up Now'), and 'Modern Masquerades' much better to my ears. Both 'Gormenghast' and 'Sheba's Eyes' (both written by their new keyboardist) are great, pretty easily my favorite tracks in their catalog, and there are a couple other really good tracks on the album, such as the 2nd track.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    'Gormenghast' and 'Sheba's Eyes' (both written by their new keyboardist) are great, pretty easily my favorite tracks in their catalog
    Yup, that's the guy holding the large brandy glass on the back cover, open shirt in pimpy suit - he even looks like Dudley Moore's character in '10'. Why wouldn't he be writing "drive-in makeout" harmonies for the band?

    Must listen to some Fruupp this upcoming weekend, I think. I even have a bottle of Armagnac lying around somewhere...
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  7. #7
    I have all four on CD. Need to play them in honor of this thread.

  8. #8
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    I haven't got a fave nor a lamer choice... They've all got their fair share of good tracks.

    I did a CD-r compilation out of their four albums, and that's all I need from them
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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    20 years ago or so I bought the compilation-CD "Songs For A Thought", and recently "Seven Secrets". I found the songs to be a bit drawn-out, some nice ideas scattered here and there but never building up much momentum, laced with too much padding. A pleasant enough listen, but nothing too impressive. As people here said, naive, unfinished, but not without its charm. Never heard Seagull or Gormenghast, so maybe I should give the two later albums a try.

    Favourite track (so far) is Three Spires, with its yearning vocals and guitar/string accompaniment that I find quite moving. Until the endlessly repeated chorus that closes the song outstays its welcome, that is.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by westway View Post
    Never heard Seagull or Gormenghast, so maybe I should give the two later albums a try.
    Aaarrh, it's not called "Seagull" but "Seaward Sunset" - and it's highly unusual even for Fruupp, in that it's basically performed on grand piano and with a boy's voice alone. It's part of the "concept" of the album, obviously, yet it stands perfectly well on its very own.

    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  11. #11
    I had always thought that the first 2 Fruupp albums were fan favourites, but I see I was wrong! On the contrary, all praise goes for their last 2 records. I have to listen to these again. I just remember that I listened to them 2 or 3 times and I thought their early sound had morphed into a pleasant but rather homogeneous style. But now, with your comments, I am quite intrigued. I hope I change my mind and now be able to enjoy the whole Fruupp discography.
    I admit the early Fruupp sound was kinda raw & juvenile, if you want, but I like that they tried different things and rocked out more. I find that, when they recorded Seven secrets, they were at the most adventurous moment of their career (IMHO of course). Please, check out the song "Garden lady". I can't see how someone wouldn't absolutely love that song! It has all the prog ingredients in the right place, but in an original way. Also, "Elizabeth" is extremely beautiful. To me, it's like a proggy "Eleanor Rigby" "Three Spires", as Westway mentioned, is gorgeous. It has an early Gentle Giant air.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Aaarrh, it's not called "Seagull" but "Seaward Sunset" - and it's highly unusual even for Fruupp, in that it's basically performed on grand piano and with a boy's voice alone. It's part of the "concept" of the album, obviously, yet it stands perfectly well on its very own.
    Was that Stephen Houston singing on that song? If so, impressive falsetto he has. He really does sound about 11 years old!

  13. #13
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    I'm a big Fruupp fan and I, too, strongly prefer "The Prince of Heaven's Eyes" and "Modern Masquerades." I've never understood why their first album seems to have the best reputation of the 4, though there's not really a consensus, and you can find supporters and detractors of all 4.

    If I remember the liner notes to the See For Miles 2-on-1 reissues correctly, Paul Charles, the lyricist/sleeve-designer/manager? of the band said his favorite was "The Prince of Heaven's Eyes." I also liked his description of why Stephen Houston left the band after that album as something like "After having worked so hard for 3 years, Stephen looked down and realized he was only a few steps up from the bottom of the ladder, so he might as well jump off." Houston later moved to the US and became some kind of fundamentalist preacher and released a cheesy hard-rock album or something (after I found out about this, I was disgusted enough to not find out more).

    A fan made a nice website, which has several interesting tidbits: http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/faculty/...fruuppband.htm

    Apparently they did a lot of gigging and had some record company backing: if you search for "fruupp advert" on ebay, there are many advertisements for Fruupp tours and albums from old Melody Makers. So they had their fair shot, in a way.

    Here's a recording of a live performance, complete with some graphics whose naivete might even remind you of Fruupp


  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    Was that Stephen Houston singing on that song?
    In that case he'd give that vocalist in Druid a run for his money!

    No, I can't really bring myself to believe this is Houston's voice. I've only got the Korean CD reissue of this, so I'm not able to read those tiny letters on the folder - but I suppose the original vinyl would reveal the (presumed) kid's name. Anyway, it's got a very peculiar atmosphere to it; carrying certain associations and references to both sea shanties, nurseries and wartime elegies. Actually, Fruupp were masters of "vibe", I think - there are lots of melancholy momentum and dynamic to many of their songs, somewhat disarming the often overly bombastic character of the lyrics and arrangement. Completely over-the-top, yet strangely charming even at this.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  15. #15
    I owned the original Dawn vinyl of The Prince of Heaven's Eyes and no guest musicians are credited. Mind you, it originally came with a book which was missing from my copy, though it's my understanding that this just contained the Mud story, the text of which appears in the Esoteric remaster, and contained no extra information pertinent to the recording. They were pretty bad at crediting their guest players: the string quartet that played on their first two albums was also uncredited.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

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    If you've ever wanted to hear Norah Jones sing a Fruupp lyric, here you go:


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    I strongly prefer Future Legends and Prince of Heaven's Eyes; then Modern Masquerades and lastly Seven Secrets, which I could never get into at all. although I did keep it just to have a full set.
    Loved Peter Farrelly's voice(sounds a lot like Steve Gould)and Martin Foye's drumming.

  18. #18
    Member Joe F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    I owned the original Dawn vinyl of The Prince of Heaven's Eyes and no guest musicians are credited. Mind you, it originally came with a book which was missing from my copy, though it's my understanding that this just contained the Mud story, the text of which appears in the Esoteric remaster, and contained no extra information pertinent to the recording. They were pretty bad at crediting their guest players: the string quartet that played on their first two albums was also uncredited.
    I have the book with my vinyl copy of The Prince of Heaven's Eyes, and it is indeed just the story of mud, iirc. I may need to have a look tonight to verify.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    I have to say that, even with the poor production and Stephen Houston’s crappy Farfisa organ everywhere, I have a soft spot for Future Legends on account of Vincent McCusker Akkerman-ing it up all over the place.
    Not a Farfisa, it's a Galanti, per Melody Maker, "The Fruupp File", March 9, 1974.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Calabasas_Trafalgar View Post
    I strongly prefer Future Legends and Prince of Heaven's Eyes; then Modern Masquerades and lastly Seven Secrets, which I could never get into at all. although I did keep it just to have a full set.
    Loved Peter Farrelly's voice(sounds a lot like Steve Gould)and Martin Foye's drumming.
    Farrelly’s voice always had a nice Celtic lilt to it, I find. A very pleasing voice to listen to.

    Seven Secrets is the toughest egg to crack for me as well, but I do appreciate the “baroque” sound they were going for on that one. It’s just the songs themselves I find a bit lacking, they’re a bit all over the place. “Three Spires” is simply gorgeous, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calabasas_Trafalgar View Post
    Not a Farfisa, it's a Galanti, per Melody Maker, "The Fruupp File", March 9, 1974.
    One of these then, I take it. The more you know.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by dnieper View Post
    If you've ever wanted to hear Norah Jones sing a Fruupp lyric, here you go:


    What's the official title of those dudes they use to prowl through allegedly "obscure older stuff" to get things they can freely knick?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  22. #22
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe F. View Post
    think they are more of a second-tier band.
    They were a few years late to the game.

    I'd rank them:

    Future Legends
    Modern Masquerades
    Seven Secrets
    Prince of Heaven's Eyes
    I'd reverse 3 & 4.
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  23. #23
    Hiberno-slacker SuperTed's Avatar
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    You'd think I'd have heard tracks by these guys seeing as how they're a hometown band but, no...not a thing!

    Must have a hunt for some of their stuff - thanks for the reminder, all!
    What if the Hokey Cokey really IS what it's all about?

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    Modern Masquerades and Future Legends are both really good. The other two I never really liked. Maybe I'll dust them off tonight and give 'em another spin.
    The Prog Corner

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by SuperTed View Post
    You'd think I'd have heard tracks by these guys seeing as how they're a hometown band but, no...not a thing!
    I understand they moved to London shortly after signing with Dawn to promote themselves more effectively. They probably should have just stayed in Belfast; little fish, big pool and all that, you know.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

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