Just when I thought there were no more original concepts for an album, along comes Corbad with Corbad and his Band of Merry Men, which is an album that was inspired by BBC’s “Robin Hood” and is fully dedicated to the concept. The songs mention things like King George, Sherwood and even how Corbad aspires to be Robin Hood. I guess even more important and impressive to this interesting concept is the fact that the lead singer sounds like the musician in a Robin Hood show who is playing a lute as he walks past the king’s guard. Although a lute wasn't played on the album according to my knowledge they do play string instruments like the mandolin and the ukulele to give a distinct old English feeling to the songs (you are even presented with the chirping of a bird that I suppose emulates the Sherwood Forest). While on paper this idea may have seemed like a disaster, it is actually pretty far from it. The main reason being that the songs are well written by talented musicians and tend not feel to gimmicky. The music exudes often bright sounding strings that when combined with the singer’s baroque type voice works more than they fail.
The album starts with (wouldn't you know it) “Robin Hood” which begins with a couple of desolate strings before the singer opens with the line “I earnestly wish I were Robin Hood .” We are introduced to a nice sounding accordion that adds a pleasant contrast to the strings. The song is a bit melancholy but feels heartfelt. “King Richard Won’t Be Coming Home” is a sing-a-long type song as multiple voices harmonize to sing about arrows and love. “Gisborne” continues with vocal harmonies and string play and is followed with the slowest ballad on the album called “All I Am.”
The remaining songs are in a similar vein as they contain string patterns and arrangements that are almost interchangeable with the other songs. If anything this album has an original central theme that I don’t think most bands would attempt and tackle and it does it in a somewhat serious manner that doesn't sound contrived. I think that’s what I like most about the album is that aside from a few sour notes they did a good job at making me not think this was a total joke. In fact, the album has a number of solid songs that are quite worthwhile.
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