Without Mercy (Box)

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aec.fcbx84.2 9/7/18 New
$23.79 $27.99

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Review Text Marking a further progression in the overall Durutti sound, Without Mercy both an expanded lineup and sense of what could be done with Reilly's compositions. Consisting of a two-part full-album instrumental piece, Without Mercy integrates the slight hints of classical orchestration and accompaniment from Another Setting more fully via a slew of additional players. Besides the indefatigable Mitchell on percussion and Reilly on guitar, bass, and keyboards, performers on everything from viola to cor anglais and trumpet flesh out Without Mercy's sound to newly striking heights. Reilly's work on piano sets the initial mood for the song, a sound by now as intrinsic to Durutti's approach as his guitar work, capturing both tender beauty and deep melancholy just so. Manaugh Fleming's oboe and Tim Kellet's trumpet start to step in as well as Reilly's guitar, adding in here and there as needed while the track unfolds further to another typically brilliant Reilly guitar solo. From such a striking start, the song continues to unfold over the album's full length. It's very self-consciously romantic (track and album are in fact named for Keats' noted poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci), but the combination of new and old instruments, plus the continuation of the unique Durutti sheen and shine in the recording quality, results in quietly touching heights. Blaine Reininger's viola and violin and Caroline Lavelle's cello add even more classical atmosphere, while the restraint they exercise as well as all the other performers prevent things from becoming a bloated prog-rock monstrosity. Then again, the funky horns and beats about eight minutes into the second part don't hurt either. Even at its busiest, reflection and subdued but not inactive performing are the key, with clear echoes of Erik Satie's work at many points, while Reilly is almost always, either via keyboards or his guitar, front and center. The 1998 reissue matches a slightly earlier CD version with the inclusion of the Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say EP. Also appearing are two separate, very stripped-down pieces recorded around the same time, one of which, the wonderful "All That Love and Maths Can Do," features violist John Metcalfe in his first recorded effort with Durutti. ~ Ned Raggett

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Release Date
9/7/18 

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