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The Fable's multi-genre music brings the First World War in a nutshell

Updated: Nov 10, 2019

The Fable - The Imperial Plan - 2016

Written by Chris Watson and edited by Sara Vian, April 2019

Mike Isaacs’ project portrays the history of the First World War with music, song and spoken word. It is dedicated to Harry Patch, the last fighting soldier who passed away in 2009 and to all those who "paid the price" for the Imperial Plan of Conquest, which ended in the ruination of Europe and sowed the seeds for more useless loss of life in the Second World War.

The first track, "Imperial Plan", is almost a progressive rock track complete with soaring guitar solo and reminiscent of Pink Floyd with haunting saxophone and war-time sound effects. This then morphs into an eclectic collection of styles which evolve into a sort of musical, working its way through the timeline of the war, beginning with the lament of "The Spark" and then the darkly entertaining “Alliance Waltz", weaving a plethora of musical genres from each country embroiled in the war with a monologue nutshell of events.

It is reminiscent of Mike Oldfield, which I find strangely entertaining and very nicely done. We move into the sixties with "Devil May Care" and then back to the twenties with the sound of washboards before moving into a sort of thematic rock in the form of "Passchendaele", which harbours another epic guitar solo before the psychedelic "Coming Home" and folk finale "In Memoriam" to Harry Patch, complete with evocative whistling.

Altogether, an intriguing eclectic collection of styles and songs which tend to grow on you and obviously meant a lot to Mike himself, who wrote the songs and music. He also played guitar, some keyboard and vocals throughout.

It is a well produced album and if you don't want to wade through volumes of complex history about a war that should not be forgotten for its madness alone, then in the era of short attention spans this a good and entertaining way to learn something.

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