Review – EBB – The Management of Consequences

The EP, ‘The Management of Consequences’ is, in some ways, a companion piece to the album ‘Mad & Killing Time,’ in that, it deals with and resolves many of the issues raised in that album. If ‘Mad & Killing Time ‘was a comment on the human condition, ‘The Management of Consequences’ is a more personal examination of the same. Having only three tracks, although the first track is split into 3movements, it is a more compact expression.

The EP is dedicated to SagitariusA*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy which is referenced to throughout the work. The gist being: that the human condition and indeed, any condition, all find terminal irrelevance on a cosmic scale.

So says the press release for EBB’s latest EP…

When I got an email asking if I’d be interested in reviewing the new EP from the mad but refreshingly brilliant and different EBB, the answer was always going to be a resounding yes! I had nearly missed the previous product of their irreverent genius, ‘Mad & Killing Time’ and didn’t want that to come back and haunt me again. This collective create music that is subtly different from even the most left-field stuff that you will hear, cleverly constructed but with a flippant, iconoclastic, devil-may-care attitude that clearly resonates with their fans and they are gaining more admirers every time they take to the stage at the many festivals they play.

This new EP, dedicated to the cosmos and supermassive black holes, is another brilliant creation and please, if you can, buy the CD with its superb booklet and narrative, I’ll not leave any more spoilers but, trust me, its worth the money and that’s without the music!

What you get here is three tracks that make up just over eighteen minutes of scintillating, dynamic music that definitely has a smile on its face and wears its hat at a jaunty angle. The musicianship is second to none, seventies prog influenced keys, Hammond organ and the like combine with funky psychedelic guitars and a rhythm section born to groove with the best of them, Bootsy Collins eat your heart out, these girls (and guy) have it all!

The three part, in your face, intricate brilliance of Silent Saviour demands your attention like a punch to the solar plexus with it’s almost theatrical drama and musical complexity. And don’t get me started on the vocals, that’s what drew me to this band in the first place, I just love them. Just in case you thought there may be some normality we get what sounds like a sea shanty/folk outro at the end of the track, utterly brilliant! Cost & Consequence takes a more Canterbury scene approach to things but beefed up to the max. If 70’s progressive rock had joined forces with some of the more excessive rock of the time (and maybe some illegal substances) then I’m sure this is what it would have sounded like. It is attention grabbing music but EBB have the necessary chops to back it all up, which they prove time and time again in a live setting. The EP closes way too early with the incendiary Nieu, an in your face, frantic four minutes of pure musical genius. The guitar and keys hit you with an addictive, demented riff and the drums and bass feel hewn from granite, add in the darkly delicious vocals and you have something utterly, and wickedly, addictive. Damn, this is all over way too quick so you just have to go back and press play again!

The incredibly entertaining EBB have returned with another brilliant piece of musical flair, ingenuity and imagination and are cementing their place at the top of an incredibly diverse musical scene that exists today. ‘The Management of Consequences’ is another indicator of what this highly original band are capable of and I, for one, can’t wait to see what comes next, it’s as near to a must buy as you can get!

Released January 4th, 2024.

Order the CD from bandcamp here:

The Management of Consequences | Ebb (

Watch the band live at the Summer’s End festival in Chepstow, October 2023:

Review – Regna – Cinema – by John Wenlock-Smith

I can’t recall exactly where I came across Regna, a progressive rock outfit from Barcelona in Spain. However, I do recall that whatever I saw piqued my interest enough to warrant some further investigation with a view to reviewing the album, ‘Cinema’, and hopefully being of assistance in heightening the band’s profile amongst prog fans looking for some good quality material to listen to.

This album was released on the 22nd of December 2023 so narrowly managed to avoid eligibility for my end of year listing. It’s possibly not the best time to release your debut album when the world is on the cusp of Christmas celebrations, no worries though as we here at Progradar are always open to hearing new music like this rather interesting release.

The album has just six tracks, including one epic of some twenty minutes plus duration. The album followed an earlier release of the ‘Meridian’ E.P. that emerged in the summer of 2015 and introduced the world to their somewhat unique style and sound through is four tracks. The E.P. ad a theme of alienation and abandonment, this theme was carried through the four separate movements of the EP.

This new album declares itself to be a musical arch of two hemispheres and, whilst not exactly a concept album, there are recurring themes and common threads, such as fear and loneliness and the need for an emotional shelter. So this is not exactly easy listening as such, rather it is a voyage of discovery for the listener. The album is beautifully presented in a lush and solid digipak sleeve with a thick and well defined booklet containing all the lyrics and the credits for the album, the inner sleeve shows a row of empty cinema seats, hence the album’s title of ‘Cinema’.

The album begins with Opening Credits, an instrumental track performed mainly on Hammond organ, although there are some arpeggio guitar lines and chords played. This leads into Return to… , the first vocal track and one that is sung in English, even if the phrasing is a little different in places. It certainly sets out the band’s stall sound wise, i.e. heavy organ imbued with great melodic guitar lines in parts and latterly synth pieces. This is a very organic sounding album that could have come from earliest days of prog, it sounds that convincing. In fact, I would offer to suggest that Uriah Heep were an influence, aong with Italian prog bands of the time. Spyglass opens with more arpeggio guitar before acoustic chords are played. This song has great dynamics, especially when the organ re-emerges like an old friend, a single guitar notes adding to the tension of the song and to the dynamics. I really like this track as it is very clever and builds well in intensity. With good synth lines dotted over the strong beat, this one is a winner to these ears.

Tangent is next, and is nothing to do with Andy Tillison and his group of the same name, apart from both like complicated time signatures and rhythms, as are on offer here. Strong bass work powers this track along, it’s always good to hear solid bass as very often it can get overlooked next to the guitar and keyboards. Here the bass is keenly felt, inventive and central to all that is going on as it really does provide an anchorage from with the other musicians can truly fly. This track has some excellent rippling piano lines in its latter stages and also a guitar line that echoes the vocals, it really adds to the great dynamics of the track, making it another standout for me. After the short, immersive interlude of Dramatis Personae, the longest track Accolade follows and opens with a very Greenslade vibe and sound to it, although it majors on guitar. The song flows through its sections in a carefree manner, the organ is really gripping and exciting to hear as it storms away in conjunction with some bass parts. This track certainly impresses, especially in the long instrumental section in the middle of the track, an undoubtedly fine musical segment that really showcases all the bands skills and talents, along with their influences before it comes to a close on sustained chords.

‘Cinema’ is a most interesting album of exquisite sounds and textures and a great representation and platform for Regna and the talents of singer Marc Illa, guitarists Alejandro Domínguez and Xavier Martínez, keyboard player Miquel González, bassist Arturo García and drummer Eric Lavado.

Be aware that you will need to listen intently to really appreciate the music but the effort is most definitely worth the investment. Fans of 70’s prog from America, Germany and Italy will find familiarisation threads to follow in the music, highly recommended.

Released 22nd December, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

Cinema | Regna (

Single Review – Sunday At Six – It’s Funny How The Time Flies By

Mark Whiteside seems to have the midas touch in that everything he does musically is utterly fantastic. The man who gave us the wondrous One Sided Horse project, Desks and the incredibly sublime The Opening Song (and who also drums for Evil Blizzard!) returns again, with some pretty impressive guests, to give us his new project Sunday At Six.

The first fruit of this new project is the single It’s Funny How The Time Flies By and joining this prolific musician is Mickey Dale of Embrace fame who, as well as producing and mastering, plays keyboards, Phillip Vietch from Ship’s Cat supplies soundscape guitars and the legendary Peter Coyle of The Lotus Eaters provides the glorious vocals. Mark humbly tells me that all he does is write the song and play acoustic guitar…

Music, to me, must mean something, there has to be a reason any song is created and not just to get additional plays on Spotify or just to be the most popular song that listeners want to hear on the radio (do people actually listen to the radio any more?). I love music that moves me, takes me to another place and leaves an indelible mark on me and all the music that Mark writes has that effect.

The ethereal keys and spacial guitars just add a beatific air to the music on It’s Funny How The Time Flies By, it’s music that feeds the soul with its lush soundscapes and Peter Coyle’s vocals are just dreamlike in their delivery and intangible beauty. Mickey Dale’s ability to deliver the perfect sound from the keyboards is uncanny and Phil’s guitars are spine-tingling in their rarefied grace, making the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Mark is like the conductor here, his acoustic guitar elegantly directing proceedings but it is how this all comes together as an exquisite whole that makes it so wonderful.

The song is set for digital release soon and there will be more news about his exciting project in the coming months but, to my ears, this could well be the best thing that Mark has created and, with his monumental back catalogue, that is really saying something!

You can catch Mark playing live as One Side Horse on Saturday, 6th March at The Vault in Hexham, ticket details here:

One Sided Horse – The Vault (

Peter Coyle is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the The Lotus Eaters‘ album ‘No Sense Of Sin’ and you can see it performed live, in its entirety, at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, ticket link here:

See Tickets – Peter Coyle ‘No Sense Of Sin’ Tickets | Wednesday, 31 Jan 2024 at 7:00 PM

The Lunar Effect lift up cosmic spirits with “Sounds of Green and Blue” Album, out 12th April via Svart Records

Listen to first single ‘Killing Daisies’ 

The Lunar Effect, sonic architects known for their gravitational pull of fuzzy, snarling riffs and psychedelic visions, proudly announce the release of their latest album, “Sounds of Green and Blue,” available to pre-order now through Svart Records. “Sounds of Green and Blue” is a galactic journey through sound that showcases The Lunar Effect’s evolution and marks a pivotal chapter in their musical odyssey.

Formed in 2016, The Lunar Effect burst onto the scene with a distinct blend of grunge and retro hard rock. With a flair for hair and a penchant for barbed and growling riff work, the London-based quartet quickly garnered attention for their dynamic sound and Blues rock reverence. In 2019, they crash-landed onto the Stoner Rock scene with their debut album, “Calm Before the Calm,” firmly establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

“Sounds of Green and Blue” sees The Lunar Effect expanding their sonic scope and bending all the elements and eras of Classic Rock into their own unique mold. The album is a testament to their musical growth and willingness to explore new territories while maintaining the brooding vintage sound that defines them. Each track is propelled into orbit by the low-end buzz of distorted chords, powerful enough to blow the moon-dust off your amp.

The first single from the album, “Pulling Daisies,” is a bristling sojourn that encapsulates the band’s celestial rock influences. The track combines classic Blues tones, fuzzy guitars, swirling ethereal vocals, and a dusty, hypnotic rhythm that transports listeners from the past into a screaming, paisley, future wonderland. “Pulling Daisies” sets the controls for the heart of the moon, showcasing The Lunar Effect’s ability to craft immersive and soul side musical experiences. From the heyday of The Beatles, Floyd, Zeppelin and Sabbath to newer artists like Graveyard, Radio Moscow and Red FangThe Lunar Effect have created a masterclass in Psychedelic Rock that takes you firmly by the collar. With a palette that also includes shades of the 90s Grunge scene like Nirvana and Soundgarden into their heady mix, The Lunar Effect paint their own trippy world, where genres blur into their unique brew of heart-felt space rock. 

Listen to “Pulling Daisies” from “Sounds of Green and Blue” on and bathe yourself in the glow of The Lunar Effect‘s sonic moon-burn here:

And here:

The Lunar Effect – Pulling Daisies (

“Sounds of Green and Blue” by The Lunar Effect is proudly released by Svart Records on 12th April, a label known for its commitment to uncovering high-quality, diverse, and boundary-pushing music. Svart Records continues to be a platform for artists who defy conventions, push the boundaries of their respective genres, and break out of the underground.

Pre-order The Lunar Effect: Sounds of Green and Blue LP/CD –


1. Ocean Queen

2. Flowers For Teeth

3. Colour My World

4. In Grey

5. Middle Of The End

6. Pulling Daisies

7. I Can’t Say

8. Fear Before The Fall

9. On The Story Goes

WHOM GODS DESTROY – Reveal details for debut album “Insanium” and start pre-order

First single/video “In The Name Of War” out today!

Whom Gods Destroy, the formidable new progressive metal group formed by keyboardist Derek Sherinian, guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, and vocalist Dino Jelusick, along with the potent rhythm section of bassist Yas Nomura and drummer Bruno Valverde, are pleased to announce their debut album “Insanium”, to be released on March 15th, 2024 worldwide via InsideOutMusic.

As a first appetizer for “Insanium”, Whom Gods Destroy are launching the first single and opening track off their upcoming debut album today. Check out the dynamic track “In The Name Of War” in a video directed by Vicente Cordero / Industrialism Films and edited by Vojan Koceić / PILOTstudio here:

Whom Gods Destroy guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal commented about “In The Name Of War” as follows: “Derek, Dino and I began writing this song in 2020, it was the first song we wrote together. This song captures a lot of what the band is about, it’s a good example of what to expect from the album. The song gets pretty intense when the band kicks in, an unexpected contrast, the music tells the story alongside the lyrics – the Eastern scale melody in the chorus followed by the ‘war drum’ pattern, the bridge feeling like it’s heading toward something, an urgency…”

 Here is the complete tracklisting for the upcoming album, which comes with artwork by Nello Dell’Omo (To be seen above!):

Whom Gods Destroy – “Insanium” (52:56)

1. In the Name Of War (06:38) 

2. Over Again (05:01) 

3. The Decision (07:08)4. Crawl (06:36)

5. Find My Way Back (05:46) 

6. Crucifier (04:43)

7. Keeper of the Gate (04:54)

8. Hypernova 158 (03:24) 

9. Insanium (08:37)


Whom Gods Destroy’s “Insanium” album will become available as Standard CD Jewelcase, Digital Album, Ltd. 2CD Mediabook (with the bonus track “Requiem” (04:58) as well as the entire album as bonus instrumental disc) and as Gatefold 2LP & LP-Booklet on 180g. vinyl in the following variants:
– Black 2LP

– Dark Green 2LP (Ltd. 500x copies from & various other retailers)

– Custard Colored 2LP (Ltd. 1000x copies at all US outlets) 

The album’s pre-order in its various formats has started today here: 

Further updates on Whom Gods Destroy and “Insanium” coming soon…

Whom Gods Destroy line-up:
Bruno Valverde – Drums

Yas Nomura – Bass

Dino Jelusick – Vocals

Derek Sherinian – Keyboards

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – Guitars

sleepmakeswaves Announce New Album ‘It’s Here, But I Have No Names For It’ 

Tour dates for Australia, Europe & USA

Australian instrumental post-rockers sleepmakeswaves have announced they will tour Australia, Europe and the USA in support of their new album ‘It’s Here, But I Have No Names For It.’

The band have also released an animated video trailer to announce the new album and its planned release date of Friday 12th April (Bird’s Robe/MGM and Dunk Records).

Watch the trailer now:

The band will kick off their world tour in Australia in April, playing shows in Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane with support from Taiwanese math rock legends ELEPHANT GYM and fellow Australian post-rock veterans MENISCUS.

sleepmakeswaves will then return to Europe in May to headline Belgium’s Dunk Festival, and North America to co-headline PostFest in Indianapolis in July. Further shows will be added.

The new album ‘It’s Here, But I Have No Names For It’ was produced by the band themselves, at Golden Retriever Studios in Sydney, Australia. Written during the pandemic, it was originally recorded during 2022 just before the band embarked on a 3 month tour for their previous EP trilogy ‘these are not your dreams.’ Further recording was completed in 2023, including string arrangements by Simeon Bartholomew (SEIMS). The record was then mixed by Andrei Eremin (Closure in Moscow, Tash Sultana, G Flip, Luca Brasi) in Philadelphia USA and mastered by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless Mastering in Boston USA.

 Fans of the band’s heavy bombastic aggression will resonate with tracks such as ‘All Hail Skull’ and ‘Ritual Control.’ They also shine with invigorated melodic and emotive performances and arrangements on tracks like ‘Black Paradise’ and ‘Terror Future.’ Retaining their signature approach to heavy dynamics and crescendos the band are still at their unmatched peak when they turn their hand to cataclysmic emotional epics such as the title track and the album closer ‘This Close Forever.’

The band released a statement to fans, saying:

“The instrumental band sleepmakeswaves

Decided rock music they must save

In the year twenty twenty four

Fans were clamouring for more

So they dropped a new record

It’s a rave!

The mysterious phase of nothingness, crucial to the smw creative process, is over: our new album is finally done. Thank you so much to all our listeners for your patience. It has been a slow but intense labor of love and we are proud of the songs on this record, and grateful for the many people who helped bring it to life. Hope to see you on the road in 2024, more show announcements to come, and we truly hope the new music we’re about to release resonates with you in the same way it does with us. 

Love smw”

Pre-order now –

sleepmakeswaves Australian tour 2024

w/Elephant Gym (Taiwan) & Meniscus

Fri 26 April – Max Watts, Melbourne VIC

Sat 27 April – Manning Bar, Sydney NSW

Sun 28 April – The Triffid, Brisbane QLD

+ more to be announced

Presented by Bird’s Robe & Cult Artists

Tickets on sale from & venue websites

sleepmakeswaves UK/EU tour 2024

Sat 11 May – Dunk Festival, Zottegem BELGIUM

+ more to be announced

sleepmakeswaves USA tour 2024

25-27 July – PostFest, Indianapolis INDIANA

+ more to be announced

‘It’s Here, But I Have No Names For It’ is out Friday 12 April through Bird’s Robe/MGM and Dunk Records

Check out more at

Review – Geof Whitely Project – Curse of the darkness

“The Geof Whitely Project was formed in 2011, it consists of Geof Whitely and special guest Musicians, the aim of the project is to put out original material in all types of musical formats from Prog Rock-Rock-Pop-Electronic-Instrumental. All albums will contain a mix of such musical songs, theres surely one that will appeal to everyone.”

Prolific: producing a great number or amount of something..’

The Geof Whitely Project, or Arny Wheatley, (he is the one man project after all!) have a new album out and I have been lucky enough to hear this album before it’s release on 5th January, 2024. Arny is a one man musical creating machine and prolific is a word that describes him to a tee, having released thirty studio albums since he started.

The formula of a Geof Whitely Project, and the ethos, is if it ain’t broken then don’t fix it. He never strays too far from what has been a successful format for him, although there does tend to be a little something extra or slightly different with each release. That is definitely true of his latest album ‘Curse of the darkness’, although the striking cover is something that has become a definite norm. The sound has always been majorly keyboard oriented with swathes of lush sound coming from the synthesiser but I feel that the guitar has taken more of the centre stage on this album and it is played with a lot of skill and dexterity.

Arny has one of those voices that never changes and it shouldn’t as his delivery is precise and very melodic and, basically, I like it a lot. There’s a laid back feel to much of the music, engendered by his mellifluous vocals and those ever so stylish and lush keys, especially when the piano comes in to give some added class and kudos. An elegant rhythm section of bass and drums drives everything on with a breezy precision to give a really immersive atmosphere to the music.

The album is one of those that is best consumed as a whole, you need to sit back with time on your hands to relax and enjoy the album as a total experience rather than picking out tracks here and there which now seems to be the accepted way to listen to music. That makes me shudder, I’ve listened to music for over fifty years and I have always enjoyed it when I can concentrate and be fully involved in an album as a musical journey and an accompaniment to life, or even a getaway sometimes!

‘Curse of the darkness’ is full of superb tracks and it is hard to pick out highlights, opener The Reckoning, smouldering title track Curse of the darkness (with some superb guitar work) and the upbeat Under burning skies (more echoing guitar) all showcase Arny’s prodigious talents but then so do the elegant Supernatural casualty and the album closer Slight of hand with it’s ever so cool 80’s feel. To be fair, there are no duff tracks on the album but you need to have a listen and make your mind up for yourself.

So, the Geof Whitely Project and ‘Curse of the darkness’, is it just more of the same? I think, with this album, Arny has stretched himself even more and it shows. There’s real musical nous on show and his songwriting is as good as ever, if not better and the guitar playing in parts is just stellar. This man can be as prolific as he likes when it keeps on being as good as this!

Released 5th January, 2024.

Order from bandcamp here:

“CURSE OF THE DARKNESS” (album) | Geof Whitely Project (

Steve Hackett launches ‘Wherever You Are’; second track taken from ‘The Circus and the Nighwhale’

Legendary rock guitarist Steve Hackett is set to release his new studio album ‘The Circus And The Nightwhale’ on 16th February 2024, via InsideOut Music. A rite-of-passage concept album with a young character called Travla at the centre of it, ‘The Circus And The Nightwhale’s’ 13 tracks have an autobiographical angle for the musician who says about his 30th solo release: “I love this album. It says the things I’ve been wanting to say for a very long time.”

Today a brand new track is revealed, titled ‘Wherever You Are’, and you can watch the video now here:

Of the track, Steve comments: “’Wherever You Are’ is a song of love winning through, shattering the chains of the physical world… Light obliterating darkness. A new universe has opened up with the hope that such a strong love could even survive death. The dreams of childhood realised, there is a sense of everything coming around full circle… Even the three part harmony guitar at the end of Genesis’ The Musical Box is revisited in spirit with the joy of celebration during this song.”

The albums opening track ‘People of the Smoke’ was released in December. Watch the video here:

The new album is available to pre-order on several different formats, including a Limited CD+Blu-ray mediabook (including 5.1 Surround Sound & 24bit high resolution stereo mixes), Standard CD Jewelcase, Gatefold 180g Vinyl LP & as Digital Album. All feature the stunning cover painting by Denise Marsh. Pre-order now here:

Steve will celebrate the release of his new album with two HMV instore events in London & Birmingham, where he will be taking part in a Q&A and signing albums. Find out more details on those here:

‘The Circus And The Nightwhale’ is Steve’s first new music in over two years. Recorded between tours in 2022 and 2023 at Siren studio in the UK – with guest parts beamed in from Sweden, Austria, the US, Azerbaijan and Denmark.   The line-up for ‘The Circus And The Nightwhale’ includes some familiar faces alongside Steve on electric and acoustic guitars, 12-string, mandolin, harmonica, percussion, bass and vocals. Roger King (keyboards, programming and orchestral arrangements), Rob Townsend (sax), Jonas Reingold (bass), Nad Sylvan (vocals), Craig Blundell (drums) and Amanda Lehmann on vocals. Nick D’Virgilio and Hugo Degenhardt return as guests on the drumstool, engineer extraordinaire Benedict Fenner appears on keyboards and Malik Mansurov is back with the tar. Finally, Steve’s brother John Hackett is present once more on flute.

The full track-listing is as follows:

1. People Of The Smoke

2. These Passing Clouds

3. Taking You Down

4. Found And Lost

5. Enter The Ring

6. Get Me Out!

7. Ghost Moon and Living Love

8. Circo Inferno

9. Breakout

10. All At Sea

11. Into The Nightwhale 

12. Wherever You Are

13. White Dove

Summing up ‘The Circus And The Nightwhale’, Steve says: “It’s a lovely journey that starts dirty, scratchy and smoky and becomes heavenly and divine. How can you resist it?”

Steve Hackett & band will tour the world extensively in 2024, including a brand new 16-date UK tour ‘Genesis Greats, Lamb Highlights & Solo’, in October which will see him return to the legendary Royal Albert Hall. He will also return to North America early this year, with European shows booked in for the Summer.  For the full list of dates, head to:

Review – Looped Squares – s/t – by John Wenlock-Smith

Was there something in the water last year? There seemed to be a resurgence of progressive fusion arriving at various points of the year, from the utterly exceptional ‘Quadrivium’ album from Nick Fletcher and the extremely promising debut of Tribe3 to the excellent Z Machine and their ‘Merging Worlds’ opus. There was definitely someone going on and when this first album from Looped Squares emerged online then the die was cast as this is a bold, fresh and satisfying first album that mixes progressive elements with jazzy fusion in an utterly immersive manner.

Looped Squares hail from Germany and came to be when four individuals who were working at Thomann (A large German music store) bonded over their shared love of prog and fusion elements and began working together on what would become this very versatile collection of songs. It is all fully instrumental in nature with each musician offering a solid platform where they could all shine in their own right. The music is extremely tight and proficient with a great sense of melody and spacing. A lot of the tracks have lots of keyboards, synths and organ and, to a lesser extent, piano holding it all together and their name comes from a computer shortcut when programming keyboards!

The album reminds me very much of 1990’s GRP Records output from the like of Dave GrusinLarry Carlton and the like, which is not a bad thing by any means, it gives a reference point for the sound of the album really. The band comprise of four members; Dave Mola who plays the guitars, Jan Essantam, who provides keyboards throughout and the rhythm section of Adrian Sardi on bass and Frank Tinge on the drums. Together these four make a formidable sound, very hard hitting but also fully able to handle the intricacies the music requires with grace and style.

The album consists of eight tracks, each running around the five to six minute mark so nothing overstay it’s welcome by any means. There is a fair amount of unison playing with the guitar and keyboards copying each others lines, this is especially so on Aquafied Spheres, which also has a strong bass presence to it, along with some very fluid guitar soloing. Cactus Recovery is a standout for me as it has a great running bass line that echoes and drives the track along most pleasingly, this one sizzles with rhythmic delight. In addition the track features some really atmospheric organ parts along with a fiery guitar break. Add in some fine fretless bass lines and it really makes a strong impression to these ears. It is very satisfying to hear a new group really making a mark and when the heavy riffing guitar section begins you are captivated by the dynamics the group have and use to really commanding effect making it definitely the albums standout track for me. Elfendertigste is another strong track with great piano and synth sound to it, more fretless bass and a thunderous drum beat, again most impressive indeed. Title song Looped Squares is a funky, brisk sliver of virtuosity played extremely proficiently with a great groove and soaring synths amongst the overall sound. The track gains in intensity half way in before a surging guitar line take the track to it conclusion.

New Life is a lot calmer although it still has that stunning fretless bass. Delicate piano lines tinkle before an emotionally laden guitar line plays over everything. It is all rather beautifully delivered and you find it hard to believe this is their debut such is both the strength of the material and also the confidence of the delivery, it’s remarkable really and all very excellent sounding. Rockdown is played in a similar vein with more fine bass and some fiery guitar amidst the strong keyboard performances. Tall Order brings the album to a more restrained close, full of growling bass, great piano and more fiery guitar lines, all carried by the sturdiness of the rhythm section who deliver in real style throughout the whole album. The great funky bass and electric piano make this track another strong showcase for this excellent band who really play with intelligence and a hell of a lot of skill.

That’s it, a wonderful, if short, album that, sadly, is only available as a download at the moment but fusion fans will find much to salivate over here. You must have a listen for yourself and see if you agree with me about this extremely good release that is hopefully just the start of many more great things to come for Looped Squares.

Released 8th December, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

Looped Squares | Looped Squares (

Review – Clive Mitten – Tales from a Misspent Youth – Volume II – by John Wenlock-Smith

Clive Mitten is, I guess you could say, what was called back in the day (pre internet age) eccentric raised in a musical family. Clive only discovered rock music at his boarding school. He was originally taught an appreciation and understanding of classical music forms and structures from his Grandmother. He then later graduated to being a bass player in Twelth Night and these days spends his time deconstructing and reconstructing progressive rock classics alongside transcribing old musical scores for the modern age. Clive definitely walks his own path these days, and that is good for all of us as he has turned his gaze to some of progressive rock’s finest moments and created stunning takes and remakes on the likes of King CrimsonYesGenesis, ELP and Rush, among others, with this remarkable 2 disc album.

Clive performs everything you will hear in what has been a very labour intensive task. Most of these tracks will be very familiar to most listeners but what you will notice afresh is the sheer brilliance and beauty of these pieces that Clive conveys and I’m sure you will gain a freshly found appreciation for these old songs. There are no vocals and everything is handled in an orchestral manner, so no wild guitars or the like. In addition, familiar passages are recorded with different instruments taking centre stage so, for example, ELP’s Fanfare For The Common Man has a very layered sound and the throbbing bass of Greg Lake is replaced by a strident piano, with the synths also being replaced by the piano. Yet, even so, the piece does not entirely lose its power, it is just a little more restrained in tone. Yes, you may miss some of the synths but it is still fully recognisable, albeit in an altered form. I actually really like what Clive has done here, it is a bold reinterpretation of a very well known track, it is also abridged from its more familiar nine-plus minutes running time. The drums may be a tad pedestrian in places but it still passes muster, as does the Genesis segment that pulls together the main themes from Watcher of The SkiesFountain Of Salmalcis, The Musical Box and Firth of Fifth together into a rather fine medley, especially the final Firth of Fifth section which is utterly sublime and highlights just how utterly graceful and gorgeous the original piece truly was. I’m sure a certain Mr Anthony Banks would approve of this very graceful and sensitive working. Purists might, I guess, take issue with the version of Firth of Fifth as it relies on orchestrations rather than the one we all know and love, the guitar solo being taken by other instruments yet, once again, within that remains the highly recognisable melody line. Again, I feel his version definitely has merit and allows for a fresh appreciation of the original track.

I think any Progressive Rock fan will find these takes interesting as they show these pieces in a different light and that is a very good thing. Okay, you miss certain little thing like the parts and power chords that Alex Lifeson plays on Cygnus X1 but does it really matter? I think not as when Rush played it live, it was always  different from the recorded version. This version highlights just what incredible interaction and harmony Rush had at the time and just how much they were pushing their own boundaries, okay the drums aren’t in the Neil Peart realm, but they work well with the track as it is. The link between Cygnus X1 Books I and II is interesting and totally new but is in the same spirit as the original versions. Overall this sequence works well as, again, the brilliance of the original is clear to see.

The 21st Century Schizoid Man/Starless combo really makes an impression with the piano playing the main riff and marimba also plays a striking part in the complex rhythms. The original’s almost atonal discordant sound is realised here by the use of these other instruments and their tones, especially in the part that was covered by the guitar. Although the majority of that section is overshadowed by the switch to the Starless melody, with the fabulous guitar line being covered by brass instruments. This really makes a different sound to the original version, a double bass also covering the bass lines with style and grace. I really love this version of what for me is King Crimson’s finest moment.

The albums other songs covered include Close To The Edge by Yes which is also  extremely well done, as is Tarkus (again by ELP), Marillion’s Garden Party/Grendel IQ’s Widows Peak and Refugees from Van der Graaf Generator.

Taken together this album does a wonderful task of fresh revisitations of some truly classic pieces. It is a complete labour of love and a show of total commitment to making an interesting and intelligent re-reading of the seminal tracks.

Released 10th November, 2023.

Order here:

Clive Mitten: Tales From A Misspent Youth – Volume II » Twelfth Night