Kite Parade, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter Andy Foster, follow-up the critically acclaimed ‘The Way Home’, released in 2022, with second album ‘Retro’. The new release features six brand news songs, continuing from its predecessor with emphasis on melodies and big choruses, drawing influences from bands such as Frost*, It Bites and Genesis. Once again, guest drummers Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train) and Joe Crabtree contribute and all the mastering and mixing duties are supplied by Rob Aubrey (Big Big Train, IQ).
Majoring on Andy’s love of all things ‘Prog, Rock and interesting Pop’, this new album is a must for lovers of the power pop tinged progressive rock celebrated by the likes of John Mitchell and Jem Godfrey with superb songwriting and shed loads of delicious guitar riffs and licks and heavenly vocal harmonies. The high energy, pulsating punch of opening track Retro hits you right where it hurts but the melodies are always there to provide beauty along with the brawn. Power prog? pop rock? I have no idea, it’s just bloody entertaining and leads you firing on all cylinders to Speed Of Light, a dynamic, hard-edged and even harder rocking track that has a dark underbelly but still returns with a fabulously catchy chorus, Andy’s music is seriously addictive, let me tell you that!
Let’s just kick back a bit and take the foot off the accelerator with the passionate sentiment of the Pete Smith penned semi-ballad Wonderful. The fervour and intensity of the vocals match the dazzling charm of the music to deliver a song that has heart and soul and puts a huge grin on your face with its anthemic feel. That warmth inside continues with wistfully nostalgic opening to the glorious Shadows Fall where you really feel Andy playing on his inner It Bites (circa ‘Once Around The World’, if I’m being precise!). This sumptuous track reminds me of hazy summer days and a longing for times gone by. A stylishly complex piece of music but one that always wears its heart on its sleeve, the elegant saxophone that winds its way around is just genius and the harmonious vocals deliver a proper welling up of emotion.
Legendary progressive musician Steve Thorne contributed the lyrics for the final two tracks and you can see a slight difference on the darkly delicious Under The Same Sun which opens with a seductive guitar riff and pointed vocals. Fractious and recalcitrant until another fantastic chorus is delivered, there is a restive energy running throughout this addictive and up-tempo song and that is shown to perfection by Daz Atkinson’s fiery guitar solo. The end of album album epic Merry-Go-Round finishes things off in mighty fine style, although Andy says you’ll have to ask Steve Thorne for the definitive meaning behind the song! A fine example of symphonic, power-prog, this elegant, at times haunting, fourteen and half minutes of music ebbs and flows magnificently. The music builds patiently, drawing the listener into its comforting embrace along with the impassioned, heartfelt vocals, Jessica Chambers superb backing vocals especially worthy of note. There’s an unruffled pride to the song, the music is superbly intricate and leading you on a willing journey into the subterranean depths where time seems to stand still. The hushed stasis is broken by a dawning of light, an impish feel engendered by the music and the vocals brighter and more powerful and a lighter feeling atmosphere. What a stunning way to close out the album.
In ‘Retro’, Kite Parade have given us a stylish addition to the ranks of pop tinged power prog, a sublime collection of perfectly crafted songs that should be a must for any fan of melodic prog and a release that puts a smile on your face and , in this day and age, we could all do with a dose of that, couldn’t we?
Released 7th April, 2023.
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