Review – Thumpermonkey – Make Me Young, etc. – by James R. Turner

‘Make Me Young, etc.’ is Thumpermonkey’s  first full length release for a while, the elusive and eclectic quartet announced their musical return last year with the stonking ‘Electricity EP’ (check out the review at the link at the end) and since then they have performed a barnstorming set at this years Eppyfest in Cheltenham (where their unique brand of music went down a storm), mixing their older material and new stuff created a vibrant and room rocking kind of set.

I mention Eppyfest because it was all thanks to Ian Fairholm that I saw them back in 2014 in Stroud, where their inventive and complex musical prowess, their emotive and powerful set and their sheer innate musicianship drew me in. Off I strolled at the end of the day with the two CDs on offer, 2010’s ‘We Bake Our Bread Beneath her Holy Fire’ and 2012’s ‘Sleep Furiously’.

Both albums are as eclectic and eccentric as the band are live and I am fully aware that the kind of sonic origami that Thumpermonkey creates is very much a marmite sound, you either love it and enjoy them or it passes you by. That is fine, not everyone likes the same thing, and I wouldn’t expect you to change your mind only 200 words into this review.

However, as a reviewer who gets quite a lot of stuff sent to me from various places to listen to, I would rather receive one album like this than half a dozen generic middle of the road, let’s make an album that sounds like 1974 Yes or 1976 Genesis because we’re prog and it’s what we do, if I want Yes circa ’74, I will go put ‘Relayer’ on.

This isn’t the sort of record that you can put on in the background. Very much like their live show, Thumpermonkey request you pay attention, and from the get-go, the opening salvo of Veldt, they grab the attention, and pull you right in.

The overriding theme of the album is an impending apocalypse (in this instance based around an asteroid hitting the planet), which, based on the way things are going in the wider world, may not be far off the mark, particularly when we seem to have world leaders who think that Threads was a manifesto and not a warning.

This flows throughout the music here, and the four piece manage to create some truly expansive widescreen sounds, with the beautiful interlude of Buttersun fitting between two wonderfully intense pieces of music, Figstorm and the intense and brooding Deckchair for Your Ghost.

The way the Michael Woodman’s vocals soar and glide through the music is a joy to behold, and they are treated as much as an instrument as his powerful guitar work, mix in Rael Jones fluid keyboard and guitar work, add the drumming powerhouse that is Ben Wren (who can flit between the soft and the heavy at the drop of a (hi) hat) and Sam Warren’s bass, that is as much of a lead instrument as Woodman’s guitar, then you have one of the most inventive musical quartets around at the moment, fitting into that area of music that is occupied by bands like Knifeworld or The Fierce and the DeadThumpermonkey are very much their own musical genre.

The title track builds and climbs to it’s crescendo, where the mantra ‘Take this useless sadness and throw it away’ acts not just as the climactic coda, but also an instruction, a life hack if you will, something that resonates with you long after the song has faded.

They mix widescreen cinemascope sounds, with big riffs, piano sound to die for, and an overarching concept that never feels forced or shoehorned into.

Very much like the best films and plays, the narrative drives and unfolds across these 7 tracks and it is an album that rewards, nay demands, repeat listening (luckily, I’ve been enjoying it on the commute to work through my headphones, so I am there, immersed in their world and sound).

This year has seen a strong bunch of albums from artists like Regal Worm or The Tangent, who have looked at musical boundaries and decided to ignore all of them, and this is one of those albums.

It sounds like nothing else out there, other than Thumpermonkey, and it’s a sign of how right this album is that now, as us reviewers are starting to think arbitrarily about those pesky ‘best of’ lists that people like so much, that I can say for a fact that Thumpermonkey, with the ‘Make me Young, etc’ have released one of the best albums of 2018, and it was well worth the wait.

Released 26th October 2018

Order the album from bandcamp here

Artwork and photography by Ashley Jones.

Read James’ review of the ‘Electricity’ EP here:

Review – Thumpermonkey – Electricity – by James R Turner

 

Steve Hackett Announces Release of New Studio Album – At The Edge of Light

Following the tremendous success of 2017’s The Night Siren (charted at #22 in Germany, #28 in the UK), legendary former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett announces the release of his new studio album At The Edge Of Light on the 25th January 2019. The album which features ten songs, sees Steve unite a vast amount of styles ranging from guitar driven rock to epic orchestration, from world music to the reflective and atmospheric all brought together in Steve Hackett’s unique style.

Steve says: “In these dangerous times, deep shadows feel even sharper than usual and we find ourselves standing at the edge of light… The contrast between dark and light weaves its way throughout the album in many ways, from the sense of good fighting evil through to the interplay of dark and light opposites magically combining in cultures, including the heartbeat of India and primal tribal rhythms. Ultimately, this album embraces the need for all musical forms and cultures to connect and celebrate the wonder of unity in this divided world.”

At The Edge Of Light is released in a number of formats including a Mediabook CD plus extra DVD with 5.1 surround sound mix & behind the scenes documentary, double vinyl LP + CD, Jewel case CD and digital album.

Steve Hackett has established himself as one of Rock music’s finest and recognisable guitarists through his time with the legendary Genesis who he joined in 1971 and a solo career following his departure from Genesis in 1977 and is a hugely influential guitarist particularly in the Progressive Rock genre. At The Edge Of Light will be Hackett’s 26th studio album in a solo career that began in 1975 with the release of his debut solo album Voyage Of The Acolyte.

At The Edge Of Light was mainly recorded in Steve’s own studio but also around the world. The album features international artists, including Durga and Loreley of Pink Floyd vocal fame with drummers Nick D’Virgilio and Simon Phillips from USA, Sheema on sitar from India, Icelandic drummer/percussionist Gulli Briem, tar player Malik Mansurov and Swedish bass player Jonas Reingold… This album also features Paul Stillwell on didgeridoo, Rob Townsend on sax, bass clarinet and duduk, Amanda Lehmann on vocals, John Hackett on flute, drummer Gary O’Toole, Roger King and Ben Fenner on keyboards, Dick Driver on double bass, violinist and viola player Christine Townsend… All magically honed and engineered by Roger King.

Tracklist:
1. Fallen Walls And Pedestals
2. Beasts In Our Time
3. Under The Eye Of The Sun
4. Underground Railroad
5. Those Golden Wings
6. Shadow And Flame
7. Hungry Years
8. Descent
9. Conflict
10. Peace

The album is released shortly before Steve performs as special guest on the Cruise To The Edge in February 2019 and the On The Blue cruise featuring Justin Hayward, also in February.

Hackett recently played a series of Genesis Revisited shows with Orchestra and will perform two UK dates with acoustic sets in early December before touring Europe in April/May 2019 and has just announced a UK tour in November 2019 with a much anticipated “Selling England By The Pound & Spectral Mornings & Album Highlights” set.

NOVEMBER 2019 UK TOUR DATES

 

Sat 02                   Aylesbury Waterside
Sun 03                  Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall
Tue 05                  Sheffield City Hall
Wed 06                Cambridge Corn Exchange
Fri 08                    Leicester De Montfort Hall
Sat 09                   Cardiff St. David’s Hall
Mon 11                Liverpool Philharmonic
Tue 12                  Brighton Dome
Wed 13                Portsmouth Guildhall
Fri 15                    Salisbury City Hall
Sat 16                   Reading Hexagon
Mon 18                Birmingham Symphony Hall
Tue 19                  York Barbican
Wed 20                Bath Forum
Fri 22                    Halifax Victoria Theatre
Sat 23                  Gateshead The Sage
Mon 25                Edinburgh Usher Hall
Tue 26                  Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Wed 27                Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Fri 29                    London Hammersmith Eventim Apollo
 
Tickets available from https://myticket.co.uk/ and venue box offices.
Press photo by Tina Korhonen

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF ANNOUNCE NEW LIVE DATES IN EUROPE & THE UK FOR FEBRUARY & MARCH 2019

The Pineapple Thief have just returned from the first leg of their Dissolution tour where they enthralled audiences across Europe and the UK. Including many sold out shows and their biggest show to date at London’s prestigious O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The band are now ready to announce new dates for 2019.

Frontman Bruce Soord states “Our first Dissolution tour went so well, and we had such a great time so we’ve decided to do it again. This time visiting some of the cities we couldn’t make the first time around. I know there are a lot of people disappointed we are not coming to their neck of the woods, but we hear you all and are definitely working on it!”

The Pineapple Thief will once again be joined by now full-time member Gavin Harrison on all dates.

21.02 Firenze (Italy) – Viper

22.02 Roma (Italy) – Largo Venue

23-02 Milano (Italy) – Santeria Social Club 

24.02 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z7

26.02 Stuttgart (Germany) – LKA – Longhorn

27.02 Frankfurt (Germany) – Batschkapp

28.02 Strasburg (France) – La Laiterie

1.03 Zoetermeer (Holland) – Boerderij

2.03 Hamburg (Germany) – Grosse Freiheit 36

3.03 Copenhagen (Denmark) – Lille Vega

5.03 Stockholm (Sweden) – Nalen

6.03 Oslo (Norway) – John Dee

20.03 Newcastle (UK) – O2 Academy

21.03 Glasgow (UK) – Saint Luke’s

22.03 Manchester (UK) – The Ritz

23.03 Birmingham (UK) – The O2 Institute 2

24.03 Bristol (UK) – The Fleece

Support to be announced

Tickets on sale now – http://www.pineapplethief.com/

The Pineapple Thief are:

Bruce Soord – vocalist, guitarist, composer

Gavin Harrison – drums

Jon Sykes – bass

Steve Kitch – keyboards

 

Review – Tiger Moth Tales – Storytellers Part Two – by Leo Trimming

The mercurial Pete Jones seems to have an exhaustible supply of musical ideas at present. Fresh after playing with Camel on a triumphant tour of Europe ending at the Royal Albert Hall, and not long after his last fine Tiger Moth Tales album ‘The Depths of Winter’, Peter Jones returns with the second instalment of his Story Tellers project.  Based on Fairy tales and Children’s stories this is an album of pure whimsy and diverse, entertaining music. Listeners need to check in their more cynical tendencies at the door if they enter this world – this is definitely for the young, and for the young at heart. However, do not be deceived – this is not a collection of simplistic childish nursery rhymes. Pete Jones has skillfully framed these tales in a range of musical styles, intuitively threading elements of pathos, comedy and adventure through the songs.

The opening song Best Friend feels like the opening of a Fairy Tale book with gentle piano notes giving way to some orchestration and Renaissance style acoustic guitars. The catchy, positive lyrics tell of close friends in Jones’ lovely baritone, one of the finest voices in modern progressive rock music. A Hackett-esque guitar line and tinkling keys interlude segues us from this sunlit world into different territory both narratively and musically in Kai’s Journey. Chiming guitars and a tripping, dancing synth evokes the journey perfectly in musical form. An eerie almost jazzy cornet from long time friend and collaborator, Mark Wardle, presages chilling vocoder effects of a sinister snow queen, voiced rather maniacally by Pete’s usually lovely wife Kim! This is an atmospheric and evocative rock instrumental, and the influence of Steve Hackett (one of Pete Jones all time heroes) is strong on this piece, and that is a GOOD thing – indeed, there are distinct echoes of Hackett’s own exploration of children’s tales in his own classic Please Don’t Touch throughout this album.

The delightful diversity of this album is most borne on the next two songs, both masterpieces of whimsical musical imagination in their own very different ways. Toad of Toad Hall is a playful, infectious tune which bounces along mischievously as Jones’ keyboards skips joyfully and eccentrically through this musical vignette. This song also demonstrates Peter Jones’ great ability to sing and talk in distinctive character voices, and his inimitable puckish laugh is absolutely perfect for the character of  Toad of Toad Hall – this is just great fun. In contrast, not a word is spoken in the much more sedate Hundred Acre Wood, but so much is said in different ways. A lovely ambling clarinet tune over gentle piano keys simply conjures up the image of Winnie Pooh and his friends walking in Hundred Acre Wood by instruments alone – close your eyes and you are there.

Eternity takes the album in a very different direction as Peter Jones duets on a lush ballad with his old singing partner Emma Friend whose own lovely voice complements the Mothster’s perfectly… but then he throws in a short soaring guitar solo midway through the song as the duo take flight vocally. I always felt that the fate of The Boy Who Cried Wolf was rather cruel, and it seems Peter Jones agrees as he has produced a rather sombre take on his rather dramatic tale. This more ambitious song admittedly took more time to grow on me as it is not as immediate as some of the other tracks. He uses a range of guitar tones to convey the story, moving from the fear of the wolf attack through to anguish and finally a rather mournful conclusion.

‘Story Tellers part one’ featured the comical A Kid’s Tale, which is surpassed on this instalment with the comic masterpiece of Three Little Pigs, starting with some humourous ‘false starts’. The consistently funny and witty lyrics genuinely made me laugh out loud at one point… and how often can you say that about an album! Played in intentionally childlike or music hall style this song brims with humour and funny voices – kids would love it… I certainly did!

The ghosts of Trick of the Tail / Wind and Wuthering era haunt the instrumental epic of The Palace as Hackett-like guitars  and Tony Banks-like keys thread right through the piece like a stick of Genesis Rock. Peter Jones makes no secret of his love for any era of Genesis, and the influence that legendary band has on his more ‘Prog’ like offerings is there for everyone to hear, and for many that is why they love his material. For such listeners this will be a highlight on the album and Jones’ skills as a fine guitarist and keyboard player pulls it off with aplomb. After such drama Jones soothes us with a touching tale of the Match Girl over a simple piano backing and a melancholic melodica. This song particularly show cases Peter Jones’ lovely voice, emotively singing this poignant tale.

The story book closes with swelling orchestration and electric guitar solo as The Mothster and Emma Friend briefly reprise Best Friends. You can almost see the credits rolling like the end of some Disney-esque animation… and that’s not said in a sneering manner – Disney have done some great adaptations of Fairy Tales!

This album is a real step up from ‘Story Tellers Part One’, which has not been quite as popular or as revered as other Tiger Moth Tales releases. It had some highlights such as the title song and A Kids Tale, but the rapidity in which it was recorded (there was a challenge to make an album in one month!) did mean it seemed to lack some of the depth and quality associated with his other fine albums. To be fair it was always meant as a more lightweight offering. In this second instalment there is still the sense spontaneity that Jones is looking for in this type of project, but he does it more successfully and subtly on this occasion.

‘Story Tellers Part Two’ is an entertaining album, and it does exactly what it says on the tin – it tells stories wonderfully well.  There’s laughs, tears and adventure… all played with skill and touch in a great range of different musical styles. Categorizing it is impossible, to be honest – it’s not deep or symbolic, just great fun.

If you’ve got young kids or grandchildren then get it and play them some of it (especially Three Little Pigs)… or if you feel like a kid yourself and you just need some escapism just play it to yourself –it may help you live Happily Ever After!

Released 18th October 2018

Order the album from bandcamp here

Dublin-based prog-metallers Sectile are proud to announce the launch of their new single ‘The Hunt’.

Soaring over a variety of soundscapes in just under 5 minutes, The Hunt paves the way for Sectile’s refreshed and contemporary approach to their music. The new single will undoubtedly surprise many listeners, showing Sectile’s ability to craft a unique wall of sound out of their various influences, from the classics all the way to post and prog metal.

Lyrically, The Hunt talks about isolation, despair and the feeling of being hunted by your past mistakes. The sensation is further enhanced by the single’s original artwork, created by the band’s singer Gabriel Gaba, as well as the nightmarish video, Sectile’s first, entirely produced by the band themselves.

Mixed and mastered by Irish producer Aidan Cunningham (Bailer; Overhead, the
Albatross; LNT) The Hunt was recorded in the band’s home studio, with the exception of the drums, helmed by Michael Richards at Trackmix Studio.

Almost a year separates their debut EP to the launch of The Hunt. Sectile feel now, more than ever, ready to rise higher and bring their music to wider audiences in Ireland and abroad.

Sectile are:
Gabriel Gaba – Vocals
Mark O’Reilly – Guitar
Michael Sheridan – Guitar
Cormac Hennigan – Bass
Zachary Newman – Drums

Review – Sleeperman – Cheddar Baguette – by Progradar

Those perfect proponents of incisive social comment coated with a liberal dose of whimsical nostalgia, Sleeperman, return with September’s single (okay, I know, check the date but life gets in the way you know!), the imaginatively titled Cheddar Baguette.

Damn, these guys are good, this gentle meandering track really does get hold of you heart with its sepia tinged memories. Neil’s elegant guitar has just the right touch of thoughtful longing and the harmonised chorus is a delight.

“You had on your green canvas jeans and you were eating a cheddar baguette, I was wearing suede boots and a beret, they’re are things we’d all rather forget, but straight from the off we had things in common, you’re Dad drove a Ford Escort and so did mine…”

There’s only Sleeperman that can turn such simple lyrics into something so moving. This song is a sentimental daydream down memory lane and, for those of us of a certain age, a love song that will surely touch an emotional chord.

“I fell for you, I’ve fallen for for, I’ll fall for you as long as I breathe air…”

Utterly wonderful and, for me, the best single yet!

This time, the ‘B’ side is an, erm, alternative version…

Available from all the usual digital suspects and retro CD from the band contactable at their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/sleepermanband/

 

Review – Kalin Tonev – Machine Years – by Progradar

I love a powerful instrumental album but they have to work harder than your normal release due to there being no words to elucidate the songwriter’s thoughts and ideas.

The best ones are chock full of brilliant instrumental phases and phrases and tend to not let each track follow the same musical path.

Hailing from Sofia, Bulgaria, Kalin Tonev was previously known as the heart and the leader/composer/keyboardist of the prog rock project TravelHouse. Tonev released just a single album (‘Mind Mapping’– 2008) under this moniker, but it gained some favorable reviews in the main prog rock sites. Kalin began working on his debut solo effort, ‘Machine Years’, spanning the whole gamut of prog signatures.

Spread over thirteen tracks and covering sixty-five minutes, ‘Machine Years’ is a thoroughly involving musical experience. Massively injected with the classic 70’s lines, modern electronic scapes with occasional dark and heavy riffs, it is a theatrical journey awash with catchy melodies and intelligent moments intertwined with a more industrial, dystopian edge in places.

Kalin’s signature synth sound is dynamic and edgy with a real feel to it and he is joined on this impressively involving soundscape by three talented guitarists, Nenko Milev, Daniel Eliseev and Biser Ivanov. Their frenetic, energetic and compelling playing adds force and vigour to an already compelling mix.

There are moments of wonderful clarity when Kalin’s vintage keyboards soar to the heavens and these are countered by the somber, skittish feel when the music takes a more chaotic route. It’s a record full of memorable tunes but the highlights for me are Short Story About TanksBeingsMad DancerNews From Nowhere and the hypnotic This Empty Space.

Complex industrial, instrumental progressive rock with a lush and thoughful side, ‘Machine Years’ is an impressive debut and should see this talented musician really forge a name for himself.

Released 27th January 2017

Order the album from bandcamp here

 

 

Review – Jet Black Sea – The Overview Effect – by James R Turner

As I am sure you can imagine here at Turner House of Prog in North Somerset, and indeed at Progradar Towers up in Yorkshire, we get a multitude of albums that cross our desks and into our ears. Some from established artists who we know and love, others from bands that I’ve not heard of (Martin seems to know every band in existence!) and I generally get some nudged in my direction as Martin reckons I will like them.

Until getting this three track album in my inbox I was woefully unaware of who Jet Black Sea are and am happy to be able to rectify that here.

The talented chaps behind this atmospheric album are Michel Simons and Adrian Jones (from Nine Stones Close) and this is their third release following 2013’s debut ‘The Path of Least Existence’ and 2017’s ‘Absorption Lines’.

There are only three tracks on this album, although the albums centrepiece, the majestic title track clocks in at an impressive 35 minutes. Framed by two beautifully haunting songs, first up, the sublime opening Escape Velocity which mixes ambient soundscapes and yearning cellos and strings, building slowly with a sublime laid back sound and some soulful guitar, this hits the spot from the opening chords.

With a wonderful slow build and blend of organic and electronic, it really kicks in after two minutes with a driving pulsating riff that sees the guitar and drums duelling before the excellent vocals, courtesy of Jones’ Nine Stones Close bandmate Adrian O’Shaughnessy, begin.

Bold, epic and showing an artist not afraid to push their musical boundaries, this album’s title track The Overview Effect, ebbs and flows, builds and climbs, crossing multiple genres and sounds, from ambient soundscapes to works that would nestle in any record collection alongside No-Man or even Mike Oldfield. I am reminded of Mike’s early 90’s ambient electronica albums, like ‘Songs of Distant Earth’, in approach if not sound.

The two musicians here, Simons and Jones, are immensely talented individuals and they bounce ideas off each other to create a vast, beautiful and all encompassing sound, one that is the musical equivalent of a big hug, and this is the sort of music that the album format was invented for. Big, and yet surprisingly intimate, not afraid to push big ideas in a beautiful way. The track builds and builds, with some sublime vocals from O’Shaughnessy, whilst the musicians weave intricate musical webs that pull you in and keep you hooked.

After the almighty brilliance of the title track, the album ends on Home (E.D.L) which is probably one of the most beautiful things I have heard on record this year. The piano, the vocals, and guest performer Christian Bruin on drums, all come together to create something sublime, a genuine piece of heart wrenching beauty with a solo so spine tingling that it out-Gilmour’s David Gilmour with its soulful beauty, man you could just weep at the sheer emotional beauty of it all. You know when a song just gets it so right it transcends perfection? This is it, this is what beauty sounds like.

As my colleague over at Bad Elephant, David Elliott, says, ‘This is proper’ and he is not wrong, this is one of those albums that hits you out of leftfield, comes into your life with nary a fanfare and subtly reminds you with great big bursts of sonic prowess why you love doing this job. It’s an album that never outstays it’s welcome and is everything that a great album should be.

Thank you, Martin, for introducing me to Jet Black Sea, and thank you Adrian and Michel, this album is a pleasure to listen to, and a treasure to keep…. now where’s your Bandcamp page again, and where did I put my bank card…. if anyone needs me I’ll be absorbing the Jet Black Sea back catalogue!

Released 20th September 2018

Order the album from bandcamp here

 

JO QUAIL SHARES NEW TRACK ‘MANDREL CANTUS’

Internationally acclaimed composer and virtuoso cellist Jo Quail, who is currently on tour across Europe with Mono and A Storm of Light has shared a new track from her upcoming album ‘Exsolve’. Recorded with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios (Electric Wizard, Primordial, Witchsorrow, Conan), the album will be released on 2nd November. Listen to the radio edit of new track ‘Mandrel Cantus’ here:

Mandrel Cantus Video Edit

Commenting on the track Jo adds, ‘Mandrel Cantus is a track that’s been evolving over a long period of time, and continues to morph each time I perform it live. I started with abstract percussion, in fact I I built a whole new armoury of sounds for this track, and these themselves helped inform the direction of the music as I continue/ed to work on it.  

It’s impossible to talk about your own music without sounding pretentious… I wanted to make a pathway through the percussive labyrinth that resolves and opens powerfully in a physical sense, but dissolves to leave just the spiritual essence of the whole music with the modal C cantus at the end. I’m doing things I’ve never done before in terms of how my loop station is set up, and the sound modelling too, and as such I’m really excited every time I play this track, though it’s a potential minefield to navigate!’

Since commencing her solo career in 2010, Jo has released three albums, three EPs and a live DVD. Following her 2015 European tour with post-rock giants Caspian Jo has embedded herself in the world of left-field and heavy music, whilst continuing to perform within the contemporary and avant-garde spheres. Not only did she open for black-metal artist Myrkur but Jo joined her on stage as part of her Folkesange project as well as collaborating with the likes of A-Sun Amissa, Mono’s Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto, Eraldo Bernocchi and FM Einheit  (Einsturzende Neubauten). Jo has performed several concerts of her works arranged for electric cello, orchestral ensembles and choirs both at home in the UK, in Europe and in Australia where she tours on a yearly basis.

Festival performances this year include ArcTanGent, WGT, Dunk! and Tramlines Festival, and two separate concerts at the invitation of Robert Smith for his curation of the Southbank’s Meltdown Festival.

“Exsolve’ is comprised of 3 tracks, with each one being broken down in to sections and movements across 45 minutes. Mastered by James Griffiths, himself a film composer, there is an almost symphonic quality to the album.

‘Exsolve’ is a snapshot in time of these 3 pieces and with every live performance Jo looks to develop them further. As Jo concludes, ‘For me, the final record is usually only the starting point of the journey and over time and with each performance the music will morph and be reshaped – composing and performing is a collaborative process between me, the space and the audience’.

Tracklisting:
1) Forge – Of Two Forms
2) Mandrel Cantus
3) Causleen’s Wheel
Pre-order the album now – https://joquail.bandcamp.com
A vinyl version of the album with an additional track will follow early next year.
Jo Quail is currently on tour with Mono and A Storm of Light to support the release followed by another tour with Myrkur in December.
European tour w/ Mono & A Storm of Light
10 Oct: Wiesbaden, DE, Schlachtof
11 Oct: Aarau, CH, Kiff
12 Oct: Lyon, FR, CCO
13 Oct: Barcelona, ES, Aloud Music Festival
14 Oct: Toulouse, FR, Le Rex
15 Oct: Bordeaux, FR, Krakatoa
16 Oct: Orleans, FR, Astrolabe
17 Oct: Heerlen, NL, Nieuwe Nor
18 Oct: Oberhausen, DE, Drucklufthaus
19 Oct: Leeuwarden, NL, Into The Void
20 Oct: Athens, GR, Fuzz Club
22 Oct: St. Petersburg, RU, Zal
23 Oct: Moscow, RU, Zil
European tour w/ Myrkur
03 Dec: SE Stockholm, Vasateatern04/12 – NO Oslo, John Dee
05 Dec: SE Gothenburg, Pustervik
07 Dec: DK Aarhus, Voxhall
08 Dec: DK Copenhagen, Pumpehuset
10 Dec: PL Poznan, U Bazyla
11 Dec: PL Krakow, Kwadrat
13 Dec: HU Budapest, Durer Kert
14 Dec: AT Vienna, Arena
16 Dec: NL Tilburg, 013 KZ
18 Dec UK London, The Dome
19 Dec: UK Bristol, The Fleece
20 Dec: UK Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
21 Dec UK Glasgow, The Great Eastern
22 Dec: – UK Manchester, Gorilla

Review – The Tangent – Proxy – by Progradar

2018 has been a rather excellent year for new music. It seems like no sooner has one great album come along then another arrives into the inbox at Progradar Towers. Music of all sorts of genres and description but the overriding feeling I have got this year is that there is joy back in music. The majority of new releases I’m hearing have enforced my faith in the restorative abilities of music and the fact that music can simply put a smile on your face and make the world a happier place to be in.

The latest album to get me buzzing and happy to get out of bed on a wet and miserable October morning is the new release, and 10th studio release, from progressive rock stalwarts The Tangent:

“Entitled “Proxy” it’s a single CD and Vinyl – a riot of juxtopposing styles, presented in a really direct manner and despite being firmly rooted in the stylistic traits of the Progressive Rock Genre takes some unexpected turnoffs and a major swerve.

Recorded during the band’s tour with Karmakanic in 2017/18 – there were more chances than normal to work together on the record – hotel writing sessions, van discussions, soundcheck ideas – all of which have allowed the band to make an album that is organic and as close to being that band, as has happened to the group of far flung members since they began their career 15 years ago.”

Thank you press release, main man Andy Tillison goes on to say, “I often think of good progressive albums as being like the Bayeux Tapestry, an account of the times the band lives in, using all the history that got us to that point, commenting on the Now with the experience of the past.”

Andy agreed with me that ‘Proxy’ is a lighter album than ‘The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery’, the band’s previous studio release but it does start with the obligatory protest song, title track Proxy. A track about the continuing wars that share their name with the song. The Tangent have always brought politics into progressive rock and this song carries on that connection, Prog always being born from counterculture. It’s a complete prog reference journey with Tillison’s swirling hammonds and synths, Jonas Reingold’s signature punchy bass, Steve Roberts’ dynamic drums and Luke Machin’s stylistic guitar work. Take yourself on a sisteen minute nostalgic road trip punctuated by the ever so elegant sax and flute of Theo Travis, this is what the band have always been good at, delivering a potent message with lashings of fantastic music to ease it home. The guitar and vocal motif at the end puts a particularly large smile on my face, tipping a nod to the 70’s in the process, The Tangent are back!

Now the album takes a wander over into left-field territory with the jazz-fusion instrumental The Melting Andalusian Skies, a piece of music as laid back as they come, sit back, enjoy the warm, sunny feel and let the ever so smooth sounds flow over you. Luke and Andy trade guitar and synth like the best jazz pros and Theo gives the whole shebang the necessary chuzpah. Luke throws in some Gordon Giltrap guitar and even acid jazz to give a psychedelic overtone, this is music for the hell of it, these guys are having a seriously good time, it’s patently obvious.  Described by the band as an attempt to find the missing link between Porcupine Tree and JamiroquaiA Case Of Misplaced Optimism is more funk than any man should have to handle! This track will get you digging the groove and saying ‘yeah man’ every five seconds, it is seriously infectious piece of music that put a huge grin on my face, yep, the joy is here for everyone to hear.

Rapidly becoming one of my all time favourite songs by the band, The Adulthood Lie is my stand out track on what is becoming a seriously good album. The Tangent do electronic dance music (yes you read that right, EDM!) and it works brilliantly. I know Andy wasn’t sure how the fans would take this homage to Ibiza, Fatboy Slim, Sophie Ellis Bextor and the rest but, to me, it’s a fantastic track. It’s chock full of catchy moments and a seriously infectious vibe that gets you up and dragging your dancing boots out of the cupboard before you even know what you’re doing. You know what, this is what progressive music should be about, you’re hearing a true progression and maturation of The Tangent’s sound and it’s bloody brilliant. As Andy says,

“Our belief is that Progressive Rock music is still a valid and viable musical form in 2018 and will continue to be so. Our band has always sought to take on board things from the present and add them to that magical mix. We don’t claim to be offering the FUTURE. We just claim to be offering one set of possibilities. Ours. Now.”

There’s a repeated vocal line that runs through the song that starts, “When I was young, I fell in love…”, trust me, that will rapidly become a glorious earworm! Andy admitted the band had gone a bit mad on this track but was really glad that they had.

“The whole of Supper’s Off came from a daft thing I said about “Cooking The Books Of Revelation” in a rather boring meeting at college…”

Being a fellow Yorkshireman, Andy has a particular sense of humour, Supper’s Off was a recording made at the time of (Tangent album) ‘Le Sacre Du Travail’. It wasn’t properly recorded until this album but it’s another iteration of The Tangent’s so called Fast Song. GPS Culture, Evening TV, Uphill From Here and Spark In The Aether could be said to be the others. My friend, and Bad Elephant Music boss, David Elliott has called it “an anthem for the modern progressive rock band” and he’s not wrong. A captivating and utterly addictive track with the funkiest keyboard hook and guitar riff going, it’s blasts into your mind at a mind-blowing rate of knots and takes everybody on a fun-fuelled musical roller coaster ride before tipping its hat and firing off into the distance.

Normality is resumed with the ten minute bonus of Excerpt From “Excerpt From “Exo-Oceans”, a little dip into Andy’s Kalman Filter material which is edgy, spaced out and best listened to in the dark with something addictive (legally, obviously!! you know, like Whiskey!) and this brings the heart rate down nicely so you can actually process what you’ve just listened to.

‘Proxy’ is a joyous celebration of music, done in The Tangent’s inimitable style. It’s an album that truly bears repeated listens, I’m sure Andy has left little chestnuts and references in there for people to pick up on. What we’re hearing is a true progression of the band’s sound that, while keeping what has always made them who they are, now resonates even more clearly with the world we live in. Music to make you think and music to lift your soul, what more can you ask for?

Released 16th November 2018

Check out the band’s website for pre-order details