Monday, 3 February 2014

CD Reviews

Time to review some recent CDs...

Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope

Latest from the four piece prog rock super group.  Now if you don't like your prog to be PROG then look away now... 25 min epics, time changes galore, over production etc. this has the lot.  Has to be said though these guys are turning some of the best prog on the planet at the moment if you like old style Yes, Genesis etc.  This isn't perhaps as good as the full blown concept album The Whirlwind which was the last time they had space to get together but it is still a really really good album.
 
We kick off with an epic - Into the Blue - which as a stonking overture just to get you in the mood building from violining guitars with synths and bell percussion etc. to a King Crimson'esq heavy riff with Hammond organ blaring out. It's 6 mins before the vocal starts - you know where you are with this lot! More instrumental through out than vocal this is my highlight of the album probably has the best singing on the album too.

Shine and Black as the Sky are a couple of shorter more commercial tracks in the middle along with Beyond the Sun.  Shine is a great anthem I had a video of it up a few weeks back - search back.

Then the title track another 30 min epic of great proportions.   All round great stuff.  My version came with a second CD of covers from Yes, through King Crimson, Procul Harum to Elton John - all quiet faithful attempts to recreate not reinvent but all well produced the same.

James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical

A reasonable followup to his terrific debut (Early in The Morning).  This is a reasonable effort but doesn't have the punch that the first had - maybe not recording it in a front room lost some of the punch of the first.  Also whilst some good songs on it there is nothing that really stands out like a couple of tracks did on the first.  If you loved his first you'll like this but I can't see it winning him many more new fans I'm afraid.

Adam Holmes - Heirs and Graces

Found via SoundCloud and the excellent Folk Radio UK stream on there.  Really like this, honest English folk, hints of John Martyn and John Mayer neither of which is no bad thing.  Really like it - Monday Morning the kick off track is a great Martyn'esq laid back sway along, sing along song and sets the store out well.  Common Ground is another highlight with some great slide playing on that with beautifully executed guitar and heart felt lyrics.

Try and find him to listen to - worth it.

Show of Hands - Wake the Union

Got this for Christmas and it's been one of the mainstays on my playlist since.  Just brilliant from the stunning opener "I'll Haunt you" through to the last track you're entranced with great songwriting, playing and singing.  One of the best kept secrets on the UK folk scene I don't understand why this lot aren't superstars they are superb.

Steeleye Span - Wintersmith

Bit of a folky feel to my latest lot isn't there... well the Span showed up in the Christmas stocking too with this masterpiece inspired by a story from Terry Prachett's Discworld novels.  The Dark Morris Tune and Dark Morris Song are worth the money alone but some other great folk-rock sounds bounce out like Band of Teachers and Fire and Ice.  Shows they can still do the business.

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