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Old 07-09-2011, 02:23 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Behind the mask --- Fleetwood Mac --- 1990 (Reprise)


Often somewhat forgotten among the likes of “Rumours”, “Mirage” and the multi-platinum “Tango in the night”, 1990's “Behind the mask” is a very capable little album. Fleetwood Mac could have turned out a simple replica of the mega-successful “Tango”, but instead they created a solid, mature album that, although it had nothing like the success of its predecessor, still featured the band at their best, even without Lindsey Buckingham, and which contains some truly excellent tracks. It's an album that should not be forgotten, so here I am to remind you how good it is.

As mentioned, the previous album had completely put a somewhat ailing band firmly back on the map, and in the charts. Prior to 1987's “Tango in the night”, Fleetwood Mac were remembered mostly for hit singles like “Rhiannon”, “Dreams” and “Go your own way”, mostly from the records-shattering “Rumours”, so when this album came on the scene no-one really expected that much. It had in fact been five years since their last moderately successful release, 1982's “Mirage”, but “Tango” blew that out of the water. And the problem with mega-success like that is that is it generally very hard to trump it, even equal it. In many ways, you could say that “Tango” was too successful, taking everyone, including the band, by surprise and leaving them with the ever-worrying problem of following up such a huge smash hit.

In the event, it wasn't possible. Something like 1977's “Rumours”, “Tango” was a one-off, a phenomenon that perhaps just came at the right time. It's a great album, but had it been released a few years later maybe it might not have been so well received. The right music, at the right time, perhaps, a set of happy circumstances? Whatever, it left their next project under the oppressive cloud of having to live up to that album, and to be fair, “Behind the mask” never came close.

Perhaps people expected the same sort of poppy, radio-friendly hits that spewed from “Tango” like a candy machine, but this album is different. I would say it's more mature, and in terms of “Tango” being close to a pop record, this is more correctly rock. It starts off with “Skies the limit” (sic) a pretty little pop jingle, with Christine McVie in fine form, but it's essentially forgettable, and any possibility that this was going to be “Tango part 2” is dispelled when the second track gets going. “Love is dangerous” is a rocky, bluesy little number, and if they no longer have Lindsey Buckingham on guitar, he's ably made up for by both Rick Vito AND Billy Burnette. Stevie Nicks sings this one, and is at her raunchy best, similar to songs like “Stand back” and “Enchanted” from her own solo albums.

This then leads into a much heavier and slower track, the introspective “In the back of my mind”, which starts off with what sounds like backwards-masking on the vocals, a sort of slow jungle drumbeat, swirling synths with a long intro --- about two minutes of the seven-plus the track runs for --- before the guitars chime in and the song proper gets going. It's mostly a male vocal, though whether it's Burnette or Vito I don't know, as each are credited with vocals on the album. Stevie Nicks provides the backing vocals and the song is a slow churner, smouldering along for the remainder. Definitely NOT written with radio airplay in mind.

There are a few ballads on the album, as you would expect, best of them probably being
“Do you know”, a typical Fleetwood Mac song, a semi-ballad that should really have made it as a single. But it's “Save me”, faster and more commercial that made it as one of the three singles, and had the most success in the charts. It's an enjoyable song, with some good harmonies and great guitar. There are quite a few hard rockers on the album, notably “Stand on the rock”, “Freedom” and the delightfully rockabilly “When the sun goes down”, but it's tracks like “In the back of my mind” and the title track that really make this album stand out as a more aggressive and mature offering from a band who had by now almost become synonymous with the likes of “Seven wonders” and “Little lies”.

One of the standout tracks on the album, although written by neither, could very well refer to the troubled personal history between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, the acid “Hard feelings”, one of the most honest love/anti-love songs I've heard in quite a long time. ”I've got hard feelings/ When it come to you and me/ And these hard feelings/ Just won't let me be/ These hard feelings run deep.” Indeed.

As I say, a much more mature and rockier album than its predecessor, and anyone who was expecting a continuation of “Tango in the night” would certainly have been disappointed. It was a bold step for the band, avoiding the easy path of churning out more hits and further diluting their unique sound, and it hurt them commercially, the album yielding only one major single. Indeed, it was five years before they released their next album, and really, that wasn't what I'd call Fleedwood Mac, as neither of the ladies were involved, so the next proper Mac record was not till 2003, when they came back triumphantly with “Say you will”, proving that they still had it.

If all you know of Fleetwood Mac is “Tango” (or the singles from it), do yourself a favour and listen to this to hear a true rock band breaking out of the mould the record labels and popular trends tried to force them into.
And listen to “Rumours”, too, before you're much older....

TRACKLISTING

1. Skies the limit
2. Love is dangerous
3. In the back of my mind
4. Do you know
5. Save me
6. Affairs of the heart
7. When the sun goes down
8. Behind the mask
9. Stand on the rock
10. Hard feelings
11. Freedom
12. When it comes to love
13. The second time
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:13 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Crusader --- Chris de Burgh --- 1979 (A&M)


(First of all let me preface this review by advising/warning you that I have a real bone to pick with Chris de Burgh --- two, in fact; one general one and one to do with this album --- and will be verbally slinging a lot of mud in his direction. I've waited a long time to be able to air my views on him, and here seems the perfect place. Given that, though, do be advised that I am/was a fan, loved his early music and although I take serious issue with the title track on this album (see the review for more on that) I do love the album and will not in any way be slating it. I mention this because it may get a little wearing for some people. If you prefer to read just the review and ignore my rantings on the man himself, you are of course free to skip directly to that point. Hey! Where are you going? Did you think I was serious???)

God-damn Chris de Burgh, anyway! I loved his music up until the point he released that cringeworthy single, and it became a hit. After (I can hardly bring myself to utter its name!) “Lady in red”, de Burgh ceased to become a serious artist for me and became just another mainstream pop performer. The validity of classic albums like “The getaway”, “Spanish train” and of course this one remains, but after “LiR” I never again listened to a CdB track, never mind an album.

What really annoyed me about that record was that a) he could write so much better! LiR was a single more suited to the likes of Boyzone or Backstreet Boys, or a hundred other vacuous pop bands. It was unworthy of him, and yet now he is best remembered, commercially, for that odious single. And b) the ridiculous, pompous, condescending “story” he told about its writing. I remember seeing him talking to one of our national TV chat show hosts, and the explanation he gave was thus: “Have you ever gone to a party, and seen this gorgeous woman dancing, walking around, charming everyone? You fall in love with her instantly, and want to know who she is, wish you could know her. And then you realise she's your wife?”

Well? Anyone? Eh, no Chris, because we all live in the real world, and most of us who are married either go to parties to escape our not-so-beautiful wives, or drag them along hoping to slip away and check out the talent later. That's not really fair, is it? I'm sure many of us go to parties and have a great time with our wives, but has ANYONE EVER had the experience Chris cites above? I'd be willing to bet a month's wages no-one has. If I still worked. Which I don't. But I still bet the percentage would be close to zero percent.

That's what annoys me about him: the disconnect from the common man. NO-ONE could ever give that story any sort of credence, no-one could identify with it, so why did he tell it? To rub in our faces how beautiful his wife is? Sadly, but perhaps inevitably, the curse of the “song-for-the-wife” duly hit, and they split up. I bet that song haunts him now, and cackles in his head late at night. I sure hope it does. It's always a bad idea to write a song for/about your wife or girlfriend, almost as bad an idea as getting their name tattooed on your body. Nothing lasts forever, and unless you're very lucky, you'll regret doing such a thing. I guess in some ways having a song written for or about her is seen as the end for the wife or SO: what can you do to top that? Surely this is as good as it's ever going to get? It usually is, and the only way from there is down.

So, like most sane people, I hated hated HATED “The lady in red”, and still do, and will to my dying day. But that doesn't stop me from appreciating de Burgh's earlier work, and although as I say I have an issue --- a major issue --- with the title track, I think “Crusader” stands as one of his best albums.

------- Rant over, for now. Review begins ------ Rant over, for now. Review begins ------ Rant over, for

His fourth album, and following on from the somewhat low-key and not entirely successful “At the end of a perfect day”, “Crusader” hits all the right spots. It's peppered (typically) with love songs, has some quite rocky tunes, some quiet, introspective ones, and of course has the powerhouse title track, all almost nine minutes of it. If I had to pick a favourite CdB track and album, I think the answer to both would be “Spanish train”, with perhaps “Borderline” from “The getaway” coming an honourable second, but the trouble with “Spanish train” is that it does suffer from a few duff tracks, whereas “Crusader”, for the most part, is a tour-de-force of songwriting and musical talent. Helped out by most of the Alan Parsons Project here, Chris de Burgh produced an album that, at the very tail-end of the seventies, was years ahead of its time.

It starts off with “Carry on”, which starts gently, like a ballad, but then kicks into high gear and gets the album going in fine style before things slow down for the first of the many ballads. “I had the love in my eyes” is a warning to appreciate your lover, as they may end up being taken away by another man if you don't pay them enough attention. ”Show me a man secure in his love”, offers de Burgh, ”And I'll show you a lucky man.” Wise words. It's very Leo Sayer-like in its melody, almost a waltz of sadness. It's followed immediately by another ballad, the far superior “Something else again”, in which de Burgh places his woman on a pedestal. ”If a man should say to you/ Love just brings you pain/ Tell him no/ My woman's something else again.” It's a very loving ballad, and somehow, despite the starry-eyed optimism of it, fails to drown you in sugar. It actually sounds quite sincere.

It leads into one of the absolute masterpieces on the album. When I was much younger, and had no money for records, nor even anything to play them on, should I somehow cobble the necessary five or six pounds together, I got my music --- like most people --- from the radio, mostly late at night when I couldn't sleep. It was there that I first heard the legendary “Spanish train”, as well as the somewhat overused “A spaceman came travelling”, and this song too. “The girl with April in her eyes” is just a perfect fairytale set to music, as a girl comes to a palace, seeking shelter for the night, but is turned away. She finds succour with a common man, and dies in his cottage. He buries her, and is amazed the next morning, when, in the heart of winter, he sees her grave covered in flowers. ”The morning was bright/ All the world snow-white/ But when he came to the place where she lay/ His field was ablaze/ With flowers on the grave/ Of the girl with April in her eyes.” It still makes me tear up.

It's made even more poignant by the fact that we are introduced to the bad king in the opening lines, and told he wishes for winter to go away: ”There once was a king/ Who called for the spring/ For his world was all covered in snow.” Here, he has his chance but misses it through his wickedness and lack of humanity. As in many of de Burgh's songs, the nobility are seen as generally bad (see “The Tower” on “Spanish train”) and the commoner good (again on “Spanish train”, “Just another poor boy”), as the poor man helps the girl and is rewarded by the flowering of his fields. The song is played against a simple acoustic guitar and de Burgh's wracked, agonised voice as he cries ”On and on she flies/ Someone help the girl with April in her eyes!”

This for me typifies what Chris de Burgh was about, back in the seventies and eighties, before he got seduced by the easy money and the empty pop song. Even when he turns up the juice he could still rock out a great song back in those days, as “The Devil's eye” demonstrates (sorry), with the voice of Satan coming through the TV, using it to enslave all of humanity without them even being aware of it. The band really get going on this, with a great guitar solo halfway through. There's also a cheeky reference to previous album “Spanish train” on it, excellent, as the title track of that album also features the Devil.

It is of course though the title track that is the centrepiece of this album, and whereas it's completely revisionist history, and has virtually no basis in fact at all, it's a great song, split into four sections and running for 8:48. Just to be pedantic, and to get this out of my system, I now intend to use the rest of this review to historically adjust the lyric, so you'll have to bear with me if you will. If you can ignore the historical inaccuracies and the huge, almost criminal liberties taken with the truth for the purposes of making this an exciting story to tell with music, you will find “Crusader” a fantastic piece of music, a great song and a real opus that (almost) closes the album. Just don't use it as the basis for any report on the Crusades, ok?

Part I; The Fall of Jerusalem:- Begins with the “bishop” (read, the Pope) lamenting the fall of the Holy City and asking what can be done to regain it? His priest tells him he must sanction a crusade, and that the knights of Europe will take the city back for him, and for God. The whole piece is backed by nothing more than an acoustic guitar, sounding like a medieval lute, and de Burgh's voice.

”'What do I do next?' said the bishop to the priest/ I have spent my whole life waiting/ Preparing for the feast/ And now you tell me Jerusalem has fallen and is lost/ The king of heathen Saracen/ Has seized the holy Cross'” ---- The Muslims had not “seized” the Holy Land. They were there first, and it was the Christians who, during the First Crusade, took it from them in the “name of God”.

Then the priest said 'Oh my Bishop/ You must put them to the sword/ For God in all His mercy/ Will find a just reward/ For the noble men and sinners/ And knights of ready hand/ Who will be the Lord's Crusaders/ Send word throughout the land/ Jerusalem is lost.” --- This was nothing more than a chance to gather together men who were at a loose end, fighters and killers who at the moment had no war to fight in, and who would kill at the drop of a hat. It was also the Pope's chance and intention to deal a crippling blow to Islam, and take “back” the Holy Land, proving once and for all that Christianity was the most powerful religion in the world. As ever, East versus West.

'Tell me what do do'/ Said the king upon his throne/ 'But speak to me in whispers/ For we are not alone/ They tell me that Jerusalem has fallen to the hand/ Of some bedevilled eastern heathen/ Who has seized the Holy Land.'” And the reply comes ”Lord, we must call upon our foes/ In Spain and France and Germany/ End our bitter wars/ All Christian men must be as one/ And gather for the fight/ You will be their leader/ Begin the battle cry.'”

The muslims were not bedevilled, nor really heathens, as they also believed in God, but called Him Allah, and His prophet, Mohammed. There WERE no wars to stop at the time of the Crusades, nor would they have been halted to allow the participants to go and fight in the East. Such a suggestion is ludicrous. As mentioned above, the knights and soldiers were all hanging around, itching for a war, and what they got was one not only sanctioned by the Church, but encouraged by the Pope himself, who promised full forgiveness of any sin for those who were ready to kill for Christ. In fact, there were many rivalries between the different factions, notably the French and English knights, and it was far from a comfortable truce between old enemies.

Part II: In the court of Saladin --- In this short piece we meet Saladin, greatest of the Saracens, who is painted by de Burgh as a heathen villain ”Whoring and drinking/ Snoring and sinking/ Around him his army lay/ Secure in the knowledge that he had won the day.” He refuses to believe that the Christians are coming when a messenger comes with the news, news he surely must have expected. The music gets more dramatic here, leading to the climactic battle. (Of course, muslims do not drink at all, as it's against their religion, but hey, let's not let the facts get in the way, eh?)

Part III: The battlefield --- ”Closer they came, the army of Richard the Lionheart/ Marching by day and night/ With soldiers from every part/ And when the Crusaders came over the mountain/ And saw Jerusalem/ They fell to their knees and begged for her release/ They started the battle at dawn/ Taking the city by storm/ With horsemen and bowmen and engines of war/ They broke through the city walls/ The heathen were flying/ Screaming and dying/ And the Christians' swords were strong/ And Saladin ran when he heard their victory song.”

Total and utter poppycock! Far from taking Jerusalem, Richard never even got in sight of the Holy City, trying three times to assault it but failing every time. Saladin never ran, though there is a small grain of truth in the lines referring to that. However it was at Acre, as Richard retreated to the sea, then returned to help his garrison who were trapped in the port city. There, apparently, Richard's singular (some would say insane) courage in facing the entire Saracen army on his own, awed Saladin's men so that they slunk away, and the day was won. But Jerusalem was never taken, and the muslims held on to it.

I suppose in fairness the facts would have got in the way of a good story, and not made so entertaining a song, but really, I'm shocked at how de Burgh twisted history to make it fit his vision. The music is excellent though, powerful and exciting, evoking the march to Jerusalem, the battle that never took place, and the victory that also never happened.

Part III: Finale
At the end, the music drops right back to the sparsity of the opener, with the lone acoustic guitar being plucked as the wise man speaks to his fool, asking if such a “coaltion of the willing” (hah!) could ever be put together again, and the fool tells him that times have changed: ”There is only greed and evil in the men who fight today/ The song of the Crusader has long since gone away.” For the actual finale the band comes back in full-strength, and a choir and orchestra takes the song to its “triumphant” close.

The fact is, though, that far from being the paragons of virtue that many movies and some history books, and de Burgh here, paint them as, the Crusaders were vicious, savage, brutal men who were happy to kill for any cause --- killing for Christ? That'll do me, and with the added bonus of a clean soul after the battle! Nice! --- and who slaughtered indiscriminately, killing as many of their own brother Christians as they did the Saracens. They also looted, burned, raped and destroyed as they went, and Richard, despite his somewhat built-up reputation, was a failure, a bad commander who had serious issues with particularly the French nobles commanding the foreign troops, lost control of his army and seemed never to really have any strategy for winning the war. Negotiating a truce with Saladin he was able to retain some of his dignity, and as the truce allowed Christian access to and presence in the Holy City, he was not seen as having been utterly defeated, but it was far from the glorious, triumphant return to England he had planned, and envisaged.

Okay then, history lesson over.! Just had to get that off my chest: it's been smouldering for about thirty years inside me now. Ignore the lyric, or take it as it can only be taken, as a very embellished record of the Crusades, and you can enjoy the track. I still do. The album ends with a very low-key track, a simple little “goodbye and thank you for listening” from Chris de Burgh, entitled “You and me”, a great way to unwind after the epic title track, and a nice calm closure to the album.

As a cohesive unit, the album really works well. Tracks complement each other, and even the massive title track does not completely overshadow some of the better compositions on the record. Its strength is, I believe, that it does not rely on the “main event” to carry the whole thing: you don't just fast-forward to “Crusader”. There are a lot of really great tracks on the album, and in many ways, “Crusader” itself is a bonus when you get to it, but by the time you do, you feel as if you have already had your money's worth.

Ah, the old days indeed. How the mighty have fallen! Listen to this for a true representation of how Chris de Burgh made his name, how good he could be when he was at his best, and try to forget that awful hit single!

TRACKLISTING

1. Carry on
2. I had the love in my eyes
3. Something else again
4. The girl with April in her eyes
5. Just in time
6. Carry on (reprise)
7. The Devil's eye
8. It's such a long way home
9. Old-fashioned people
10. Quiet moments
11. Crusader
I) The fall of Jerusalem
ii) In the court of Saladin
iii) The battlefield
iv) Finale
12. You and me



Suggested further listening: “Spanish train”, “The getaway”, “Man on the line”, “Eastern wind”, “At the end of a perfect day”
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:16 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Storms over still water --- Mostly Autumn --- 2005 (Mostly Autumn Records)


I would say one of the best albums released by Mostly Autumn, but then there has yet to be a bad record by this band, at least to these ears. Like previous albums by the band, it's a heady mix of rock, prog-rock and folk, which blends together cleverly and effectively to become a sound which is trademark Mostly Autumn.

I'm reliably informed that Mostly Autumn have a tradition of opening their albums with the ending of the last track on the previous one, and here they duly fade in the end of “Pass the clock, part 3”, which ended 2003's “Passengers”, before the opener to this album powers its way in, great keyboards, squealing guitars and the double-vocal of Bryan Josh and Heather Findlay carrying “Out of the green sky” to the ears, and marking the return of the band after a two-year absence. It's a powerful opener, and sets the scene for a great album. Next up is “Broken glass”, punching up the tempo with an almost Wham!-type beat (sorry, but that's what it reminds me of!), the vocal primarily taken by Josh on this one. Great keyboard work from Iain Jennings, who would depart after this album.

Like the previous track, this ends abruptly and we're into “Ghost in Dreamland”, with an urgent piano intro and great vocals from Heather, Mostly Autumn keeping up the pressure with another fast-paced song, the melody of which could be used for any number of car-chase scenes in a hundred movies. The first really special track though doesn't come until “Heart life”, slower but no less heavy than the three that have gone before, with Heather again on vocal duty. It's Angela Gordon's flute and recorders that really mark this track out though, and allow the first of the gentle folk influences that have characterised many earlier MA songs to come through.

It's a powerful ballad, sung from the heart, with some nice acoustic guitar from Bryan Josh, and effective backing vocals, and also some serious electric guitar. “The end of the world” is a weird little song, introduced on a harpsichord-sounding keyboard, very reminscent of early Genesis circa “Nursery Cryme”, as Heather sings the story of an old married couple, going about their normal day, until Bryan ups the ante with the dark announcement of impending disaster as the world comes to an end, while the old couple continue about their business, unaware they have but minutes to live. The juxtapositioning of the two vocals, one relating a simple tale of old lovers, the other harbinger of approaching doom, works extremely well, as Bryan sings, not without some black humour ”Molten drops fell everywhere/ Flashed Birmingham to flames/ Screaming into Yorkshire/ Kind of helped us on our way/ All at once she levelled all the stores/ Nothing to pay!” I'm not clear on what the actual disaster is --- I think it may be the moon going out of orbit possibly, but it's a little hard to make out. Nonetheless, MA paint a disturbing picture of Armageddon at Teatime!

“Black rain” is another fast song, this one warning of the dangers of ignoring climate change, Heather again taking vocals, with Bryan providing backup: ”Did no-one tell you there'd be thunder?/ Oh we're heading for black rain/ If we don't change!” It's a real rocker, great guitar and powerful drums with a really nice hook too. Three of the last four songs on the album are long ones, and they're preceded by “Coming to...”, a nice little instrumental, sounding a little mechanical or industrial before it bursts into a seriously powerful guitar riff which takes it to its short conclusion.

“Candle to the sky” is one of those MA songs that although it's over eight minutes long, has a relatively short singing section, picked guitar backing Bryan as he sings the lyric. The song picks up speed and power, guitar battling with flute as it progresses, then with about three minutes yet to go, it slows right down and settles into a Pink Floyd-esque guitar groove, on which the track fades out.

Of the three tracks remaining, “Carpe diem” is without doubt the standout. A haunting, unsettling remembrance of the Asian Tsuanami of 2002, it's introduced by uileann pipes, melancholy and lonely, then carried on a very simple but effective repetitive piano melody that begins right under the pipes at the opening and keeps going to the end, with Heather's anguished voice rising above it like a lost soul, or a banshee, or indeed, the personification of the loss and sadness of those who lost loved ones in the disaster. Again, for a track lasting over eight minutes there is certainly an economy of lyric, but it works very well, leaving the lasting impression that of the powerful musical closing section. This in fact carries on for a full five minutes, the piano joined by bass, then guitar and drums to form a truly majestic and haunting ending to the song. Quite likely some of Bryan Josh's best work to date on guitar. I would not be afraid to say that this song is in my top ten favourite Mostly Autumn tracks, and certainly in my top 100 of all-time songs.

That leaves the title track, another long one, but it's going to be hard to top “Carpe diem”, which should perhaps have closed the album. But “Storms over still water” is a worthy successor to that standout track, even if it never stands a hope of eclipsing it. Beginning with some nice acoustic guitar backed with electric, and some flute, it's again a folky tune, sung by Heather. It starts slow and balladic, but picks up pace as it goes, the electric guitar coming into its own, as again Bryan Josh shows why he is noted as one of the most underrated rock guitarists in the business. Halfway through, he takes over on vocals, Heather switching to backing, and the tempo of the song increases as the drums get going properly. After the brilliance, but melancholy, of “Carpe diem”, this reignites the optimism and you just can't stop your feet from tapping, and all seems again right with the world, for now.

Again, this could have been the closer, and perhaps it would have been, but they chose to write one more little track, simply entitled “Tomorrow”, to fulfil that role. It's an instrumental, with a drum and guitar melody that puts me in mind of Peter Gabriel's “Biko”. Perhaps they wrote it just so that they would have something to fade in from for the next album? Can't deny it's a great little coda to the album, though.

Once I had heard Mostly Autumn for the first time, I found that despite myself, I could listen to nothing else for months. I had albums backed up that I wanted to listen to, but every time I tried I just kept sticking on my MA playlist. It was a happy time, which eventually I had to force myself to break out of , but for a while there was for me no other band than Mostly Autumn. I don't know if you will feel the same way, if this is the first time you've heard the band and they have the same effect on you, but if so, take heart: there is help available for your soon-to-be addiction.

Yeah, but …. you don't want help, do you...?

TRACKLISTING

1. Out of the green sky
2. Broken glass
3. Ghost in dreamland
4. Heart life
5. The end of the world
6. Black rain
7. Coming to...
8. Candle to the sky
9. Carpe diem
10. Storms over still water
11. Tomorrow


Suggested further listening: “Passengers”, “The last bright light”, “Heart full of sky”, “Glass shadows”, “For all we shared”, “Go well diamond heart”
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:38 AM   #74 (permalink)
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Hourglass --- Millenium --- 2000 (Frontiers)


Those of you who know me may know that I am considered something of a “spelling Nazi” --- there's nothing I hate more than bad spelling (well, there is, but you know what I mean!), and I'm forever sighing at and correcting others' spelling and grammatical mistakes. So it is with no small sense of irony that I review an album by a band who seem unable to spell their name, though perhaps it's a clever method of differentiating themselves from other bands who might have the same name, or getting their name first in Google results? It doesn't work, as Google ignores what it perceives to be a spelling error and presents results for the word “millennium”. Ah well...

I just mention this to point out beforehand that I KNOW the word is misspelt, but that's how this band spell their name, as you can see from the sleeve: one 'n', not two. They're from Tampa, Florida, and will probably be unknown to 98% of you. They're not exactly superstars. Which makes the tremendous quality of this album all the more surprising, and gratifying.

I do believe it was another of those heady in-the-record-shop-with-spare-cash moments, and I just liked the sleeve --- sort of reminded me of Hawkwind --- and checking the track titles they seemed a rock band, so I thought why not? In the end, I was glad I did. Information is scarce on Millenium, but I think this is their third release, and it's a corker.

It blasts right off with “Power to love”, which opens with an acapella choral vocal before smashing into a mad, reckless, pop-metal AOR slice of Heaven, drummer Oliver Hanson thundering the song along while guitars from Ralph Santolla and Shane French elevate the track to AOR supremacy, and the clear, strong vocals of Jorn Lande present a man who had surely missed out on being a true star, somehow. It's a great start, and things go from good to better with “Wheels are turning”, recalling Journey at their heaviest, and yet somehow better, perhaps because this sort of quality is unexpected in a band almost unknown, and on whom I took a chance and hoped not to be wasting my money. Seriously, you would not believe some of the axe work here! How these guys aren't more successful and recognised I honestly do not know.

The title track is also the longest, just over six minutes, and brings things down a gear with a crunching, slow rocker in the best mould of Dio's “The last in line” or “Holy Diver”. Jorn Lande manages to come across as a mixture of the best of Ronnie James and David Coverdale here, and he really stretches his vocal range, completely equal to the task. ”We all answer to the hourglass/ No escape from the world of the lonely/ Feel the fire burning deep inside/ The soul of the lost soldier… “ It's a powerful track, a real stomper, and while the twin guitars are a little more restrained here, they're still very much present, particularly for the solos near the end.

There are only two ballads on the album, but they're so equally great I really can't decide which, if either, is the better. The first up is “No more miracles”, a tender, piano-led melody with a heartfelt lyric sung with conviction and passion by Lande. ”Remember when we heard the bell/ It rang for us, we knew it well/ And now we know our dream of love is dying...” It's just further proof of how criminal it is that this band has been largely ignored, as this should be played in a stadium to thousands of cigarette lighters held aloft. You think REO and Toto write good ballads? This blows them all away, I kid you not. There's real drama and pathos in it, and it most certainly does not sound like just a slow song put on the album so there'd be a single for airplay. However, if this HAD received time on the radio, I'm sure it would not only have been a hit, but would be forever cropping up in those “Best Power Ballads” programs shown on the likes of MTV.

Things settle back into a faster groove then for “Superstar”, more AOR than the previous tracks, and slightly inferior, somewhat by-the-numbers, with noticeable Queen overtones in places, while “Rocket ride” fails to bring the bar back up to the high level set by the likes of “Power to love” and “Wheels are turning”. It's not till the second ballad makes its appearance that the huge untapped potential of this band is on show again. “I will follow” --- NOT a cover of the U2 song! --- is another passionate and powerful song, though where “No more miracles” was gentle, this is raunchier, with a bluesy beat and some great guitar from Santolla. To be honest, just to get two ballads of this quality on the one album would have represented value for money to me. But there's so much more.

“I still believe” momentarily fools you into thinking it's a third ballad, but that idea is quickly dispelled as Santolla ramps up the riffs and the song takes off, becoming a mid-paced rocker with an almost jazz/funk backbeat which actually works, and the song changes yet again, becoming quite anthemic as it goes on. Great vocal harmonies help to lift this track out of the realms of the ordinary, and the tempo keeps rockin' for “Masquerade”, where a great combination of keyboards and guitar carry Lande's vocals along and create a song reminiscent of Canadian AOR merchants Glass Tiger. The album ends on the powerful “Chasing time”, its opening recalling ELO with its somewhat skewed harmonies, but soon gets going and takes “Hourglass” to a satisfying conclusion.

As I say, for an album I picked up “on spec”, and did not expect too much from, this turned out to be something of a diamond in the rough, the musical equivalent of a rare antique bought for ten quid at a car boot sale. It truly beggars belief that Millenium never hit the big time, but at least they did craft an album that can comfortably and proudly sit up there with the best AOR has to offer.

TRACKLISTING

1. Power to love
2. Wheels are turning
3. Hourglass
4. No more miracles
5. Superstar
6. Rocket ride
7. I will follow
8. I still believe
9. Masquerade
10. Chasing time



Suggested further listening: “Millenium”, “Angelfire”
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:40 PM   #75 (permalink)
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Us --- Peter Gabriel --- 1992 (Real World)


In my humble opinion the best Peter Gabriel album (and I loved “So”, but this is better!), this is one on which he really stretched his wings, bringing in no less than thirty-seven additional musicians, including the likes of producer Daniel Lanois, ex-Van der Graaf Generator frontman Peter Hamill, Brian Eno and Led Zep's John Paul Jones, and Sinead O'Connor, who duets with him on one of the tracks. Written in somewhat the same frame of mind that Phil Collins was in when he penned his debut solo, “Face value”, the album explores the breakup of Gabriel's first marriage, and his relationship with his daughter, and continues his interest in experimenting with non-standard instrumentation on his songs, with the likes of sabar drums, doudouks and tabla and surdu, giving the album a quasi-African feel. Gabriel's Real World label has long pushed to introduce, represent and give chances to unknown or unsigned African bands, and here he certainly includes a lot of new names who help out.

“Come talk to me” is a slow-paced opener, a simple plea in the lyric, with the odd instruments making their presence felt in the jungle-type beat, and a choir singing native chants in the background. “Love to love you” is a ballad, very understated and sung almost sotto voce by Gabriel, but it's his duet with Sinead O'Connor on “Blood of Eden” that really stands out. As she does on “Kingdom of rain” on The The's “Mind bomb”, reviewed here earlier, O'Connor shows that she is at her best when working with a compatible male vocal, and whereas Kate Bush paired up with Gabriel on “Don't give up”, the interaction between he and O'Connor here seems much more personal, and raises the song to the level of a true classic.

It's carried on a low, intense, almost muted melody as Gabriel sings ”I saw the signs of my undoing/ They had been there from the start.” O'Connor only gets to sing in harmony with him on the chorus, which is a pity, as there are verses she could really have done justice to. Nevertheless, it's a powerful yet understated ballad, with some very dark lyrics: ”Is that a dagger or a crucifix I see/ Held so tightly in your hand?” It's generally a low-key approach so far, but things spring to life with “Steam”, released as a single from the album, and quite successful too. It's a bouncy number that gives Gabriel the chance to really cut loose, as he does, having great fun with the track.

It's back to the sombre mood then for “Only us”, which I guess is as close to a title track as this album has. A little repetitive, it's carried on the one melody through, and again Gabriel almost mutters the lyric, but it's a good song for all that. Far better though is another single, the infectious “Digging in the dirt”, where we get to hear the close-to-unhinged Peter Gabriel we know and love from the likes of “DIY”, “White shadow”, or indeed “No self control”. It's this sometimes manic persona that often characterises Gabriel's best work, both in Genesis and solo, and to some degree it's largely missing here, but he reinvents himself and presents another, more restrained side to his music that totally works.

There's time for fun too, though, A lot of dark songs need a little light to break them up, and “Kiss that frog” is great, silly fun, recalling the old fairytale of the princess and the frog, with lines like ”Let me sit beside you/ Eat right off your plate/ Don't have to be afraid/ There's nothing here to hate/ Princess, you might like it/ If you lower your defence/ Kiss that frog/ And you may meet your prince!” David Rhodes is clearly enjoying himself on guitar, and somone's playing a harmonica, and doing a great job too, but they're not credited: maybe it's a synth?

The album closes almost as it began, with a slow, majestic melody which starts almost imperceptibly then comes to life, as Gabriel recalls his life and loves from his youth. ”In this house of make believe/ Divided in two, like Adam and Eve/ You put out and I receive.” It's very much a retrospective piece, and ends the album really well, fading out like the dying echo of a memory. And it's a good memory too. ”Down by the railway siding/ In a secret world we were colliding/ In all the places we were hiding love...” Ah, to be young again!

TRACKLISTING

1. Come talk to me
2. Love to be loved
3. Blood of Eden
4. Steam
5. Only us
6. Washing of the water
7. Digging in the dirt
8. Fourteen black paintings
9. Kiss that frog
10. Secret world



Suggested further listening: The first four Peter Gabriel albums, all called “Peter Gabriel”, “So”, “Ovo”, also Genesis albums “Nursery cryme”, “Trespass”, “Foxtrot”, “The Lamb lies down on Broadway” and “Selling England by the pound”
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:37 PM   #76 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
Subsurface --- Threshold --- 2004 (InsideOut)
I am going through your posts one at a time as they deserve a little time to digest and I have never heard of Threshold and unfortunately the link I found was password protected

Judging by those tracks you posted I find them a real conundrum. There is talent on board and there are some great sections of play but I also found some of those forced a little as if they haven't an identity of their own. As if they had to include keyboard lines for the sake of it and sometime they don't fit the music BUT there is a lot to admire too. Nothing hugely original but certainly enough for me to want to investigate the album.

It does have a real 80's heavy prog feel to me which is no bad thing. Although the word prog here is not the convoluted late 70's equivalent but rather the 80's melodic approach by bands like Marillion, Magnum and Twelfth Night (I will get onto them later - I did read the review!).

I just hope I can get hold of this album as I would love to give it a more thorough listen.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:38 PM   #77 (permalink)
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Yo Jack!
Weird: can't imagine why the link would be password-protected. It shouldn't be, and it isn't for me. I'll look into it.
Meanwhile, if you want me to reupload the album somewhere else (or your mail system can take it direct) let me know. Looking forward to your further thoughts, and thanks for the comments..

TH
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:10 PM   #78 (permalink)
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Once around the world --- It Bites --- 1988 (Virgin)

It's indeed a rare thing, but it does happen: a band's debut album is not great, their third also not great, but the one in the middle is brilliant. Certainly the case, as I found it, with this band, and even more unusual, when you consider that their biggest hit single, the chart-topping “Calling all the heroes”, came from their debut album. Nevertheless, this was my first introduction to their album work (although they had come to my attention via the aforementioned single, which I had tipped, in my radio days, as being a big hit long before it was) and having thoroughly enjoyed it I went back to their first album, “The big lad in the windmill” (what?) and was very much underwhelmed. Years later, when I had a chance to hear their follow-up to this, 1989's “Eat me in St. Louis”, I was similarly disappointed.

But between those two nestles this, the second album by It Bites, and though they never matched or even came close to its brilliance, “Once around the world” is a great piece of progressive rock, following in the footsteps of some of the masters of the genre. It even features an epic composition, the title track, to which we will get later. But it's a solid rock album, and it kicks off with a power-rocker, “Midnight” features the stabbing guitar AND distinctive vocals of Francis Dunnery, melding with the somewhat sparse keyboards of John Beck, and the song is carried on a cool little funky bassline courtesy of Dick Nolan, while Bob Dalton thumps out the drumbeats. It's a catchy little tune, and starts the album in decent fashion, but it's “Kiss like Judas” that really ramps up the action and gets the proper prog-rock vibe going, with a really solid keyboard melody redolent of their big hit, and this time the roles are reversed, as the keys come to the fore and the guitar takes something of a backseat, still managing to rip off some fine riffs nevertheless.

Things just get better with “Yellow Christian”, with its singalong chorus, guitar hook somehow putting me in mind of eighties popsters Cutting Crew, and its waltzy rhythm, together with its somewhat obscure lyrical content and its extended keyboard runs. I would have considered this a good choice for a single, but it wasn't chosen. Very mid-seventies Genesis touches here I feel, circa “Firth of Fifth” or “Afterglow”. Dunnery's voice is certainly different, and adds great character to the songs. My only gripe with this song is that it suddenly changes tack right at the end, and finishes abruptly, in a style very akin to “The musical box” off Genesis's “Nursery Cryme” album. I normally don't go for songs fading out, but here I think it would have been a better way to end this track.

“Rose Marie” is a heads-down rocker, unremarkable after the sublime “Yellow Christian”
--- no ambiguity about the content here! --- and “Black December” is something in the same vein: good songs, but a little formulaic. Great guitar work in both though, almost verging into Heavy Metal territory at times, particularly on the former. I'm surprised to see that “Old man and the angel” is over nine minutes long, as it certainly doesn't seem that long. (Note: listening to the CD version for the first time, I see now it's a very much extended version. I preferred the original vinyl one) Not a bad song, though I prefer the much shorter “Plastic dreamer”, with its interesting theme of toys coming to life in the toyshop after hours: ”At the stroke of twelve it all came to life/ And He-Man chased the man with his wife/ Darth Vader shows he's all dressed in drag/ Reveals what's inside I thought he was bad “ The nursery-rhyme-like melody really fits the song, shot through with stabs of pure guitar mayhem, a real wish for lost childhood. Great little song, and some excellent lines: ”Enterprising heroes in full flight/ And Batman swings by the candlelight/ And Superman's laughing at the wonderland zoo/ I think I'd rather be this way...” Wouldn't we all?

And so we come to the closer, the title track, and very much the centrepiece of the album; almost fifteen minutes of pure prog mastery, It Bites' “Supper's ready”or “Tarkus”. Rather like the former, it starts off slow and on keyboard and bass, with a short introductory passage before the guitars get going and the second part kicks in, with Genesisesque keyboards taking us back twenty-five years, suitably “prog” lyrics like ”In every town there'a a man in a wheelchair/ In every frown there's an optical illusion” setting out the band's stall.

There's no doubt that this band, and this song, have been heavily influenced by Genesis, as the tune now goes into a 1920s vibe, quite eerily familiar to the “Willow Farm” section from “Supper's ready”. It's quite short though and then goes into a sort of dramatic bridge, before returning to the twenties melody, with perhaps a hint of 1930s Big Band in there too. As might be expected the track then speeds up and gets into high gear for the denoument and conclusion --- even the line ”6 to 4 is on the run” sounds like ”666 is no longer alone...”, but that's not a bad thing. There's some stylish guitar work then leading into some lovely keyboard moves as the song winds into its twelfth minute and slows right down for the ending, delivered with panache and passion as the whole thing comes to a rather glorious conclusion, ending a fine album in excellent style.

It's a pity they never equalled the quality of this album, but it's often said every band has one opus in them. For It Bites, this was it, and it's more than worth listening to. Just don't expect more of the same, unfortunately.

TRACKLISTING

1. Midnight
2. Kiss like Judas
3. Yellow Christian
4. Rose Marie
5. Black December
6. Old man and the angel
7. Plastic dreamer
8. Once around the world



Suggested further listening: Hard to say, but of the other albums, “Eat me in St. Louis” is not bad. Also check “Calling all the heroes” from the debut, “The big lad in the windmill”
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:06 AM   #79 (permalink)
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Cry --- Faith Hill --- 2002 (Warner Bros)


Another album that stands out as the jewel in an artiste's crown, and which like It Bites above, she never equalled, or even came close to. Although Faith is renowned as a country music singer, “Cry”, her fifth album, comes across as much more a commercial pop album than a country one. Although I couldn't write a song to save my life, I do prefer artistes to write at least some of their own material, and so was more than a little disappointed to find that not one of the sometimes excellent tracks on this release were penned, or even co-written, by the artist herself. That notwithstanding, this is a fantastic album that could conceivably be enjoyed by both country fans and mainstream music fans --- rock and pop alike.

Starting off with a nice little uptempo popper, “Free” gets things going in decent style, with it has to be said, not a hint of country there at all. It's not till the opening ballad, also the title track, that you hear the familiar steel pedal guitar whine in, but this is not what would be thought of as a typical country ballad, as Faith asks ”Could you cry a little? / Lie just a little? / Pretend that you're feelin' / A little more pain?” Very much the song of a spurned woman who wants her lover to share her pain, it's a beautiful bittersweet song, really showcasing Faith's vocal range.

Going one better than Peter Gabriel on his “Us” album, two reviews back, Faith has assembled a supporting cast of almost one hundred musicians for this recording, and they certainly make their presence felt, giving the album a full, rich sound. However, it's the solitary piano that carries the delicate “When the lights go down”, similar in theme to Bob Seger's “Hollywood nights”, as she reflects on the loneliness of being left standing when all the money and fame evaporates: ”They were there for the fame / The flash and the thrills/ The drop of a name/ The parties, the pills/ Another star falls from the Hollywood hills/ Without a sound.” “Beautiful” is another tender ballad, opening with a spoken vocal over acoustic guitar, but some of the real standout tracks are more towards the end of the album, like “Stronger”, a real contender for best track on the album.

The tale of a couple breaking up, it's a power ballad with a powerful line in guitar work and a vocal sung with such emotion that it would almost seem to be personal, except as mentioned Faith did not write it. It opens with a spoken vocal and acustic guitar, like “Beautiful” before it, and in fact is one of the tracks featured on my first mix, “Ten from Trollheart”, available a few pages back. We should not however concentrate solely on the ballads, as there are some very good faster tracks, like “This is me”, with its easily-relatable lyric: ”Yeah, my heart bleeds for the homeless/ I worry about my parents/ And all my bills are late.” and the almost gospel-like “If you're gonna fly away”, not to mention “Unsaveable” (IS that a word?) with its unashamed rip-off of the riff from Berlin's “Take my breath away”, and its honky-tonk guitar. However there's no denying that it is the ballads that really stand out on this album, and if “Stronger” is a contender for track-of-the-album, it's just barely beaten out by the superior “If this is the end”, a tearjerker in the most epic fashion, with great orchestration.

As already mentioned, there's very little on this album which stands out as a country track in the normal sense of the word, and even moreso than Shania, I would say Faith Hill has to some extent left her country roots behind and stepped out onto the commercial stage of popular music. If she could maintain the quality of this release, she could have a very strong future, and we could certainly expect to see her in the charts. Unfortunately I was very let down by her follow up, 2005's “Fireflies”, and have not yet heard her latest, 2008's “Joy to the world”, but I get the feeling that this is as good as Faith gets.

But it's damn good!

TRACKLISTING

1. Free
2. Cry
3. One
4. When the lights go down
5. Beautiful
6. Unsaveable
7. Baby you belong
8. If you're gonna fly away
9. Stronger
10. If this is the end
11. This is me
12. Back to you
13. I think I will
14. You're still here



Suggested further listening: “Breathe”, “Fireflies”
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:39 AM   #80 (permalink)
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The division bell --- Pink Floyd --- 1994 (EMI)


The second Pink Floyd album released without founder member Roger Waters, and the last ever released by the band, “The division bell” was highly criticised on its release, both on the grounds that it was recorded just to make money, and that the band no longer cared about their music. Although 1987's “A momentary lapse of reason” was a little hit-and-miss in places, with perhaps too many standalone instrumentals and not enough full compositions, I found this album to be far superior, and one look at the writing talent and creative process on it is, to me, enough to give the lie to at least the second part of that accusation.

Helmed mostly by, as would be expected, successor to the Floyd throne David Gilmour, the album is not overly guitar heavy, relying a lot on the expressive keyboard work of the late Richard Wright, but is chock-full of meaning and emotion, in a way that the previous album did not seem to be. To my mind, “Division bell” is much more “Final cut” than “Momentary lapse”. It opens, like its predecessor seven years ago, with an instrumental, and indeed similar to that album it's an instrumental that starts very low, with the sound of what could be oars cutting through water, joined by the swiriling, almost hypnotic keyboards of Wright, then the sharp, clear piano notes joined by Gilmour's mournful guitar as the tune takes on a slight resemblance to the opening parts to “Shine on your crazy diamond”, introducing the first real track, “What do you want from me”, where we can hear Gilmour's voice is in fine fettle, and despite criticism aimed at him I think his guitar work has never sounded better.

The album's main concept is agreed as being one of communication, or the failure to talk, and many of the songs reflect this, including this, as Gilmour snaps ”Should I stand out in the rain?/ Do want me to make a daisy chain for you?/ You're so hard to read!” Great backing vocals on this track, in proper Floyd fashion, help add real atmosphere to the song, and its themes continue in “Poles apart”, a jangly, almost upbeat track with dark overtones, as Gilmour asks ”Did you know it was all going to go/ So wrong for you?” Much more than “Momentary lapse” I feel each track here is a strong composition, even the two instrumentals, of which “Marooned”, essentially a vehicle for Gilmour's spellbinding guitar playing, is the next, but it's “A great day for Freedom” where the ghost of Waters really walks the grooves of this record, as Floyd chart the fall of the Berlin Wall and its aftermath, noting with acid derision how happy everyone was on that night, and how the dream turned, for many, to nightmare very quickly.

”On the day the Wall came down/ They threw the locks onto the ground/ And with glasses high we raised a cry/ For freedom had arrived..../ Promises lit up the night/ Like paper doves in flight.” The initial euphoria of the collapse of Communism and the Eastern Bloc is contrasted sharply with the subsequent wars for independence, racial tensions, ethnic cleansings and social unrest that followed. The song is mostly carried on Wright's lonely piano, tinkling like the fading echoes of the bells of freedom as they recede into memory and the mists of history. ”Now frontiers drift like desert sands/ As nations wash their bloodied hands/ Of loyalty and history/ In shades of grey.” Possibly one of the most honest and factual accounts of the events post-collapse of the Wall, with another sterling solo from Gilmour to end the track, and definitely place this as one of the best on the album.

We get to hear Rick Wright sing for the first time since “Dark side of the moon” and sadly also the last ever time, as not only was this Floyd's last album together, but Wright died in 2008 of cancer. The melody almost seems cognisant of this (though of course that's not the case), with sad saxophone, dour drums and muted guitar taking “Wearing the inside out” along, with again some powerful backing vocals. Even the lyric seems, in hindsight, prophetic: ”My skin is cold to the human touch/ This beating heart/ Not beating much.” Some of Wright's best keyboard work characterises this track too, fittingly, recalling the glory days of “Dark side” and “The Wall”. Things speed up then for “Take it back”, as close to a straight-ahead rocker as there is on the album, while “Coming back to life” wins my award for best track on the album, with its slow, sad, agonised guitar opening and its anguished demand ”Where were you when I was/ Burned and broken?/ While the days slipped by/ From my window, watching?” before it picks up and becomes a mid-paced rocker.

“Keep talking”, emphasising and confirming the central theme of the album, features the sampled voice of Professor Stephen Hawking, adding great weight and gravitas to the track, and putting forward the welcome belief that everything will be all right as long as we continue to talk to each other. ”It doesn't have to be like this/ All we have to do is make sure/ We keep talking.” Words to live by. Rather giving the lie to that however is the sound of a slamming door opening the penultimate track, “Lost for words”, and mournful keyboards joined by acoustic guitar in a reflective look at life: ”I was spending my time in the doldrums/ I was caught in a cauldron of hate/ I felt persecuted and paralysed/ Thought that everything else could just wait/ While you are wasting your time on your enemies/ Engulfed in a fever of spite/ Beyond your tunnel vision reality fades/ Like shadows into the night.” Samples overlay the track, transmissions and conversations, including the recording of a boxing match, and the reality of the world intrudes to show that though YOU may have seen the light, that doesn't necessarily mean everyone else has, as noted in the end lyric: ”So I open my doors to my enemies/ And I ask could we wipe the slate clean?/ But they tell me to please go and **** myself/ You know, you just can't win!”

Sobering words, and the closer comes in, and indeed fades out, on the distant peals of church bells, evoking both the title and also the line from “Dark side”'s track “Home again” --- ”Far away, across the fields/ The tolling of the iron bell/ Calls the faithful to their knees/ To hear the softly spoken magic spells.” In the same way that “Sorrow” closed “A momentary lapse of reason” on a sour, morose note, “High hopes” fades the album out on a less than optimistic thought, leaving us with what is a far superior album to the previous, but as a swansong for Pink Floyd, perhaps a better last track might have been in order? Doesn't detract from the fact that this is a fine ending for a band who had been together through four decades, and produced some of the classic albums of both the seventies and eighties, and who shaped and changed the musical perception of more than one generation.

TRACKLISTING

1. Cluster one
2. What do you want from me?
3. Poles apart
4. Marooned
5. A great day for freedom
6. Wearing the inside out
7. Take it back
8. Coming back to life
9. Keep talking
10. Lost for words
11. High hopes



Suggested further listening: Where do I start? “Dark side of the moon” and “The Wall”, of course, then try “Wish you were here”, “Meddle”, “Animals”, “A momentary lapse of reason”, “The final cut”, and don't forget Roger Waters' solos “The pros and cons of hitch-hiking”, “Radio KAOS” and “Amused to death”, and then throw on his double-live “In the flesh.” That'll do to be going on with ….
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