Yes, here it is again folks, that little piece of TWR that has absolutely nothing to do with Genesis. As usual we have a few albums to put under the spotlight so let’s get on with it shall we…
First up is an album which has been a long time in the making and along time on my “to review” list, the debut by The Swans Chorus. I have to admit, there IS a Genesis connection here as the singer in this project is none other than John Wilkinson of Genesis tribute band, Mama.
The album gets under way with the boldy acerbic The Hilary Step, a biting indictment of the current political situation in the USA. Superbly rocky but with some nice Prog touches, this one would be great live and gets everything off to a suitably impressive start.
Don’t Talk About Love has a swinging rhythm to it and some typically brash synth chords which suit the subject matter of the song. The sound is that of a typically Eighties band such as Mr Mister but that is not necessarily any bad thing, now is it?
My Dark Passenger opens with a guitar and synth riff which Marillion would be proud of, whilst the lyric and in particular John’s delivery, reminds me of The Beach Boys. The Check is equally as vibrant with some fine guitar work.
The rest of the album is every bit as enjoyable. Finely crafted, melodic, and on occasions, fiery rock in a Prog vein. Yes, there are echoes of several well known bands running through it but the end result is nonetheless uniquely the band’s own and is a collection of music which anyone will enjoy, An impressive debut and one which augurs well for the future.
The Swans Chorus (No Catalogue Number)
Next up is a new project by Steve Gresswell. Titled The Inner Road and the album titled The Majestic Garden which opens the album with a jaunty almost folky flourish a-la Mike Oldfield, in fact the entire track, nice as it is and superbly well played, is a little TOO Mike Oldfield-y for me.
Call Of The Spirit, the next track however, is much better, a really polished gem with some wonderfully soaring guitar work and impeccable keyboards. This is a wonderful slice of modern \Prog, the kind I can actually enjoy! Wind From the Reeds too is a melodic delight nothing too excitingly original but melodic and thoroughly enjoyable.
As with the previous album, the rest of this effort is thoroughly enjoyable modern prog with occasional diversions to rock and folk all of which make it another eminently listenable experience.
The Inner Road - The Majestic Garden (No Catalogue Number)
Next up is a new project from my old chum Peter Matuchniak going under the title of Kinetic Element, The album’s title The Face of Life should give you a clue as to what we are in store for. Yes, this is an album with a concept - a latterday Messiah or so it would seem. The album opener Epistle, a singularly apt title as this bitingly witty look at the failure of established religion and indeed, the failure of the political system and the misdeeds of false messiahs of the political world such as dear old Mr Trump, a suitably intriguing start.
The idea of rebirth and redemption is a motif that runs throughout this album and makes it akin to some of Mr Neal Morse’s work which I am sure many of you are familiar with. Musically, the album is a diamond, replete with excellent musical performances and some great tunes. In many respects this album owes its evolution to Yes circa 1972 and with the ideas of spirituality which populate the lyrics, one could even say 1973 and that memorable concept - Tales From Topographic Oceans, however, the ideas here actually make sense which is a great relief because the end result is an extremely enjoyable one.
Kinetic Element: The Face Of Life. Melodic Revolution Records MRRCD 2164.
Next we have an album by someone most Genesis fans will have heard of - Mr Dale Newman. Dale was a long time associate of the band but has always been a musician/singer in his own right. This, his third album proper is self titled. You can also read an extensive interview with Dale about this album elsewhere in this edition, but meanwhile on to the music.
Things get under way with The Slowest Train, a rhythmic paced opener, a wry look at an unachievable relationship featuring some excellent guitar work from both Dale and Myron Kibbee and the wonderful backing vocals of he Rocking Horse Singers.
I’ll Have to Carry On is another wonderfully wistful song, like so many that Dale has written of a somewhat autobiographical slant a superbly haunting slice of melodic rock.
Can You Feel The Sound is a psychological song, examining the problems which we all hide within ourselves whether we acknowledge them or not. Don’t be deceived by the rather jaunty rhythm, there is a serious message to this one.
The rest of the album is cut from similar cloth, and features impressively catchy and melodic tunes all in Dale’s own inimitable style, an album to relax to and enjoy which I do often!
Dale Newman - Dale Newman for more info : dalenewmanmusic.com
And finally… a first for TWR. I have never wanted to review a single song before, always preferring to write a bit more about albums but I recently encountered the work of a son of a friend of mine by the name of Ben Knight (Make a note of that name folks) . You can find You Tube clips of Ben’s performances in various clubs etc in the Boston MA area but he recently posted a video for his song Curveball and … well to say that this song has become an earworm hardly does it justice. It has, without doubt become one of my favourite songs of recent months. Irritatingly catchy as I said when I first heard it. Ben is an incredibly talented singer/keyboard player and writer and if this is a sample of what he can produce then I for one can’t wait for his first album!