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(62:26, Door 13 Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Tygerland 3:39 2. Cyanide 4:47 3. Orange Sky 6:03 4. War Child 9:09 5. Limelight 5:22 6. Razorwire 7:47 7. Into the Indigo 5:23 8. Windsong 20:16 LINEUP: Cary Grace – vocals; guitars; synthesizers John Garden – guitars; keyboards Steffe Sharpstrings – guitars David Payne – drums Andy Budge – bass With: Catriona Shaw – trumpet, saxophone Graham Clark – violin Mark Griffin – drums Owain Hutchings – guitars Spencer Cullum Jr. – pedal steel
Prolusion. British artist Cary GRACE first appeared back in 2004 with her debut album "Book of Rhymes", and has since been a feature in the UK rock scene, issuing new material at a steady pace. "Tygerland" is her sixth and so far most recent studio album, released in 2015 through the UK indie label Door 13 Music.
Analysis. The UK has a fairly extensive scene for artists exploring the various kinds and degrees of psychedelic rock, and Cary Grace is an artist residing in the more progressive oriented part of that landscape. First and foremost because her take on this style of music, at least as it is presented on "Tygerland", is one that has a fair deal of variation to it and also comes across as rather innovative. That being said, something of a red thread throughout this album is the sounds of vintage psychedelic rock, with a certain ‘60s to early ‘70s atmosphere a fairly recurring feature. Most often as a part of a greater totality, where this aspect has more of a subservient role, but those nods back to the golden age of psychedelic rock appear to be something of a red thread throughout this production. It is everything else that is added in that makes the recording a more vital and refreshing experience, however. Just about every song takes us into new landscapes in the psychedelic and, indeed, cosmic universe of Cary Grace. From the cosmic electronic sounds and timbres on opening and title track Tygerland to the blend of vintage psychedelic rock, southern rock and space rock on the following Cyanide, the gliding keyboards and guitar effects dominating Orange Sky, the use of jazz-tinged elements on War Child and Limelight, the new wave tinged driving bass line on Razorwire and the more folk music aspects enhanced by way of violins on Into the Indigo. And then there's Windsong, a 20-minute long mammoth construction initially consisting of elegant floating sounds and spoken words, seguing over to quite a few different types of arrangements along the way up to and including some frenzied abrasive psychedelic noisescapes before developing back to a gentle concluding phase. Elegant is something of a key word for this album, with the slightly cold, tightly controlled vocals of Cary Grace leading the way. As far as psychedelic and space rock goes, this is a production that comes across as well-planned in all aspects, without any obvious escapades into improvisation-based sequences. Not that I would swear on my life that there aren't any improvised sections here, but the music itself doesn't come across as it is so. Instead, this appears to be a creation that has been developed with care and affection from start to finish.
Conclusion. The psychedelic rock scene appears to be a vital and productive one at present, at least from what I can see, and those with an interest in the more progressive rock and space rock oriented aspects of that universe are probably aware of Cary Grace already. If not, this is an artist that does merit a first and second look, and as far as I'm concerned, "Tygerland" should be a good starting point to operate out from to become familiar with her material.
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