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I have been singing the praises of this band for well in excess of twenty-five years now, quarter of a century, where does the time go? This album is the follow-up only 18 years after the first ‘Medium Rare’, and as with that one includes rare live versions, remixes, and some songs which make their appearance for the first time. Although the band had been involved in the scene for quite some time before 1992’s ‘More Than Meets The Eye’, that was the album which really every sit up and pay attention. Gary Chandler has of course been the singer and guitarist with the band since their inception some ten years earlier while drummer Stephen Christey made his debut with the band on that release and has been a constant presence ever since. Then there is the small matter of the keyboard player. Martin Orford is one of my very favourite musicians in the scene, as well as one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet – we used to spend many hours on the phone back in the day. He was there for that album as well, although he has since left and re-joined Jadis a few times for various reasons, but he is there now and something special happens when he and Gary are left to their own devices as anyone who has ever seen any of their infamous duo shows will attest to. Mr Bass, John Jowitt, has also been in and out a few times and is no longer with the band, and bass on most of this collection is by the current incumbent Andy Marlow who has been resident for the last two studio albums. Artwork is again by Geoff Chandler, while the booklet contains full details of where each song came from, as well as copious photos. This isn’t an album to recommend to someone who has yet to come across Jadis, there are plenty of others which can do that better (I still have ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ on my iPhone, and my ringtone is a snippet of “Wonderful World”), but for those who already know the music this is a delight. Christey is an incredibly powerful drummer, who ties it down while also providing plenty of fills, the bass is the platform on which the band builds, and then at the front is Gary and Martin. Martin is a great singer in his own right, remember he fronted IQ after Paul Menel left and before Peter returned, and his harmonies are a delight, while he is simply one of the best keyboard players around. Then added to that is Gary’s vocals and that guitar. He once said to me that whatever equipment he uses it somehow always sounds the same, a distinct tenor so that if I heard a couple of bars of a song for the first time, I would always know who it was. This self-released digipak is a delight for the fan, allowing them to revisit some older songs in a new light as well as hearing something a little different. That “Your Own Special Way” sounds almost as if it could be an original is certainly no surprise to anyone who knows them. I was playing this album the other day, at the same time as I have was having a conversation on Messenger with Opher from Solstice Coil, and it was almost as if the years since I came to NZ in 2006 had all dropped away and I was back running Feedback again. Jadis. Timeless. Brilliant.
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