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(71:25, Jam Recordings)
TRACK LIST: 1. Nobody Like You 4:37 2. Hold On Forever 3:47 3. For Chosen One 5:27 4. Circles 4:17 5. Part of Me/Part of You 5:27 6. The Light 4:47 7. The Solar king 5:37 8. Rise Above 2:47 9. Show Me A Better Way 5:37 10. Journey To The Light 15:57 11. Edge of Forever 5:37 12. The Only Dream 2:37 13. Another Land 3:37 14. Unnamed Track 3:38 LINEUP: Jeremy Morris – vocals; guitars, bass; keyboards Mike Morris – drums, percussion
Prolusion. US composer and musician JEREMY has been and still is a highly visible presence in the US rock scene, making a name for himself among fans of what is often described as power pop as well as psychedelic rock first and foremost. Since his official debut album in 1982 he has released a score of albums as a solo artist in addition to various band and project involvements. "The Solar King" dates back to the start of 2013 according to the CD copyright notice, and was released through Jeremy's own Jam Recordings label.
Analysis. A new album by Jeremy doesn't have too much sensational about it. As he tends to release or feature on multiple albums each calendar year, it's more of a case of an expected treat, I guess, as those who like his music as well as those who get to cover it tend to agree that his albums tend to hold a high and stable quality. "The Solar King" does come with a bit more history to it than most of Jeremy's productions however, as this isn't really a new album. This is actually what was intended to become his debut album some thirty odd years ago, now salvaged from the archives and given a very belated release. Those familiar with Jeremy's music will find many familiar tendencies on this early material recorded by young Jeremy and his brother Mike. Jeremy's trademark voice, complete with a delivery recalling The Beatles and Electric Light Orchestra’s Jeff Lynne for lead vocals and vocal harmonies alike. Steady drums and bass supporting acoustic guitars with careful melodic overlays was a trademark feature back then as well, although perhaps with subtly more of an ELO touch to them than the moods and atmospheres of The Fab Four, and the overall mood and atmosphere not as purebred positive and vibrant as Jeremy's material from later years tends to be. Atmospheric guitar soloing and liberal use of smooth and often symphonic progressive rock inspired keyboard textures are the details that perhaps separates the material of the young Jeremy most from what he does today, as these are a much more common occurrence on "The Solar King". It appears evident that Jeremy does know his Camel, Genesis and Pink Floyd. Occasional guitar details with more of a basis in 70's hard rock are also a feature on this archival production that aren't as commonly utilized on those of his later productions I'm familiar with myself, while the more careful use of psychedelic details might be an element his current fans will miss. It all adds up to a pleasant experience. Title track The Solar King is the standout item for me, with a compact harder edged core that reminded me of the Canadian masters Rush, but apart from that none of the compositions managed to make me take notice big time. Nice songs, good moods, pleasant music sporting enough details and well established moods, but ultimately lacking a distinct edge. The recording quality is obviously a factor too, as material
Conclusion. Fans of Jeremy Morris can safely add "The Solar King" to their list of albums that warrant a purchase. While the music he made back 30 odd years ago isn't the same as the one he makes today, the music comes across as familiar and is generally well made and performed. While the compositions arguably lack the edge Jeremy would develop later on, there's plenty to enjoy still, at least if you're a dedicated fan. Those with a fascination for artists active back in the early 80's who made music with clear inspiration drawn from 70's progressive rock should also find this production to be of interest, but as far as I regard this album, dedicated fans are the ones who will find this CD to be most rewarding.
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