[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(66:39, Uranium Club)
TRACK LIST: 1. Hors d'Oeuvre 3:28 2. Bluebird 17:53 3. Pearl Of The Lake 5:10 4. Hallsands 14:18 5. Four-Faced Liar 4:24 6. Houdini 21:26 LINEUP: Nick Jefferson - bass, guitars, keyboards. Al Nicholson - guitars, mandolin, keyboards with: Bill Jefferson - vocals Dorie Jackson - vocals Mike Westergaard - keyboards, piano vocals David Jackson - saxophones, flutes, whistles Phil Gould - drums, percussion Paul Gunn - spoken voice
Prolusion. UK band KAPREKAR'S CONSTANT basically revolves around the talents of Nick Jefferson and Al Nicholson. To give life to their creations they assembled a collective of musical friends, and the end result of this became the album "Fate Outsmarts Desire" which was released through fledgling label Uranium Club in early 2017.
Analysis. What we have here is a band, or collective if you like, that explore a rather typical English variety of progressive rock. One that draws upon the legacy of some of the giants, but perhaps even more from the vintage era bands that never got to be universally known household names in the business. Music rather more atmospheric laden than technical, more soothing and relaxing than demanding and challenging. The word pastoral can be underlined. Wandering acoustic guitars and wandering piano motifs tend to alternate in the songs and in between the songs as the lead instrument proper, the core around which everything else appears to revolve. Shimmering symphonic backdrops is a staple throughout, as are atmospheric laden floating keyboard and organ structures. The saxophone stars as the element that adds a firmer, rougher contrasting element, while the flute combines nicely with the guitar to emphasize the pastoral elements whenever it's used. Harder edged riffs appear now and then to add a firmer touch, and the arrangements will often segue over from a sparse, pastoral sequence into a smooth but layered and majestic arrangement that emphasize the emotional impact. Otherwise a few jazz-tinged details appears here and there, and there's a light seasoning of Celtic details as well. And used liberally throughout are sequences of spoken words, giving the impression of being sampled from old news reels or similar sources, adding a strong historic feel to the proceedings. The album experience as such revolves around the three epic length creations, the shorter tracks serving as introductions or pauses prior to each of them. A system that works well I should add, as a fifteen to twenty minute trek is somewhat demanding in itself, just about no matter how strong the actual composition is. While I do find this band to be a competent and talented one, able to create some stunning music and surprisingly well made material, the letdown for me are the lead vocals. The manner in which I listen to music, where I hear the vocals as one more instrument, they appear to be just a slight bit off most of the time, not in harmony with the instruments. Which for me at least then becomes detrimental to the total experience. Just how sensible you are to such issues will have a lot to say about whether or not this CD will come across as a good one, obviously. There are exceptions here though, with Pearl of the Lake and the massive Houdini - King of Cards both creations where the vocals sit tight and feel right on just about all levels throughout.
Conclusion. Those fond of what to me at least comes across as archetypal English progressive rock, complete with pastoral sequences, shimmering symphonic textures and a fairly mellow, atmospheric laden expression as a key feature throughout, those are the persons that should take note of this band and lend them an ear. The vocals will perhaps be something of a divisive factor, depending on personal taste, but I can easily see this album one that will make it into may people's lists of personal favorites from 2017.
Progmessor: December 29th, 2017
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]