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(49:51; White Knight Records)
I found myself smiling when I was looking at the musicians who make up Last Flight To Pluto, as the man at the back is none other than Daz Joseph who I first came across more than quarter of a century again when he was a member of Welsh progsters Ezra. I still have the two demo tapes they recorded prior to their first CD, I wonder what the blackmail market is for music like that? The rest of the band is vocalist/guitarist Alice Freya, guitarists Jack Parry and Ryan Barnard with bassist Jay Lewis Kreft. During the recording of the album they felt they really needed a keyboard player to help broaden the sound on the song “Masheena” so Daz turned to his old Ezra colleague Rob Reed (who I always think of Cyan, but most people will know from Magenta). Rob was so impressed he asked to hear the rest of the album, and then signed them to his own label. Apparently, the band has a manifesto, which is ‘Modern prog with an old school vibe’. Looking at their Facebook page it is interesting to see their banner photo shows three guitarists and a bassist plus drummer, this is certainly not going to be what many people think of as prog. To be honest, this album should have come out 25 years ago, as what we have here is solid neo-prog, and with the heavy use of guitars (while never being a heavy band) they are fairly close to what was being delivered by Final Conflict in their heyday. The huge difference of course are the vocals of Alice Freya, who has a somewhat unusual style to which I warmed to very quickly indeed. Her voice seems quite fragile and thin, but she imbues it with power and never misses her notes, performing some vocal gymnastics. Combined with background harmony vocals and great hooks, this is quite some album. It is modern, and although it doesn’t look much further back than the Nineties, it is taking that scene and bringing it right smack up to date. Incredibly commercial, easy to listen to and enjoy from the very first hearing, this is very much a name to look out for. They are heading over to the States for Progtoberfesr later this year, so they are already being recognised overseas and rightly so. This is a really enjoyable album from start to end. Definitely worth seeking out.
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