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One of the problems in living at the end of the world, is that unless one has enough money to purchase overseas magazines at exorbitant rates, or spends valuable reviewing time searching out new bands, then I can often be late when it comes to discovering acts. So this is why in 2019 I am reviewing the 2017 second album of a band who released their debut four years earlier. It is the project of John Young, a musician I have reviewed multiple times before in other bands (Greenslade, Qango etc), and it is only he and drummer Martin Beedle (Cutting Crew, and principle drummer for “Mamma Mia!”) who made it through to the second. Here they have been joined by Dave Bainbridge (Iona and others, one of my favourite musicians) and Jon Poole (Cardiacs, The Wildhearts – if you ever see a copy of his solo Zappa tribute album ‘What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?’ then grab it, it is brilliant). So even before putting this on I had very high hopes indeed. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. John is known as a side man of some repute (he is touring as part of Bonnie Tyler’s band as I write this), but it is something of a surprise that he isn’t more widely known in his own right and as this is a beautiful album, with very strong vocals. It is delicate, temporal, and far more in keeping with Dave’s band than Jon’s, with vocals at the front and centre with superb arrangements keeping everything moving. All these guys have been around, all know what they are doing, and have relaxed into an album that is a sheer delight from start to end. There are again some guest guitarists on the album in the likes of Robin Boult (Fish), Menno Gootjes (Focus) and Niko Tsonev, and their solos are used with care, providing additional nuances and dynamics when required. This is a very songs-based progressive rock album, and can be played repeatedly, and bring a smile to the face each and every time. The guys are all playing with each other and for each other, as opposed to showing off their musical skill and dexterity, which they all have in spades. The only advantage of coming across an album a few years after it was released is that hopefully it will soon be time for the next one! Please!
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