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(58:21; Red Bazar)
Only three years on from their last album, the excellent ‘Tales From The Bookcase’, Red Bazar are back with their latest. Mind you, given the workload of keyboard player and singer Peter Jones (who also performs as Tiger Moth Tales, and is a key member of Camel), we are perhaps lucky to have it at all! The band was formed back in 2007 by Andy Wilson (guitar), Paul Comerie (drums) and Mick Wilson (bass, keyboards) and they released their first two albums as instrumentals before changing tack. I still haven’t heard those albums, which I do need to seek out sometime, but they provided the foundation for what has become a very powerful act indeed. With three of the band having been playing and recording together for more than a decade and bringing in a singer-songwriter who is also a multi-instrumentalist who knows his way around a studio, means the stage is set. If the last album was a taster of what they could do together, then this is much more like the main course. Polished neo prog, with nods to the likes of Saga in terms of approach, along with moves into crossover combined with great musicianship and real songs makes this album a delight from the very first play. I was less than a minute into the first playing of the first song when I was sat back with a smile on my face as I knew I was going to enjoy this, really enjoy it, and I did. Here is a band who are technically incredibly capable, as one would expect from anyone tipping a toe into these musical waters, but for the most part they don’t wave it in our faces but concentrate on the song and providing the perfect accompaniment. Take “Rocky Bone Runaway” for example: one could argue that for large parts it is basically Peter singing against some relatively gentle guitar from Andy, but if the listener really concentrates on the parts being performed by both Paul and Mick then they will be surprised as there is an incredible amount of complexity in the background. Then of course there is the chorus, which is commercial in the extreme, almost taking us back to the days of Asia with lush harmonies and hooks to die for. Yet again Red Bazar are proving the prog scene in the UK is as vibrant and exciting as it has ever been, with another great release.
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