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(45:50; Silver Hunter)
This is the second album from Tim Hunter (guitars, synthesizer, keyboards, sequencing, drums, vocals) and Thierry Sportouche (vocals, flute), following on from 2016’s ‘Mad Moonlighters’. Tim and Thierry are both highly creative and have various different projects on the go. One of Tim’s projects is ‘Northern Soundscapes’ a series of albums about the history of North Yorkshire (which includes the ‘Captain James Cook’s Journeys’ Musical) and ‘Light Engineering’ a pop proto prog studio project. Thierry edits Acid Dragon a fanzine written in English which has been published since 1988, and apart from producing his own radio show (‘Prog a Part’), Thierry also writes short stories and is working on an album with another band he has formed called Caladan, featuring keyboard player Stephen Rivera from Miami, USA. As with the debut, this is a decidedly lo-fi affair, and while they cite Marillion, Alan Parson's Project, Genesis, Todd Rundgren, Jean-Michel Jarre and Toto as influences they are not always that easy to pick up. The use of a drum machine throughout is not as effective as it could be either, while the vocals may not always be what one might expect as both of them have intriguing vocal styles which do not fit in the mainstream. But what makes this album work, as with the original, is that there are some really interesting songs on here, with clever lyrics and thought processes. Take “Unfollow You, Unfollow Me” for example. Any Genesis fan will be prepared to be up in arms over this thinking it is going to be a version of the forty year old classic, but it is actually a statement on social media which works really well, while “The Last Blade of English Grass” also contains strong lyrics and a melody which sticks in the brain. This is not highly polished massively over the top clinical prog, but music which is coming from the heart and while it will not fit in with what most people think of when they think of prog music, imagine this more as an indie prog outfit coming from the late Seventies which would be as happy on Stiff Records as they would on EMI. Alternative and interesting.
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