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Tom Kelly - 2018 - "A Quail's House"

(42:35; 19:35 Productions)


The second of the three albums which have recently been released is in some ways the sibling album to ĎBurnt Peas/The Tolling of St. Johnís Bellsí in that it also contains music which was conceived, recorded and worked in between 1978 and 2000. Although broken into multiple songs and titles, this is in essence designed as one piece of music to be played from start to finish. Again, the artist which one would most associate with this style of music would be Mike Oldfield, but this time as well as Steve Hillage there are also touches of Rick Wakeman, particularly when the piano is being over-ridden by bombastic guitar. It is this combination of instruments which really makes this album what it is, as there is a real understanding of how to put everything together so we may feel we hear Anthony Phillips in one place, just for a few bars, as the guitar is treated in a different manner to before. It is a very clean album, so very easy to listen to, with a wonderful use of space as an additional instrument, which comes through very clearly on linking pieces such as ďThe Wayfarer (Part 2)Ē which commences life just as a piano piece until the guitar takes over. There is again a singular lack of percussion, which gives the music a very distinct sound and feel, but when Tom lets loose on his hard rock solos there is enough structure and force behind it that drums just arenít needed. Choral keyboards work with piano, or rock guitar, or distortion, or mandolin or any combination thereof with the result being a complete piece of work which is a joy from start to end. Musically this is very rooted in the Seventies in many ways, but there is an additional element of simplicity combined with the expected complexity which makes this such an inviting piece of work. It is strange to understand that for one reason or another this music wasnít shared more widely during Tomís lifetime, but thanks to his wife Nickie and bandmate David Hurst it is now available for all of us to enjoy.

Progtector: July 2019


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