The first question that came to mind while listening to this album was “Does disco prog exist”? I'm sure some of the tracks on this album can be categorized as disco prog! All songs are created by Geoffrey Downes (Yes, Asia) and Christopher Braide, who does a lot of songwriting and producing for other well-known artists. Suburban Ghosts is the second album they've made together, and it's a wonderful album! It's a concept album about isolation and loneliness in small town suburbia, a subject that Christopher has experienced himself during his own childhood. You can hear certain themes and lyrics coming back from time to time in some of the songs. The album sleeve looks like it comes from the flashy eighties. The neon like colours, fonts and designs that are used make me happy.
The first song Machinery Of Fate immediately sucks you into an eighties vibe. The synthesiser sounds and the electronic drums really drag you into the world of thirty years ago. Suburban Ghosts Part I and Part II are-according to the CD-one track, which is also the longest track on the album. It sounds like a modern pop song that would fit into today's music charts. Suburban Ghosts Part III is my favourite on the album. The catchy rhythm and the chorus are contagious. Vanity is a ballad with only vocals and piano/ keyboards. Number One could be a great single. The chorus makes you want to sing along. Interlude is the shortest track on the album, and is just slightly longer than a minute (a real'intermission'). It sounded like it could have been more than just an intermission, because there are interesting things happening. North Sea is an up tempo track because of the pushing drums, that also makes me tap my feet. One Of The Few is a calmer track, leaning towards a ballad. Time Goes Fast sounds very poppy, also because of the uplifting beat and the keyboard solo. Live Twice starts actually quite up tempo with its piano part, but later on it becomes more compelling, and even very trance-like. Lee Pomeroy (It Bites, Headspace, Rick Wakeman) provides the bass guitar on Dreaming Of England, and Dave Gregory (XTC, Big Big Train) the splendid guitar solo. It's one of my favourite tracks on the album too as it's a melancholic one, but despite the heaviness it's a superb track. The last song Finale is actually the same as the first song Machinery Of Fate, only instrumental and it's a good outro to end the album with.
This is an album that puts a smile on my face every time I listen to it. The eighties vibe and the modern techniques that are used to make this album are a perfect combination. I give it five out of five stars! The album can be put on as background music as well. Don't forget to wear your neon spandex leggings and use an excessive amount of hairspray while listening to this beauty!
***** Iris Hidding (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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