The history of the UK-based progressive rock act Drifting Sun dates back to the early 90s. Their eponymous debut album appeared in 1996 and I still own a copy of it. On it you can hear music which can be labelled as neo progressive rock with elements which are taken from hard rock. Anyway, that's how I remember this fine album with only great compositions on it. Strangely enough I never got a copy of its successor, On The Rebound. Which I regretted, but sometimes you get lucky when you least expect it. The comeback of the band in 2015 and the release of two brand new albums Trip The Life Fantastic (2015, see review) and Safe Asylum (2016, see review) probably made founding member and keyboard player Pat Sanders decide to come up with a reissue of the bands second studio album.
Pat asked me if I was interested in reviewing the all-new, remixed and remastered edition of On The Rebound. Of course I couldn't refuse this offer and soon it landed in my CD player. Along with an original copy of this album, so I was able to compare both. I soon found out that this is more than just another remastered release. They have literally stripped the original recording down to basics and painstakingly rebuilt it to give it a new lease of life, and it can certainly be heard, a more crystal clear sound than to the original version.
Compared to the band's debut the line up has changed dramatically. Besides Sanders on keyboards, bassist Manu Sibona is in the band, along with Chris Martini on lead vocals, John Spearman on guitars and Tobin Bryant on drums.
However this did not lead to a complete change of style, you can still label them as a neo progressive rock act. But the elements which were taken from hard rock are less prominent. Also, the seven compositions are of the same high quality as on their debut. Going through each track separately is something I will not do this time around. Highlights? Of course, one or two tracks stood out for me, favourites being the last two tracks on the album. Namely Minstrel and Mon Masque. Epic pieces of music with a lot of strong performances on guitars and keyboards.
Those who own the band's last two releases Trip The Life Fantastic and Safe Asylum will most certainly enjoy On The Rebound as well. Although they are not recorded with exactly the same line up, the sound and musical style remains throughout the entire album as it was in the 1990s. This is of course a testament to Pat Sanders, who despite the break up, the comeback and many line up changes, stayed true to his beloved style of music, which will be appreciated by those who are into bands such as Marillion, Fish, Pendragon and IQ. So, after waiting seventeen years I finally got to hear the follow up to the band's eponymous debut album, which probably will be next to get the total make over! As for On The Rebound, it was worth the wait. Because it's never too late to enjoy some great music. Which is all over the place on this release!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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