Flamborough Head - Looking For John Maddock

(CD 2009, 52:28, Cyclops Records Cycle 170)

The tracks:
  1- The Garden Pond(05:31)
  2- Sleepless Night(06:57)
  3- Spring(05:23)
  4- Waste Of Time(06:30)
  5- Don't Forget Us(08:21)
  6- Looking For John Maddock(19:42)

Flamborough Head Website        samples        Cyclops Records

Sometimes history repeats itself. In 2000, Flamborough Head (FH) released Defining The Legacy, their second album and next they said farewell to their guitarist Andrť Cents and to singer and keyboardist Siebe Rein Schaaf. After the recording of this masterpiece - I gave the album the highest rating of five stars - the band had to look out for a new singer and a new guitar player, who could play Andrťís parts live on stage. They found guitarist Eddie Mulder and singer Margriet Boomsma as excellent substitutes, but their participation also changed the bandís musical direction on One For The Crow (2002) and Tales Of Imperfection (2005).

In 2008, Eddie Mulder also decided to leave the band in order to start the neo-progressive rock band Leap Day together with the current FH-drummer Koen Roozen. You can still enjoy his fine guitar playing in The Pink Floyd Project as well. Just as Andrť Cents did on Defining The Legacy, Eddie left a musical legacy behind on the brand-new FH-album Looking For John Maddock. Meanwhile the new guitarist Gert Polkerman replaced Eddie live on stage. Gert proves to be a good choice since he is able to play all the great emotional solos composed by Eddie.

During several live performances, we already could listen to some tracks of Looking For John Maddock. For instance, the excellent instrumental piece Donít Forget Us, with strong Camel references, and Sleepless Night. The latter track, the second one on the album, starts with a fine synthesizer solo done by Edo Spanninga. The mellotron sound on this track is very enjoyable as well. However, Eddie Mulder dominates this song with his fine electric guitar melodies. It is one of the three songs, on which Margriet Boomsma shows her vocal talents. On the three instrumental tracks The Garden Pond, Spring and Donít Forget Us, she gets all the room to express her wonderful playing on different flutes. The same tracks also leave a lot of room for some awesome guitar and synthesizer solos. What strikes me most, however, is the regular use of the organ throughout the album. It seems that Edo Spanninga has discovered this fine instrument again.

Eddie Mulder wrote the first five tracks of the new album, sometimes together with Margriet Boomsma. Those songs definitely show how bands like Camel and Pink Floyd influenced the music of FH. To me, those five songs sound differently compared with the titletrack on the album written by Edo and Margriet. This long piece of music really is something special. You might say that the band cross the boundaries of progressive rock music here. Looking For John Maddock starts in a high gear followed by beautiful emotional playing on recorder and electric guitar. Next, an orchestral keyboard takes over leading to romantic piano playing. Margrietís lyrics tell us that life seems quite simple when you are young, but life goes on and, whether you like it or not, good and bad things come your way. Friends may come and friends may go, but perhaps they return someday. The music beautifully corresponds to these thoughts. Sometimes we hear echoes of David Gilmourís steel guitar, at other times we recognize the melodic tunes of Andy Latimer. From time to time, the keyboards sound like an orchestra, but I can hear the spirit of the late Pete Bardens as well. Mr. Spanninga can hardly deny that he listened to Camel a great deal.

Looking For John Maddock is a very good album for everyone who is into neo progressive rock music. I enjoyed this musical farewell gift from Eddie a lot!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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