Freedom To Glide, or f2g as they occasionally style themselves is the result of a collaboration between Pete Riley (keyboards) and Andy Nixon (vocals, guitars, bass and everything else), two members of the British Pink Floyd tribute act Dark Side Of The Wall. This release, Seed is the concluding part of their anti-war trilogy begun in 2013 with Rain (see review) and continued with Fall (see review) in 2016.
Now if there's a more prosaic introduction to a piece of art, I'd like to see it, but there is method in my madness. Having got the formalities out of the way, I have to say that this is the best thing I have heard on this subject in a long, long time, and already one of my favourite albums period. The concept of this album is to describe the experience of deploying on military operations through the eyes of one soldier. Although it is set in 1918, the experience as any soldier can tell you (I was one for 30 years) is universal, and observationally it is spot on. The tone is measured, never hysterical or dropping into the cliché-ridden traps which have beset other artists. f2g brilliantly expose the trepidation, excitement and belief, turning through mistrust in the military and political leaders, respect and camaraderie amongst combatants, even on opposing sides, and ultimately finding the shining belief that the seeds of war with their deadly payload can be turned into the Seed Of Hope. This last, culminating track is tellingly sung by a woman (Louise Wilson) as the widow, May, the child she carries offering hope, although she can see none. The song picks up the plaintive tone of the opening short track and like its protagonist, it is cut short.
What is between these two bookends is musically outstanding, lyrical, melodic, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and respectfully delivered. I don't really want to dissect individual tracks because it is only understood as a full experience with no certainty, no platitudes, capturing the psychological and physical impact and the tragedy of war. The cover art speaks well enough, a sea of waving human hands reach out to an individual. There is potential for hope, but it is the space between which is captured, and which f2g evoke so well, both lyrically and musically.
Mea culpa, I had never heard of this duo before being sent this copy. I will certainly be searching back through the previous parts of the trilogy and anything else I can get my hands on, and I would urge anyone else who likes strong melodic prog to do the same. This really does deserve a wider audience.
***** Andrew Cottrell
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