Long Earth -
Once Around The Sun

(CD 2020, 66:55, Grandtourmusic GTMCD005)

The tracks:
  1- We Own Tomorrow(8:07)
  2- My Suit Of Armour(5:03)
  3- A Guy from Down The Road(12:00)
  4- What About Love?(4:23)
  5- The Man In The Mirror(4:16)
  6- Once Around The Sun(33:06)
         - I. Spring(5:14)
         - II. Summer(7:41)
         - III. Autumn(7:38)
         - IV. Winter(12:33)

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Website info: Long Earth is a prog rock band from Scotland. Coming together through a series of unexpected but fortunate events, five musicians, some of whom had played together decades earlier in Scottish prog stalwarts Abel Ganz (later singer Alan Reed left to join Pallas), who just wanted to create good music and have fun. By strange coincidence, Mike Baxter, Ken Weir, Gordon Mackie, Renaldo McKim and Hew Montgomery all played at the same Glasgow Festival in the 80s... but in 3 different bands! In 2017 Long Earth released their debut album The Source, proving popular with both prog fans, DJs and rock writers alike, and began building a local audience at their gigs around Glasgow. The Source was a serious statement of intent, showcasing the instrumental and song writing prowess of the band. However, their distinctive identity was not fully formed until the arrival of Martin Haggarty as the band's new vocalist in 2018 during the writing sessions for the second album, the album that was to become Once Around The Sun. On 19 March 2020, the new album Once Around the Sun was released on CD and Download. The band has already started writing new material for a third album.

Listening to this second effort by this reunion of Eighties Neo-proggers I notice that a fair amount of the music contains mellow and romantic atmospheres, especially the very long epic Once Around The Sun: 3 of the 4 parts deliver mainly dreamy music with warm vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar and tender or moving electric guitar, only the end of Part 3 delivers lush Hammond organ and part 2 dynamic Neo-prog with powerful guitar. And the songs My Suit Of Armour, What About Love? and The Man In The Mirror are also between a ballad and mellow melodic rock with warm vocals, and wonderfully coloured with moving guitar and tasteful keyboards. More dynamic and exciting are the opener We Own Tomorrow (obvious hints from early Marillion with a strong break halfway featuring propulsive drumbeats and a sensitive guitar solo) and the epic A Guy From Down The Road (pleasant work on the Hammond C3 and electric guitar).

A nice effort but too often my attention slips away in the many mellow parts. For me the guitar player is the ace on this album with varied guitar work and some excellent fiery soli.

*** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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