Ian “Pod” Pearson (guitars, bass, voice, keyboards, drum programming) and Richard “Rich” Memmott (bass, guitars, voice, keyboards, banjo, mandolin) are two Sheffield-based multi instrumentalists, with a love of rock, classic pop, progressive, symphonic and jazz. Now that they have “grown up” (they describe this themselves as being “in their Autumn years”), they finally took the step to commit their music to tape. They formed The Pearson Memmott Conspiracy (PMC for short) in 2015, after decades of playing in cover bands and writing original music both together and separately. Some of their previous bands include acts such as the Prog Doctors, Psi Phi, Zirk Dextron and the Rush tribute band Bravado. They debuted with an EP in 2016, and now there is a new full-length album, The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day, which was released in February 2020. When performing live, the duo is assisted by drummer and percussionist Dean Cousins (of Bravado, Tin Man, Stafford Galli).
Let's take a look (or rather, listen) to the album. We are greeted early on by widdly keys (which neo proggies will love). Despite the gloomy title, Chasing Down The Demons, the tone is upbeat with cheerful vocals. There are some nice guitar and keyboard solos in the second half. Unsure about references to be honest... I hear a bit of Yes in there, but also Jadis and other neo prog groups.
Halo has a gentle start, then there is this riffy part building up power which then evolves into a dreamy jazzy bit, this ends up in another powerful section with widdly keys in the background. Nice variation.
Now That You're Gone has a folky, country tinge. A really mellow song contrasting to the subsequent title track with a driving pace. I hear a bit of Rush in the guitar, which shouldn't be surprising regarding the background of the musicians.
Welcome To One-Six-Oh is the album's longest track and also my favourite. Wonderful lush and soaring synths. There is a dreamy melody line and then some heavy guitar halfway thru the piece with threatening chords. This then flows into a superb David Gilmour-like guitar solo.
Book Of Life is a solid rocker, opening with bluesy riffs and roaring organ. The vocals are lighter and provide a nice contrast to the heavier stuff going on. The track has this cool bass solo halfway through before a guitar solo takes it away. This solo would have done well with Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers. Despite the non-progginess, this is an awfully enjoyable track. Actually, the second half is rather prog in an early 1970s sense.
The poppy Blue Car brings us back to more light-hearted realms, while Smith Haven Mall is very melodic. This song is one of the most beautiful on the CD, and with a lot of depth.
Harbour Walls is a wonderful symphonic piece with lush keyboards, a dreamy bass and a fabulous wandering guitar line that again reminds of David Gilmour. Another favourite from this disc.
One More Year opens with acoustic guitar. It is light-hearted and upbeat with a rhythm that makes you tap your feet. Also the closer of the ordinary album, Rain On The Park, is another very poppy and accessible song.
Overall, this was a very entertaining debut. Fine melodic prog with a potential to cross over into wider audience.
***+ Carsten (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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