The Tangent return with their tenth album and it's a definite return to form after the for me disappointing The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery (2017, see review). There are five tracks and a bonus track which is an excerpt from Andy Tillisons Kalman Filter album. The Tangent have been touring with Karmakanic as Tangakanic and this album has been put together on the road during sound checks, hotel rooms etc. It has given them time to expand ideas and produce a fully coherent record.
Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery was a political album that Andy holds no excuses for. The title track of this album is also political and talks about various wars being carried out by proxy. It is sixteen minutes of swirling Hammonds and soaring synths with some nice guitar work by Luke Machin. An instrumental follows that has a nice Spanish feel to it in a jazz vein. The first part wouldn't feel out of place in a hotel lobby but it soon moves on to The Tangents trademark sound of rich keyboards. The third track would not feel out of place on a Donald Fagen LP. A nice groove sets the tempo for this song and sets us up for the highlight of this album.
Let's not forget that this is a prog album. But I am getting sick and tired of genre labeling these days. People are more concerned about what genre a band should be put into than the actual music itself. Back in the early seventies (the so called golden age of progressive rock) it was either Rock Music or Pop music. Deep Purple, Genesis, Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead. It was all Rock. Progressive Rock was a term invented for more challenging types of music played by virtuoso musicians. Look on any prog Facebook page and all you see is folk asking if so and so band is prog. Who cares? If you like it you like it. If you don't, move on. Why am I going on about this? The Adulthood Lie incorporates EDM. Electronic Dance Music. And what a fantastic track it is. I would go as far as to say this song is one of the most exciting things I have heard in a long long time. The album is worth the money just for this track alone. It pulses with energy. There are two parts. In the first Andy sings of lost opportunities around the time of the Ibiza revolution. The second part is about being young and then losing all that you loved. The chorus is to die for. This is prog you can dance to and I have heaved these old bones around the room embracing the sheer enjoyment this song produces. The final song is a reworking of a song that appeared on a bonus album a few years back that Andy wanted to re record and he takes it to another level. The band on this album are as ever exceptional. They are Andy Tillison (Po90/Kalman Filter) vocals, lyrics, keyboards, composer, Jonas Reingold (Flower Kings/Steve Hackett Band) bass guitar, Theo Travis (Soft Machine/Travis-Fripp) sax and flute, Luke Machin (Maschine/Francis Dunnery Band) guitar, Steve Roberts (ex Magenta/Godsticks) drums. With special guest: Goran Edman (Karmakanic, ex Yngwie Malmsteen band) on vocals.
If you already like The Tangent you will be delighted with this album. If you have never heard them before or you want to hear something different, I heartily recommend this album. Contender for studio album of the year.
***** Dave Smith
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