The Tirith -
Return Of The Lydia

CD, 2022, 66:20,)

The tracks:
  1- The Return Of The Lydia(12:53)
  2- Dying To Live(10:33)
  3- My People(9:38)
  4- Go The Drifter(4:56)
  5- Crystalwell(11:39)
  6- The Uncertainty Principle(6:15)
  7- The Meeting Of The Ways(10:23)

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Released last year, Return Of The Lydia is the third studio album by British band The Tirith who were founded originally in 1971 by guitarist Tim Cox and bass player/vocalist Richard Cory. Completing the line-up now is drummer Paul Williams.

The title track harks back to a sci fi theme from their first album Tales From The Tower on which a band of privateers take an aged spaceship for a trip across the galaxy.
The story involves a tower and key, the band finally crashing back to Earth in their craft The Lydia and finally appreciating the planet for what it is.
The title track starts the album, Cox's sonorous guitar ringing out over the sparse musical landscape before Cory comes in to take up the story. The central part is called What Do You Say To An Alien? It also contains the immortal lines: “What do you say to an alien if you're lost for words? Hello, my name is Mike and I'm here to take your world.” Quite! The other feature of this song is its huge Rush influence which takes over midway through.
However, the outstanding track Dying To Live comes immediately afterwards. With chords reminiscent of Saga and a melody line that recalls Willow Farm from Genesis' Supper's Ready, it's a tour de force with brilliant dark vocal harmonies and dramatic impact. Apparently, it's about Cuba - and it's amazing.
My People returns to the storyline, this song a much airier, more commercial sounding song on which both acoustic and electric guitars drive the melody line. Past band member Anthony Hill guests on this track with a delightful piano section to end it.
Rockier and raunchier, Go The Drifter is the album's shortest and dates back to the 70s incarnation of the band. It has a real Led Zeppelin feel to it, a style which really suits them.
Changing the groove again, Crystalwell is the other stand-out track, which is loosely based on the 18th century poem, The Well Of St Keyne by Robert Southey. It is a cautionary folk tale for married couples. Tinkling synths start and end the song that features some great guitar breaks from Cox.
The Uncertainty Principle is all about modern life. Again, it's a powerfully driven song with big riffs and an insistent strong rhythm from Williams.
The Meeting Of The Ways brings it to an uplifting conclusion, the journey now over but with more twists and turns, Cox's guitar sounding triumphant along the way.

The Tirith, as a band, is an interesting proposition. It's an album that needs repeat plays to appreciate some of its qualities especially on the lyrical and storytelling side.

**** Alison Reijman

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