After three studio albums Mirror Of Insanity (2004), Gentry (2005) and Human Trafficking (2007), the Canadian formation Red Sand released their first DVD recorded in Quebec during the Human Trafficking-tour 2007. The acoustic set was recorded at the Resto-Bar, Beaugarte in 2006.
Red Sand’s sound is firmly rooted in the early Marillion tradition. Especially guitarist Simon Caron often plays similar to Steve Rothery with frequent howling runs and the use of the tremolo. Sometimes however, he sounds more in the vein of Andy Latimer like in the Camel inspired Lost, a beautiful song that contains wonderful interplay between the guitar and the piano. The more bombastic parts in Human Trafficking and Submissive, both layered with compelling mellotron sounds, come close to the final parts in the Marillion epics Chelsea Monday and Forgotten Sons. Blame reminds me of Market Square Heroes : very catchy and enthusiastic. Despite the many echoes from early Marillion, Red Sand plays inspired and with passion, so never mind. Their fans love it!
The voice of singer Stéphane Dorval sounds like a blend of Peter Gabriel and Fish. In Human Trafficking, he wears a police costume, in Submissive a mask and a red cap and in Blame a straitjacket. However, his acts are more subdued, less theatrical than those of Gabriel and Fish. Dorval does the announcements in French, but he sings the lyrics in English with an explicit French accent.
The unplugged session contains four compositions: Loving Child, World, Cradle and Gentry. They only last fifteen minutes and sound beautiful and romantic featuring inspired vocals, delicate piano work and warm acoustic guitar. Especially the rendition of Gentry is great with a fine guitar solo.
This DVD is not optimal in terms of recordings and visuals. Nevertheless, it demonstrates Red Sand’s tasteful early Marillion inspired sound with emotional guitar work and wonderful mellotron waves.
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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