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The Urbane - Glitter CD (album) cover


The Urbane


Crossover Prog

3.13 | 11 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars The Urbane is the band that was formed as Fake Smile by guitarist/vocalist John Mitchell prior to him being asked to join Arena. Fake Smile changed their name to The Urbane and their debut album was released on Verglas in 1999. Although John is still very busy with Arena, The Urbane have been touring and have now released their second album. Given the sort of material that he plays in Arena, this is very different indeed. While some may point to Radiohead as a possible influence, this is much more punky with real attitude and more in the way of indie guitars and melodies. John has a strong singing voice, and isn't afraid to let the music move around and change in a way that many guitar bands won't do. In "12" there are times when it is delicate and thoughtful while at others it is full on Manics.

This contradiction in styles is bound to find The Urbane fans that won't have heard of Arena, which could well be in their favour. Anyone thinking that this is a prog band due to both John's involvement and the label will be very surprised. The title track could be a lost number from Blur! Not really the sort of material expected from the co-writer of 'Contagion'. Another surprise is the choice of cover to be found half-way through the CD, a version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time". It really suits John's voice and the band's arrangement is delicate (apart from the chorus where they let rip) and it really works.

This may not be another prog album from John, but is a strong piece of work which is varied and interesting. Strong melodies and guitars will help this to appeal to a wide audience.

Originally appeared in Feedback #78, April 2004

kev rowland | 3/5 |


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