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Grand Stand - In the Middle, On the Edge CD (album) cover


Grand Stand


Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 31 ratings

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4 stars Seemingly dismissed by some as nothing more than unfinished Genesis-style demos, this debut from Swedish band Grandstand deserves, at the very least, a little deeper analysis that will lead to eventual outright respect. Had the nay-sayers spent a little effort in reading the short liner notes (that may be in itself a huge endeavor), they would have noticed the immediate and rather effusive tribute the musicians have expressed in dedicating this work to those prog idols that have inspired them. First conclusion: this is a personal, very non-commercial musical thank you, with kudos and winks to Yes, Genesis, The Flower Kings, Kaipa and Spock's Beard, with no vocals at all, thus eliminating any potential accusation of overt cloning or humdrum repeats of days of yore. Second conclusion: with such obvious working titles as "The Trees and the Chopping Nutcracker", the galloping " Condor and the Java Cup", the puzzling "Triumphant Forest going Frenzy" (sic) and enigmatic "Resting in the Eye of the Riot", there is ample room to take a critical step back, breathe in the air, crack a smile and mellow the bile emanating from the PC keyboard (used to be ink, once long ago!). Keyboardist Olov Andersson and drummer Tomas Hurtig deserve a little recognition (especially in light of the brilliance of their next album "The Tricks of Time") for doing something for sheer FUN! We proggers have this sad tendency of being a little too scientific and rigorous of our genre's expectations and in serious need of a little levity on occasion (thankfully Fish and Tull in a live setting do infuse prog with some humor and even FUN ). And if some do claim this to be "pseudo Genesis outtakes" that were left "unfulfilled", well its way damn better than anything the glory band has done since "Winds and Wuthering". In fact, from the opening notes, it becomes abundantly clear that "In the Middle, On the Edge" is an EXCELLENT instrumental album that has given this relaxed reviewer many a thrill, perhaps even more than the pure symph-prog of "Tricks". Olov is perhaps not as accomplished as Emerson, Fritz, Wakeman or Banks but his solos simply dance over the ivories with utter dexterity and languid passion. Drummer Hurtig keeps a steady propulsive drive throughout. This is not a polished classic but all the tracks are consistently appealing and if "Colbank Hackford" would have authored this gem, it would be have pleased countless incredulous fans and Supper would have been served! We all have our "out of leftfield" favorites, this is one of mine. I had lost this when moving out and about to repurchase it when my "gracious" ex-wife was kind enough to return it to me. You see what FUN can do? 4 reprieves
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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