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The Tangent - A Place In The Queue CD (album) cover

A PLACE IN THE QUEUE

The Tangent

 

Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 251 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars Hard to write a short review for such a mastodon. But "And the beat goes on", as would so often boldly state Uncle Frank! The Tangent are prolific buggers, this third album surprising many a prog pundit with some more colossal artwork from the genial Ed Udetsky, the drum stool switch from Csörsz to Salazar (Flower Kings reversed!) with Stolt yielding to Krister Jonsson of Karmakanik fame. As long as "basso supremo" Jonas Reingold (one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet) steers the ship, you just know it can't be crap. Theo Travis continues his impressive work on his assorted flute/sax/recorders arsenal. Reading the copious liner notes (How I used to adore that, back in the glory days!) makes this an even more entertaining adventure; bless your heart Andy, dedicating this to Yes' "Tales from Topographic Oceans"! My jaw has rolled under some distant table, would you kindly fetch it, love? "In Earnest" blasts off on a 20 minute historical antiwar voyage that sets the tone tout de suite, discussing the good ole days when life seemingly mattered and yet where World War II had altered the universe by nuking it twice! The playing is exceptional, the mood breathtaking with plenty of piano, flute and sizzling guitar. Hey, this is music that you can sink your mind into. Reingold proudly displays the chops that make him the premier prog bassist today. The quirky autobiographical "Lost in London" emits a complete Caravan/Hatfield aroma, funny music biz lyrics really alluding to Falklands/Irak , flute ablaze and a refreshing ditty that elicits an instrumental intermezzo with a wonky synth solo, some playful organ rips, very Canterbury until a flute flight returns to the story with aplomb. "DIY Surgery" is a brief Travis composition that showcases a wild sax solo, hinting at some Mel Collins type wanderings. "GPS Culture" mocks the mindless technology that we absent mindedly rely on to further dilute our intellect (the innuendo -laden "We sample culture in small spoons") and the unending futility of it all. It's about time some musician other than Steve Wilson attacks our mores (or lack thereof)! Not too many can wield grim humor (an allegedly very Brit/Scot/Irish pastime) with such verve. Another Canterbury female vocal choir adds some charming touches here, with a fluid Jonsson lead to send the message home. The excellent "Follow Your Leaders" is clearly anti-Bush (yeah, what else is new?), because by 2005 it was clear to everyone that way too many apathetic people were silent/ blind or worse, indifferent. Hey, a little angry rebellion is what made Rock music into a force! As Admiral Marko Ramius tells Ryan at the end of "Red October": "A little revolution from time to time is a good thing". A speed bopping bass and a whopping guitar solo are unexpected highlights here. Yummy! "The Sun in My Eyes" is a breezy affair sounding a tad like Flash & the Pan, laced with more irony ("Or Get my head kicked in for liking Yes, instead of Suzi Quatro or the Rubettes"). Priceless stuff. The title track is a 25 minute epic extravaganza that encompasses what makes The Tangent such a special prog unit: great music, fantastic lyrics, a sumptuous trip that literally takes you somewhere, telling a story like a good book or movie should and captivating the listener's attention, groovin' to the sounds, foot a tappin' and booklet in hand, a true personal pleasure bubble. By the time this piece is done, if you are not in Prog Heaven, then your attention span and prog sensibilities have been corrupted. "Call me a doctor, fetch me a policeman" said the Tullster. Yet the Travis sax solo is agonizingly good. The subsequent guitar blast is stunning. The music just flows from segment to segment, avoiding dead air space, relentlessly pushing the buttons. Tillison and Manning conspire vocally to take this well beyond your average prog epic. Baine's piano consistently shines, whether in unison with the others or on her own. Every one gets a turn at sprinkling their identities without sounding like solo or session sidemen , ending on a "Nous sommes du soleil" hint. Bravo. The bonus CD contains more of the same stuff, no filler ("No speck of cereal for my dog") but the finale is worth mentioning, "Potato Salad in a Submarine " is a dreamier excursion beyond the Tangent and into spacier realms, showing off Tillison's obvious encyclopedic knowledge for music that has "music" as the main ingredient, eschewing glamour, fad, kindergarten sing-along choruses and product wrappings. As with the surprising Tangerine Dream-dedicated "Exponenzgesetz" closing off the previous "The World We Drive Through", this extended instrumental piece languorously addresses organic ambient landscapes with Tillison synths and Travis flute propelling the mood ever forward, proving again that these are musicians , not "artistes". I love this kind of musical attitude. 4 "take a number"s
tszirmay | 4/5 |

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