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Holding Pattern - Holding Pattern CD (album) cover

HOLDING PATTERN

Holding Pattern

 

Symphonic Prog

3.67 | 22 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Holding Pattern was and remains (let's hope not for too long) an unsung prog hero band from the USA. Back in the second half of the 70s, they created an amazing symphonic prog offering, displaying a strong melodic vibe in their compositions and lots of energy in their performances. Guitarist Tony Spada was obviously the band's musical leader (in fact,, he wrote most of the material), but despite the fact that his instrument is featured in the mix, the band's sound is predominantly focused in the interaction between guitar and keyboard, with the rhythm section providing a solid scheme for that interaction. Their clean melodic approach to prog rock is definitely influenced by Camel, Genesis 76-77/Hackett and Happy the Man's symphonic side, with a touch of Dixie Dregs sans the country factor and an ounce of jazz-prog occasional ornaments in the rhythm section. Their eponymous 1981 EP was their only oficial release before their recent return: the only other HP CD available was "Majestic", released in the early 90s with the EP plus abundant extra material. The performative finesse in this "Holding Pattern" EP is excellent, sharp and polished: that being said, it is regrettable that the sound production is so primitive, but again, we must remember that this was a low-budget band struggling to get noticed in a rock era that was becoming increasingly unfriendly toward anything related to art-rock. The punchy hook of 'Another Point of View' is really irresistible, bearing an attractive feel through its moderately complex structure: imagine classic Camel with a rockier edge and you may have an idea of what I'm referring to. The band's charm remains intact with the next number, 'Honor Before Glory', which pretty much can be described as an exercise in eerie melancholy Hackett-style: I suspect that Steve Hackett's signature piece 'Spectral Mornings' has been a powerful influence in Spada's writing for this one. The agility returns in full swing with 'Jigsaw Dream', which comprises some funky cadences among the symphonic jam that takes place in a most dynamic way: Camel with a touch of Return to Forever's jolliest side. The band's energy is clear and vital in both their explicit and introverted moments, and that's very clever, since it avoids the band to get too mellow for the evocative essence of 'Honor Before Glory'. This EP ends 'Out of the tunnels', a piece that finds the band exploring some subtle Crimsonian nuances (a-al 'Larks' Tongues II') in certain passages, while exploring their rockier side. This is a very recommendable prog item, indeed, and definitely those who come across the "Majesty" CD should purchase it too.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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