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The Tangent - Not As Good As The Book CD (album) cover


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.87 | 367 ratings

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5 stars Yaye! The Tangent keep stretching the envelope. Whether you like their music or not, you got to give Tillison his due, the man has balls and a singular sense of absurdity to go along with his musical attributes. Putting out another 2 CD affair on the heels of the extremely satisfying "A Place in the Queue", while making more personnel changes in the guitar slot by bringing in the celebrated Jakko Jaszczyk (don't fret it's easy, just pronounce "Yash chick"! who one can admire on the 21st Century Schizoid Band project DVD as well as a long storied list of session jobs) and then Andy also elevating Guy Manning to a larger role ,fully deserved as the guy (again?) is a true musical cascade and then probably having to sell his soul (Yo, Aretha!) to keep Jonas Reingold manning (again that name!) his finest bass, steering the ship in truly progressive oceans. Phew! Sam Baine is not listed on this record, unless she is holding Andy's hands when on the piano, pretty romantic thought, wot! Jaime Salazar and Theo are both back for return visits, comfortably at ease doing such great music and great music this is, now far removed from the more accessible previous recordings. While not as technically practiced as the Flower Kings, the Tangent come across somehow as more homogenous, with less filler material and even less Yessisms and far more wit fueled amusing than our Swedish friends. The inclusion of saxes and flutes are perhaps significant but certainly not as much as the unending "nods and winks" to prog history that is so synonymous with their style. In the past, they have hinted at various Canterbury legends, outright podium-ized "Tales from Topographic Oceans", infused muted Gong references , dabbled into some extended Tangerine Dream areas (jokingly referred to Tangent Dream!), and included history, politics, anti war, social and business commentaries. This singular disposition continues unabated here with a slew of at times off kilter, innuendo laced lyrics that hone in on any subject, taboo or not. Reading lyrics is a must with this crew. Even Microsoft and Captain Kirk are not spared, the words strolling "with Buzz Aldrin on the moon", approaching the Federation Neutral Zone (also known as the -gulp- FNZ) . The first CD is sub-titled "A Crisis in Mid-Life" and leads the listener immediately into the by now familiar Tangent territory: quirky arrangements, replete with twists and turns, fabulous playing from the entire gang, hilarious lyrical content expressed by a "like it or not" vocal delivery and foraging though a jungle of moods and swings that just cannot disappoint. There are no highlight tracks really; everything just flows, keeping in the spirit of the title "Not as Good as the Book", a musical story that starts from some original point and ends somewhere far away. It's a voyage that suggests no chopping, dicing and slicing by the pundits. The playing is monstrously first- rate throughout as on the instrumental extravaganza "Celebrity Mincer" where all the boys get to let their bald spots hang, with a sulfuric Jakko lead followed closely by a "saxual" blast from Theo Travis. "Throwing Metal at the Sky" is the second CD-chapter, featuring 2 massive tracks and displaying very clearly their prog badges of honor. Radio friendly this just plain ain't! In fact, after some intro female vocals, an almost Hawkwindian riff kicks in, a heavier space vibe with vrooming organ leading the warp, the anti-war theme illuminated by the highlights, with Jaszczyk in particular zipping nicely along,! A few overt and luscious Zappaisms add to the gumbo, as "Four Egos, One War" has Julie, Andy, Guy and Jakko all taking lead vocal slots and addressing some very contemporary issues to say the least. B-Zarrr stuff but fun, man! The final suite, "The Full Gamut-A Travelogue" is not the usual CD ending bonus material but more of the same classic tangential expressions of unexpected observations: blitzing organ, piano, e-piano and "Cynthia Size A" work from Andy, who has clearly expanded his mastery over the black & white, rollercoaster sections that challenge gravity and pace, setting up the proverbial flute, guitar or sax intervention at the most opportune time. This is good time prog, totally noncommercial and definitely their best yet. A good musical story, though not as good as the book! We all should like those. A limited edition comes with a huge booklet, so that you can truly indulge in the experience. Fabulous cartoonish artwork is provided by the seemingly pubescent teen-looking Antoine Ettori. A Master Piss. 5 diskdrives.
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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