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Lands End - The Lower Depths CD (album) cover

THE LOWER DEPTHS

Lands End

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.62 | 24 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars I have been a fan of Lands End since their very first album, the charming and very sincere "Pacific Coast Highway" back in 1993, despite certain amateurish tendencies when compared to the technologically wealthy powerhouse legend, Pink Floyd. This multi-national musical friendship has made some wonderful albums since, namely Terra Serranum (1995) and Natural Selection (1996). But keeping together a French Canadian drummer, a Brazilian guitarist, an American singer and a transplanted Brit keyboard-bassist is not an easy chore what with family and day-job obligations. Hence, too many quiet years went by with sheer silence from these talented musicians but in 2005, the wait was finally worth it with this extensive 2 CD that has revived their status as ongoing prog stalwarts. The first CD "The Lower Depths" considers the latest configuration of Lands End bringing in some fine outside help such as inventive vocalist Cathy Alexander of The Morrigan, guitar slingers Bruce Soord of Pineapple Thief/Vulgar Unicorn and Steve Anderson from Sphere in replacement of Francisco Neto. Over an hour of masterful compositions, with two long epics liberally featuring all the newbies, first with the glittering modern prog of "Digital Signatures" starring Hunter's signature key work, weaving a simply astonishing Alexander vocalization and a typical dastardly Soord solo, as well as "A New World Order", a 24 minute three piece suite that would make a Saville Row tailor blush, chock full of artistic prowess from all the players, spotlight firmly aimed at Steve Anderson's slowly building and sizzling guitar circle ("It's musical haute couture, madame Progue"). There is little here to dislike for the same consistent reasons as before: the noncommercial, very personal adventure continues with the same aplomb, worthy of our patience. Even the shorter pieces exude a distinct quality that certainly strikes a deep chord, such as the unbridled moody simplicity of "Behind the Iron Gates", the psychedelic-pop dreaminess of "Why Should I?" oddly penned by Neto and singer Jeff McFarland both of whom do not appear on the track, replaced by supremely talented Bruce Soord or even the melancholic "Hope Springs Eternal" with its endless cascades of atmospherics emanating from Hunter's keys, the beseeching vocals hinting at some late model Talk Talk album, traversed by a simple synthesizer solo that needs little added drama. The second CD "Plundering of the Depths" is more a series of past recordings that stayed archived with particular mention of oldies "Eyes of Venus" a much improved remix from 1995 and the synth-bass driven "This Addiction" from 1996. Though some perfectionists severely dismiss any kind of "old tapes found in the attic featuring extended meaningless jams", the truth is that some super-jam bands deserve to express what they do best and the gargantuan and pantagruelic 53 minute behemoth " Acquiesce to the Martinets Precept" surely highlights those qualities that make this band so special with a mesmerizing ride, replete with insane improvisations from both Francisco Neto on shrieking guitar and Fred Hunter on a vast array of keyboards (for you perverted fans of Taurus pedals: this is an ORGY!). Drummer extraordinaire Mark Lavallée unashamedly displays his Michael Giles influences and Jeff vocalizes with total abandon. Overblown, pompous and exalted? You bet and thank you. After listening to over 2 hours of this amazing testament to prog patience, I can only rejoice in the knowledgeable soothing of one ancient, tried and true Italian adage" "Che va piano, va sano" and sit back in continued proggy amazement. 4.5 slowly sifting hourglasses
tszirmay | 4/5 |

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