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Peter Gee - A Vision Of Angels CD (album) cover

A VISION OF ANGELS

Peter Gee

 

Neo-Prog

3.59 | 35 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This has been a long-time friend, 20 years on now, that keeps me sporadic company and I have never graced it with a review. Surely not a masterpiece in the conventional 'fan' sense but we all have some pet favorites that do not necessarily hit the spotlight and get any astrological awards. Peter Gee is not an unknown entity, having manned the bass guitar for celebrated neo-prog stalwarts Pendragon since nearly the beginning, and still loyal to Nick Barrett and Clive Nolan to this day. Safe to say his day gig is cement solid. In 1997, he released this second solo album to little or no fanfare and that is a shocking injustice as this album is quite a joy to listen to, offering homogeneity and diversity , albeit in a mellower, folkier vein than the parent group. It is not a religious album even though with titles such as "Faith", "Orphans" and "Jordan", one might be tempted to classify this as a Christian recording. Actually, it is full of interpretations of specific scripture passages. But upon closer inspection, the brute reality is that it's an album about that weird thingy called love. Not exactly Tolkien-esque prog material but what the hell! What draws me regularly back to this lovely jewel are the masterful melodies that are just simply world- class and not just here and there, it's the spirit behind the opus.

The 10 minute extravaganza "Always" ushers in a jazzy style, almost Stealy Dan in approach that immediately gets the positive buzz going, a slinky affair full of breezy bravado and great playing. Elegant piano kicks the main melody into gear, a ravishing display of simplicity and emotion, introducing the the more upbeat tempo that is solidly maintained by Gee's bass guitar and Jadis regular Steve Christy's fluffy drumming. Guitarist Ian Salmon lays down some slick riffs that keep the mood 'always' exciting, vocalist Simon Clew agonizing about the 'darkness of the night' choir in tow, followed up by a mid-section that first gives keyboardist Clive Nolan a thrilling synth foray to execute and then, Nick Barret the platform to show off his mighty lead guitar skills, one of the very best solos in his illustrious career. Fascinating and eternal.

The quasi-bucolic "Heart's Desire" is all about fragility, the hushed Clew vocals curled around a lovely acoustic guitar accompaniment, piano in contrast, weaving slowly a main melody that is breathlessly beautiful 'safe in your arms' and 'an angel of mercy'. The emotional lyrics are simple but poignant, the music matching the delicacy of the intent, serving up a highly honest, undisguised and under-produced piece of genius. Nolan's keyboard work is understated yet brilliant. Very British and very pleasant, indeed. "Lost and Found" is a surely too syrupy for some of the harder- edged boys out there but it's a grand melodic song, full of that sincerity so lacking in modern music at times. Think song-oriented Anthony Phillips material circa "Sides" or "Wise After the Event", an underwhelming, bucolic, symphonic very Arthurian style that is addictive for those with zero expectations.

The short "Faith" is a sparse little ditty, delivered by acoustic guitar and vocals that espouse the circumstances of 'living in the shadows', a song about trust, that one very rare ingredient in today's world. Flimsy and pretty. More melancholy in a sad and breezy way with the candid "Never Could Say Goodbye", fueled by a jazz-blues disposition that could easily be heard in some pub /lounge that has a more eclectic style. Romantic, cool, suave and well-played.

The big winner here is the 8 minute instrumental blow out "Orphans" which could effortlessly pass as an Andy Latimer classic, a slow burgeoning masterpiece that leaves Nick Barrett the opportunity to build up quite a thundery arrangement, the fabulous choir work is pure heaven (Tina Riley), winking at past glories such as PF's "The Great Gig in the Sky" or KC's "Sailors Tale" and then the apotheosis, a scorching, stunning and whopping solo that will shriek the neighbors. Again, one of Barrett's finest!

The more overtly symphonic "Jordan" is another highlight track, a leading piano galvanizing the composition to aim towards a higher plane, crafting another mammoth melody that stays etched in the mind. This is what one would call an anthem, as the vocals inspire a nearly gospel feel, with the piano, the simple beat and the bass scouring the soul. The chorus is massive and impetuous, the fragility still present in spades. My favorite track is the last one, the ultra-corny, overtly romantic, shiveringly sappy, and yet memorable love song "I Believe in Love", armed with the most puerile lyrics ever. I care not, sucker for shedding a tear or two at the loves that have gone into my shell full of pearled memories. Gorgeous simplicity

For most, a maudlin 3.5 but like I said, I have a VERY soft spot for this comfortable pillow. 4.5 Apparitions of Cherubs

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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