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

NOT AS GOOD AS THE BOOK

The Tangent

 

Eclectic Prog

3.85 | 294 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Moatilliatta
Prog Reviewer
4 stars After proving that the group could thrive without the aid of Roine Stole on A Place in the Queue, arguably their finest release to date, the group returns with another bold statement: Not as Good as the Book. For this output, Andy has written a novella to go with the double-disc album. When you read that a band has released a "double-disc" album, especially a band in the symphonic prog realm, you immediately think that it must be a pretty lengthy endeavor, if you think like I do. And usually such is the case if the album is a modern one. However, The Tangent has never been a band that feels the need to use all of the possible disc space. This album is only about 90 minutes long, one disc being a set of shorter tracks (10 minutes or less) and the other being two minute epics (about 21 and 23 minutes each). And, of course, no Tangent album gets released without a lineup change (gift or curse? both? probably that one), so now we have Jakko Jakszyk on electric guitars. Also, Sam Baine is no longer with the group; her and Andy were in a relationship and they recently broke up. So, let's take a closer look...

First, a note on the concept and lyrics. I opted out of getting the deluxe edition, so I have no comments to make about the aforementioned book. However, I believe it tells the story that the album is based off of. From what I gathered, it follows the life of a prog fan and some struggles he encounters. As far as the actual album goes, I don't think there is a linear concept here, but the songs all seem to be told from the perspective of baby boomers who have grown up and are living in the 21st century. The content is pretty darn cynical, but it's also kind of approached with humor in spots (a dark humor, though). Andy's lyrics are solid as usual.

Now, the music. The album opens with a gleeful synth line and continues into a gleeful yet hard rocking tune that is "A Crisis in Mid-Life." This song has a great instrumental section with a notably great solo by the newcomer Jakko. His style is a bit more aggressive while maintaining a tasteful, jazz-tinged feel. "Lost in London 25 Years Later" is as you might expect. It's a jazzier, Canterbury inspired piece like the piece it's expanding upon. Another great track. The album takes a dip with "The Ethernet," the longest track on the first disc at just over 10 minutes long. It's a slower song, with very little digression. A good song, but I think it could have been better. "Celebrity Puree" is a short, aggressive instrumental that gets things going again. "Not as Good as the Book" is a peppy, melodic song which is quite enjoyable. Andy utilizes his Hammill influence on "A Sale of Two Souls," which I find to be a good song but a bit lackluster. "Bat out of Basildon" is a solid closer with a particularly nice mid-section. The highlights of this disc are definitely the first two tracks, but the songs that follow all maintain a pretty high level of quality.

The second disc is harder to describe considering it is comprised of two epics. "Four Egos, One War," is another commentary on "the war," whatever that means, and "The Full Gamut" is Andy's most personal song to date; it must be about the recent misfortune of his relationship with Sam. Musically, the songs contain all you would expect from a Tangent epic, but I don't think they reach the heights of "In Earnest." Still, several sections will have you in bliss, and no sections will disappoint you. And hey, each listen still gets better, so I may have to come back and edit my opinions of these two pieces.

All in all, this is another satisfying release from The Tangent. I don't think they topped A Place in the Queue, but it's still very much worth your time.

Moatilliatta | 4/5 |

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