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Thieves' Kitchen - The Clockwork Universe CD (album) cover

THE CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE

Thieves' Kitchen

 

Eclectic Prog

3.95 | 130 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars

Whilst the core line-up of Amy Darby (vocals), Phil Mercy (guitars) and Thomas Johnson (keyboards, ex-'nglag'rd) were still here from the previous album, this 2015 album saw a few changes in the guests. Anna Holmgren (flute, 'nglag'rd) and Paul Mallyon (drums, ex-Sanguine Hum) have now been joined by Johan Brand (bass, 'nglag'rd), and this time there is no trumpet or cello. Although this is a Thieves Kitchen album, it means that of the six involved, half of them recorded the 2012 'nglag'rd album 'Viljans 'ga'. I have heard all of the TK albums, but it was 2008's 'The Water Road' where they made a significant musical leap, which is where Thomas joined the band. 2013's 'One For Sorrow, One For Joy' saw a continuation of that, so what would the 2015 release bring?

The one word that shines throughout this album is quite simple, 'confidence'. Here are a group of musicians who have been working together in one form or another for quite a few years now (Anna was involved as long ago as 'The Water Road' with Amy, Phil and Thomas), and they know what they want to achieve and trust each other implicitly. This is all about producing complex progressive music, but always allowing Amy to shine with strong clear vocals. She is at the forefront of everything they are doing, with everyone else combining to provide a suitable backdrop. This could mean acoustic guitars, or classic organ sounds, complex drumming, striking repetitive bass or clear flute. This is progressive music that can be incredibly complex, or simple almost to an extreme, melodic or discordant, languid or rapid, whatever is the right setting for the arrangement. They can be King Crimson, or Gentle Giant, Renaissance or 'nglag'rd, but first and foremost they will always be Thieves' Kitchen.

This is type of music that got me interested in progressive rock in the first place: I want to hear music that is complex and complicated, where the mind and ears wonder where they are going to be taken to next on a journey of musical adventure and exploration. At the same time, I want it to make total musical sense so that I don't get lost along the way but feel that I am being taken on a circuitous route to ensure that I don't miss any of the wonders that are available. This is yet another stunning album from Thieves' Kitchen, and I can't believe that it has taken me so long to write about it. But, I know that they are currently recording the next one, so hopefully there will be even more to hear soon.

kev rowland | 5/5 |

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