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


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.87 | 366 ratings

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3 stars With the callibre of players that have come (and sometimes gone) through the ranks of The Tangent I feel I should be blown away by this album. Current or ex-members include four musicians who are currently or have previously been in The Flower Kings, Van Der Graaf Generator saxman David Jackson was even on their first album and Guy Manning. After living with this double cd since it's release and after many plays I'm left feeling that overall mainman Andy Tillison has presented us with a well produced, well played decent piece of Progressive Rock with a modern edge though tipping its hat to the classic Prog (particularly symphonic) giants of the seventies. Ultimately though on reaching the end of the album I'm left slightly unfulfilled.

As The Tangent is basically Tillison's baby, writing all the lyric and music as well as playing keyboards, supplying the vocals and occasional rhythm guitar, the success or failure of any Tangent project ultimately lies with him. How much input the rest of the band had into arrangements etc I could not say but as parts remind me a little of The Flower Kings and this release featuring Jonas Reingold on bass and Jaime Salazar, ex-drummer of said band I suspect they have been allowed to make their mark.

I think what let's the album down the most is Tillison's vocals. He doesn't have a particularly good or strong voice with a limited range and as a result the vocal melodies suffer and you can't help thinking with a better vocalist so much more could have been made of these tracks. Still not to be too hard on the guy, sometimes he does nail it and put on a reasonably convincing performance. To look at the positive where this album does shine the most is with some excellent and extremely well played instrumental sections spread throughout the album occurring fairly frequently with some excellent keyboard dominated moments in particular. I particularly enjoy Celebrity Puree which as it happens is entirely instrumental. This runs into Not As Good As The Book which overall turns out to be one of the most successful tracks here with some strong melodies.

Due to the current state of the music industry it's brave move for any band these days to release a double cd but perhaps a Prog band is better placed than any to get away with it. Disc one has the relatively shorter pieces, though most of the time breaking the seven minute or more barrier and therefore still giving the band opportunity show their musical muscle. Disc two comprises of only two tracks of similar length breaking the twenty minute barrier and both tracks contain some good moments though even after many listens some parts leave no lasting impression. Four Egos, One War benefits from additional vocals from Julie King and Manning but The Full Gamut suffers in this area and is perhaps the least satisfying piece on the album.

Not As Good As The Book is overall a good but not great album and a bit of editing in places could have made a stronger single disc. It appears that Tillison has pretty much disbanded the line up that appear on this album and intends to collaborate with Beardfish on the next one. It will certainly be interesting to see the results of this collaboration.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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