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


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.87 | 367 ratings

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Prog Reviewer

In the illustrated booklet which accompanies this CD (Luxury Edition) band leader Andy Tillison thanks Dave, Roger, Rick, Nick, Syd, Chick, Stanley, Lenny, Bill, Al and a whole range of other worthies.

Andy is still trying to make albums with the range of A PASSION PLAY or TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS, and it must be said: his latest attempt is full of goodies. There's an enormous amount of exhilerating (but usually rather brief) keyboard solos - too many to count. My favourites are the ones where Andy plays the same kind of mad moog (or is it a modern copy?) as Rick Wakeman used on 'Sir Gawain and the Black Knight'. Guy Manning's acoustic-guitar-and-mandolin intervals are a delight too; you'd almost expect him to start singing about hares who've lost their spectacles... And lead guitarist Jakko M Jakszyk is a major acquisition: a Holdsworth disciple, his solos are moments of sheer delight.

And yet this album falls flat on its back. One of the main reasons can be found in the title of the opening track. 'A Crisis in Midlife': hey, wait a sec, isn't that what ALL Tangent albums have been about? By now their message is growing mighty stale. Tillison's never-ending attempts to set grumpy old man's thoughts to music have started to sound monotonous, whiny and lugubrious. Don't you realise, Andy, that if you want to make dark or pessimistic music, you will still need jokes and poetic images - not an endless blog filled with complaints? 'Running round in circles from the cradle to the grave' you sing, and it could be that's how you see life, but an almost total absence of memorable melodies doth NOT a convincing album make, and since you're not a particularly gifted vocalist, why can't you SHUT UP and let your keyboards speak?

Only on the final track, 'The Full Gamut', do real passion and anguish shine through for a while - although even that track (which started off so beautifully) soon is ruined by a dispiriting Dead Sea of words which seem to drag on and on. The Tangent will need a change of tack if they want to get out of the doldrums.

fuxi | 2/5 |


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