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The Tangent - A Place In The Queue CD (album) cover


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 330 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A change in line-up, a change in style.

Yes, yes, so The Tangent had never had a stable line-up to this point anyways. Notable absence on this offering from the band, however, is The Flower King himself, Mr. Roine Stolt, who had been around for the first two releases by the super-group. While this clearly was no problem for the band they've made a substantial shift in style with this release. Whether the absence of Stolt is exactly what caused this change we may never know, but fans of the first two albums be warned: this is a very different album. All the elements that the Tangent have previously used are still kicking around, a very prominent keyboard along with an excellent guitar and a slew of other instruments and voices, but this album feels a lot more eclectic than the previous releases. Surely this is the reason the band is under the ''eclectic'' category of this site, but it sometimes feels as though the direction of the album is scattered.

Style wise we have a lot to chose from here. From the Canterbury flavored Lost In London with it's lush flutes and fun beat to the disco inspired The Sun In My Eyes, a fun tune telling the tale of a prog-nut growing up with some very comical lyrics. Some people may like the extreme mix of things, while others may find a little bit more consistency to be a bit more comforting. A couple of excellent pure symphonic-prog moments do exist on the album and they still manage to take up the majority of the album's running time. The album starts with one of the band's token epic cuts, In Earnest is usually proclaimed as the band's best song to reach the 20-minute mark, and while it certainly has its moments, it still has thick competition with songs like In Darkest Dreams or more recently Four Egos, One War. Still, it's an emotional thrill ride telling the story of a war vet who flew Spitfires and who is now nothing more than ''some crazy old man'' who sits at the end of a bar. Some wonderfully spine chilling moments include the first synth hit that almost bring about the feeling of a plane launch. GPS Culture is a quick favorite among all The Tangent's songs, its joyous keyboard opening really leaves a mark and the melodies throughout the song really can't be beat. The lyrics are snide and yet so true (''Through seas of countless choices I'm chosen once again, to fill the air with crafted sounds/you give me space, in your space, a window in your time, at a level which your soul allows''), and the solos are quite impressive.

Some of the album is not quite as strong as the rest, however. For a band who often gets attacked for their vocals they really made a bold move with the choice of vocal style for DIY Surgery. The spoken word mixed with the bleating of sax in the background is often cacophonous and it makes for a strange two minutes, especially after following a blissful tune like Lost In London. Another song that fails to make waves in some cases is the heavy Follow Your Leaders. While the lyrics are once again completely true the music comes across as quite harsh - not to say that the music is too harsh to support the lyrics, but it's quite a lot heavier than a lot of Tangent's material and it really seems to come out of left field here. A good song by all standards, this one simply has a hard time competing with some of the other tunes on the album. The biggest letdown on the album, however, is likely the title cut. A Place In The Queue is The Tangent's longest song to date and also the most drawn out. While the song experiments with some great ideas (including some wonderful jazz moments) they ultimately miss out on taking any one of those ideas and really running with them. The slow pace of the song is a little bit hard to deal with when hoping for another winding epic like In Earnest, and some ideas really could have worked if they were used more often. That robotic, dark and evil chanting voice used near the beginning of the song demands repeated use - it's just so cool! But they dispose of it and move on. Still, in terms of epic songs, this one is good, just not exceptional.

Often times A Place In The Queue is The Tangent's most acclaimed album, but while it's good, they've certainly done better. The album does sport some amazing artwork on both the inside and out, and there's a nice write-up from Tillison on the inner-notes that will make any prog fan proud, but in general this one feels less consistent than the band's other works. The follow up to this album, Not As Good As The Book would prove this new direction to be a good one, but wait for a bit until you reach for this album on the shelves. Go for The World That We Drive Through or The Book first - you won't be disappointed. As for this album: 3.5 stars for a very good album with some classic moments.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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