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


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 330 ratings

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4 stars If Dave Stewart has a musical heir, it has to be keyboardist Andy Tillison who gives much due credit to other Prog deities as Jon Anderson - indeed 'A Place in the Queue' is, according to Tillison, a direct result of hearing Tales back in 1973 - but between the talent, nerdy state-issued spectacles, unkempt 'fro and sheer ambition, it is Stewart whom Andy Tillison seems to most emulate. Previous 'The World That We Drive Through' was very good. This follow up honors the promise shown on that 2004 release and surpasses it by a few lengths and though Mr. Tillison's voice is an acquired taste, wasn't Jon Anderson's too?

Five medium-length cuts bookended by two twenty minute+ dreadnoughts, the record is a thunderstorm of ideas that does reflect Yes's benchmark 1973 release complete with the delusional vocal that introduces 'In Earnest'. The band is more than happy to wear its classic prog influences on its sleeve and the entire album is an intentionally challenging, Anglocentric movement demonstrating a firm grasp of all Western musics that few of the nu progsters have. It reminds us why we love the stuff, rekindling the romance and scolding us for any infidelities. Why prog rock is what it is, or was, and why music that internally changes course without getting lost at sea holds greater value than its inert relatives. Tillison's perfectly recorded organ, Moog and pianos are always the heart of the music and considering he penned ninety percent of the material, it is clearly his baby, the theme being about "Following orders, traffic signs, religions...". Ticks of bossa nova drop in and out but it's never long before the concept transcends all that and we start to feel as if it *is* 1973, hearing symphonic rock fusion in its heyday with the help of Tillison's time machine-- killer organ runs, devastating synth squalls, jazz angularity, intentionally absurd polyrhythms. 10-minute 'GPS Culture' says hello with a Tony Banks organ phrase, Guy Manning's well-placed Flamenco guitar and a manic National Health-style vamp. And 'Follow Your Leaders' just rocks the house down, a walking synthjazz fury that longs for days past, conjuring the best of Egg, Rick Wakeman, early Tull, and Camel. 'The Sun in My Eyes' is a funny commercial spoof with swelling disco arrangements circa 1977, horrid Love Boat strings, the vintage click of a limply wah-wahed guitar, and hysterical prog period tendencies. The huge title track closes the show and does have some draggy moments. But so does almost every great prog escapade, and at 25 minutes I guess every second can't be gold. The most open of the songs, it churns along gradually with an almost Wall-like lumber, wakes-up about halfway through and satisfies most of our expectations, bassist Jonas Reingold and drummer Jaime Salazar stealing the show and Tillison with tons of classical ivories and space age drama. A bonus disc is included in the special edition comprising material unused during the session and though holds some good moments, hats off to the band for not pushing their luck by incorporating too much into the main release.

Atavistic in the best possible way, one of the finest items of 2006, and recommended with much happiness.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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