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Mike Kershaw - Arms Open Wide CD (album) cover

ARMS OPEN WIDE

Mike Kershaw

 

Crossover Prog

3.15 | 6 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars It has to be said that I am not a massive fan of Kershaw's vocal style, as for me there just isn't enough variety, and it comes across similar in tone and approach throughout the whole album. The one time this changes is on the third section of the opening song, "The Fear Quartet" (which as the name implies is a lengthy four section epic), where Stu Nicholson adds some much-needed variety, passion and emotion and takes the song to a whole new level. Musically, the band Kershaw has brought together for his fifth studio album do a great job, but one can't help but wonder what the album would have sounded like if he had brought in another singer?

The band are crossover prog, with large elements of neo prog, but interestingly I also found myself being reminded at times of the approach of The Levellers and the pop of Crowded House, so quite a mixed style in many ways. Gareth Cole (guitar) is a revelation, with some blistering lead runs and melodies, while Leopold Blue-Sky (Garden of Live Flowers - bass) keeps it nailed and Stefan Hepe (Gandalf's Fist) is given free rein on the drums to do pretty much what he likes, and definitely drives it along from the back. Kershaw himself provides keyboards and vocals, but the keys are pretty much there for tonal colour as opposed to driving melodies, somewhat similar to how Credo operates before Mike Varty joined the band.

Overall this is a solid album, as opposed to essential, and if you find that you enjoy Kershaw's vocals then I am sure you will think it is much more of the latter than the former.

kev rowland | 3/5 |

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