The Tangent - The Music That Died Alone CD (album) cover


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

4.00 | 255 ratings

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3 stars Given all the effusive praise for this album, I decided to give it my absolutely undivided attention, keeping a particularly open mind. At the risk of being a "party pooper," I was somewhat underwhelmed. / The album is divided into three "suites." The first one - In Darkest Dreams - is not only the only truly "successful" one (at least musically), but the only one I would actually classify as "prog-rock." And although it is certainly creative and well executed, and has both inner logic and clear direction - and although "Midnight Watershed" is one of the best prog jams I've heard in quite some time - the suite has three flaws. First, although it is unqualifiedly prog-rock, most of it has a strange "commercial rock" quality, especially vis-a-vis the production. Second, the lyrics are at best utilitarian, and at worst remarkably immature. Third, and almost "fatal," are the vocals: indeed, I had a very hard time getting past them (whether Stolt or Tillison, I don't know; it might be both). The second suite - The Canterbury Sequence - is quite good, but I would not classify it as prog-rock: most of it is almost straight-ahead light jazz. That said, it is very listenable, especially the really neat extended 13/8 jam in "Chaos at the Greasy Spoon." The last section of the Canterbury suite - "Up Hill From Here" - starts out as prog-rock with a retro-60s flavor, then has a short Floydian section, and then a straight-ahead rock section. It's so "radio friendly," I'm surprised it's not a hit. The final suite - The Music That Died Alone - starts with a short "Emersonian" piano intro, and then more jazz-influenced compositions, and is the weakest of the three suites. / At the additional risk of being a "wanker," I'm actually being somewhat generous giving it three stars, especially given the almost total failure of both the lyrics and the vocals. Still, the music is quite good - even when it's not prog-rock, but something far more akin to jazz - and the album is creative and listenable. Better lyrics and a (far) more compelling voice would not only have truly earned it the third star, but might even have garnered a fourth.
maani | 3/5 |


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