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Times Up - Black Wing and Prayer CD (album) cover

BLACK WING AND PRAYER

Times Up

 

Crossover Prog

2.92 | 3 ratings

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TenYearsAfter
3 stars Times Up was founded in 2007 and released four studio-albums, this review is about its latest effort entitled Black Winger And Prayer, from 2018. I didn't know about this UK prog band so I was very curious to the music, it turned to be a very pleasant first musical encounter.

1. Black Wing And Prayer (9.34) : First lush twanging acoustic guitars and piano, then strong female vocals join (reminding me of Flamborough Head), in a slow rhythm. The musical encounter between the acoustic guitar, mandolin and flute with the synthesizer flights sounds like prog (hints from early Genesis and Renaissance) meets folk, very pleasant and melodic. Halfway a surprising wah wah drenched guitar solo, then an accellaration with a swinging clavinet and a saxophone - and synthesizer solo, topped with lush Hammond waves. In the final part rock guitar, powerful vocals and saxophone, contrasting with the cheerful folky sound of the flute. Singer Linda Barnes meanders very flowing between folk, melodic rock and prog with her wide range, embellished with a varied keyboard sound.

2. Window Shopping (8.32) : This track starts with a catchy mid-tempo beat featuring sparkling flute (evoking Jethro Tull), rock guitar riffs, strong vocals, fiery electric guitar runs and again varied keyboard work. Halfway the climate turns into an experimental sonic landscape with soaring flute and electric guitar, later joined by hypnotizing vocals and subtle vibraphone, again lots of surprising musical ideas.

3. Everybody's Everybody (8.19) : First a swinging rhythm with saxophone, then a tight beat with slightly distorted vocals, and another fiery guitar solo. In the second part a break with a catchy beat that contains orchestral keyboards and a propulsive guitar riff, evoking Run Like Hell by Pink Floyd. Gradually the moods shifts into more bombastic with powerful work on guitar and saxophone.

4. There is no Smoke Without a Fire (13.08) : This epic compositon begins dreamy with twanging acoustic guitars, celestial keyboards, a male voice, and subtle electric guitar and piano. Gradually the sound turns into more dynamic, with militairy drum beats and guitar runs. The delicate use of the tremolo arm gives a special flavour to the music. Then lots of fluent shifting moods, from dreamy with again the sound of the guitar tremolo arm to swinging rock with Hammond and screamy saxophone. The final part is pretty surprising: atmospheric with dreamy vocals, tight drum beats and subtle work on the acoustic guitar and keyboards, a captivating contrast with the rest of this long track.

5. After the Storm (5.29) : It starts with the sound of thunder and rain, tender piano runs, high pitched female vocals and soaring strings. Then dreamy vocals (again reminding me of Flamborough Head), joined by piano and a celestial keyboard sound, what a wonderful interplay, with strong emotional undertones. Finally a slow rhythm with howling guitar leads, militairy drum beats and tender piano runs, another interesting musical idea, a trademark of this band.

6. 21 Grammes of Starlight Glow (I Will Miss You) (11.05) : This final epic composition begins with a slow rhythm featuring a tight beat, powerful saxophone, flute and gospel-like vocal harmonies. Then lots of shifting moods, embellished with a variety of instruments (from Hammond and piano to E-bow banjo, Minimoog and flute), topped with Linda her excellent voice. This band knows how to keep my attention, and to blend influences from Classic Prog with interesting own musical ideas.

My rating: 3,5 star. This review was recently published on the Dutch prog website Background Magazine, in a slighlty different version.

TenYearsAfter | 3/5 |

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