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Thieves' Kitchen - The Water Road CD (album) cover

THE WATER ROAD

Thieves' Kitchen

 

Eclectic Prog

3.63 | 89 ratings

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Squire Jaco
5 stars Honestly, Thieves' Kitchen's first album ("Head") was kind of ordinary - some great guitar and keyboard interplay (from Phil Mercy and Wolfgang Kindl respectively), but Simon Boys' vocals were never anything special, and there seemed to be a lack of variety in the songwriting. Things improved somewhat with "Argot". But when they added singer Amy Darby (fantastic vocals) with the album "Shibboleth", and started writing in a more unique and diverse style, I became a HUGE fan. "The Water Road" follows the formula of Shibboleth, and is another big winner for the band.

The sound of TK is sort of difficult to pin down. There is certainly a bit of a Canterbury feel, while the presence here of two former members of Anglagard gives that band reference some validity too. The fiery guitar work is reminiscent of Allan Holdsworth, especially in the jazzier moments; yet there is also a ton of mellotron (some of the best I've ever heard! - surprise: Thomas Johnson from Anglagard...) and soft piano along with some near-orchestral moments that include instruments like flute, oboe, violin and cello. And still, there is a cohesiveness to the overall sound of this album!

There's a serious tone to the music on this cd - very atmospheric with great melodies that shift moods from complex to dreamy. There is a certain melancholy that pervades the music; I'm not sure if I was unduly influenced by the cd cover art, but I felt the flow of isolated Asian waterways during listening. While there are certainly moments where the band rocks out and flexes their jazz fusion muscles, more often the pace is sort of plodding (but not boring!) and thoughtful. In fact, there are so many musical nuances and clever ideas throughout the cd that the listener is always rewarded with repeated listens.

Over the course of 73 minutes, this music will take you on some nice mind journeys with fully developed symphonic and jazz rock ideas, excellent and mysterious lyrics, all beautifully sung and masterly performed. Standout tracks for me include the 21-minute opening epic "The Long Fianchetto", the shorter "Returglas", "Chameleon"....ahhhhh, they're ALL great! ;-)

Settle into your canal boat and let the current carry you down this very interesting water road....

Squire Jaco | 5/5 |

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