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Flash - Out Of Our Hands CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.07 | 72 ratings

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4 stars In his autobiography, Peter Banks remarks that a band's third album is where they get more complex, deep and ambitious. This characterizes Out of our Hands, a related point Banks makes in his book. "Dead Ahead" is a track well illustrating Bank's remarks on third albums and Out of our Hands specifically. "Dead Ahead" is a carefully constructed multi-section and multi-instrument/ multi-vocal number. Here Banks shows off his newfound synth and Moog skills. "Psychosync" and "Man of Honour" show great instrumental variety including banjo I learn from the autobiography. Recall that a banjo also provided some stellar moments on "Black and White" on Flash's previous effort, Out of the Can. I'm glad I was able to learn the ID of the secret musical weapon. Initially I had it mis-ID'ed as a mandolin or ukulele. Multi-instrumentally "The Bishop" features a guitar-organ interplay, the organ sound actually provided via synth. Keyboards are an addition to the Flash sound, established as guitar-driven on Out of the Can. Flash's debut album was guitar-oriented too but with some guesting by ex-Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye. I appreciate that Flash is a guitar band in contrast to the typical keys-heavy prog bands like Yes, Genesis or ELP. Still, keys bring nice accents to Flash.

"Manhattan Morning" is a highlight of Out of Our Hands. Its euphony wends through strong vocals and later an instrumental conversation between guitarist Banks and bassist Ray Bennett. The song ends on a crescendo. "None Wiser", the album's first full-length track, also impresses. Banks' fancy fretwork fits like a glove over Bennett's thick groove. Singer Colin Carter couldn't be in better form. I've had a stressful day and feeling better just a little into the album. Flash is one of the most cheery bands I can think of. Technically Out of our Hands is a concept album. The lyrics address depressing social phenomenon, though the protagonists escape misery. Banks in his autobiography hints that the concept never fully took root and he wasn't that keen on it. It certainly doesn't detract from what Flash is all about. I'm really not a lyric person, so I'm not swayed in any direction by the concept and theme. Is it part of the concept and the mentioned escape of protagonist that recapitulates the joyous opening mood in the album closer, "Shadows: it's You?" The mood follows the lyric line "uplift" in the chorus two minutes in, where the musical styles shifts from sort of an updated swing ballad to pure rock. Altogether "Shadows; it's You" represents an entirely new song type for Flash, a band whose only weakness is a slight tendency to put forth similar songs. Flash never tires the listener, though, because they are so talented and enthusiastic.

steamhammeralltheway | 4/5 |


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