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The Tangent - Down And Out In Paris And London CD (album) cover

DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON

The Tangent

 

Eclectic Prog

3.74 | 207 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Is it me or Andy Tillison doesn't have enough with being a closest friend of Roine Stolt's but also needs to be the "British Roine Stolt"? I mean, how can he manage to come up with such an amount of album and double album-worthy material in such a short time span? Almost simultaneously with PO90's comeback album and only one year after The Tangent's "Not As Good As The Book", Tillison and co. release one of the most exciting prog albums in 2009 ? "Down & Out In London & Paris". The fact that The Tangent had to undergo radical line-up changes throughout the last few years only makes it more heroic that this album be so good. Always loyal to their retro-oriented progressive trend that owes much to the heritages of Yes, ELP, VdGG and a couple of Canterbury bands, with added affinities to early TFK and Neal Mors-era Spock's Beard, The Tangent have reaffirmed their nuclear framework while still sounding fresh and energetic. The band's partially refurbished line-up includes drummer Paul Burgess, an accomplished veteran who has played in many occasions in Camel, Jethro Tull, 10cc, etc. ? an admirable pedigree in the areas of prog rock and art-rock, indeed. Right now, as it is, The Tangent happens to be a very important badger as well, since the album's opener 'Where Are They Now?' (almost 20 minute long) happens to be a powerful suite in old progressive fashion. After a calm introductory section featuring Gilmour-like guitar picks, the main body states a bombastic development that combines the energy of classic ELP and the stamina of "Relayer"-era Yes. The first sung section features a 5/4 tempo, while the enthusiastic jam that kicks off at the 7 minute mark moves toward Canterbury-related territory (featuring that special organ vibrato that many keyboardists were enamored of). Anyway, the prevalent symphonic nucleus remains tight, even comprising some space-rock ornaments along the way. After the 10 minute mark, the suite shifts toward a slow piano-vocal passage from which the first sung section gradually emerges and gets conveniently enhanced with extra dynamics and a greater fluidity. The closing part, ceremonious and powerful, finishes the suite with colorful splendor, featuring alternating solos on guitar and sax (Theo Travis is an absolute monster). What a great opener, my God! 'Paroxetine 20 mg' elaborates a confluence of R'n'B rhythmic cadences and muscularly rocking sonorities ? in spite of its recurrent 4/4 tempo, the compositional development states a sufficient diversity of motifs and ambiences to keep the demanding listener's interest all the way to the end (or at least, the demanding listener who is writing this very review). 'Perdu Dans Paris' is another long monster track, which lasts 11 minutes. In contrast with Tillison's intonation, which bears a distant contemplative stance (a-la Hammill, as usual), the melodic development and variations are clearly focused on melancholic moods. This factor remains strong even throughout those passages in the interlude in which the band goes in full swing toward more intense environments. Guest guitarist Jakko M. Jakszyk's refined style is positively responsible for captivating textures that help to reinforce the nostalgic beauty of the overall song. 'The Company Car' has a deceitful intro passage, which is built in a semi-acoustic ballad's framework, but as the psychedelic synth lines settle in and the singing gets raspy, the stage is set for yet another energetic progressive tour-de-force. I sense the fade-out as too premature: I wish there had been more room for that delightful sax solo that solidifies its way around the keyboard ornaments and in perfect coordination with the rhythm duo. The album's official repertoire ends with con 'The Canterbury Sequence Volume 2: Ethanol Hat Nail', a track conceptually linked to one that was part of the debut album "The Music That Died Alone". The title, albeit funny, is not literally a joke: on the contrary, it is a robust homage to the Canterbury old school, with plenty of jazzy elements and a noticeable utilization of fuzzy organ and echoing electric piano here and there. One cannot help thinking of Hatfield & The North, Caravan, Matching Mole and National Health while listening to this spectacular piece: there are also some cosmic adornments that are straightforwardly related to Gong. Pay attention to the heavy section that gets started around the 8 minute mark: formidable!! The album's special edition includes a song called 'Everyman's Forgotten Monday', which is basically a progressive power ballad with punctuated Floydian overtones. It sounds like a crossover of "Wish You Were Here" and the "A Momentary Lapse Of Reason" eras. A nice song, indeed, but the 'Canterbury Sequence 2' makes a much more impressive closer. So, the overall balance is as follows: The Tangent has released yet another excellent addition in any good progressive collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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