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The Tangent - Not As Good As The Book CD (album) cover


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.87 | 367 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
3 stars When I uploaded my CD of the first disc of this album into iTunes, iTunes classified it as Electronica/Dance. I can only imagine that, whatever guy works at the company that creates the database that iTunes uses listened only to the first thirty seconds of the album, then made the call based on the opening of the first track. To be fair, if I were tasked with classifying music, I probably wouldn't listen to entire albums either. But I might spend some time googling instead of making guesses based on the albums opening.

That being said, the opening that got this album labelled as Electronica/Dance is a great way to open the album, building energy and and giving the album a rocking start. In a strange way, I can't help but feel excited as Andy Tillison belts out that there's "nothing like a crisis in mid life".

Lost In London 25 Years Later always strikes me as being a bit awkward. It has memorable moments, but the song as a whole doesn't quite gel as a cohesive unit. I actually feel that the band did this somewhat on purpose - as if they wanted to say, "This is what it feels like to reach the point in this song, the knowledge that life is all one interconnected thing, but it feels like a sequence of unrelated events." The line: "Please write your answer on a post card: are me and Ian old?" always hits me as being a bit awkward as well. The story of the song is fun, though, and overall it isn't an unenjoyable listen by any means.

The Ethernet is roughly the same in quality; a good story, slightly awkward but still an enjoyable listen with some high moments. I think, if anything, these songs suffer from the fact that the interesting musical ideas and the interesting lyrical ideas rarely play at the same time.

Celebrity Puree starts out with a bang, and is a pretty rocking track that any prog rock fan will enjoy. Unfortunately, the next three songs all suffer from the same problem as the second and third ... they are full of good ideas that merge in occasionally awkward ways or just don't gel. Lyrically, they are full of great ideas, fun references, and generally good lyrics. Bat Out of Basildon and Not As Good As The Book strike me as having the best lyrics on the first disc.

While these guys aren't quite what I came to expect from eclectic prog from listening to the '70s giants in the sub-genre like Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf, and King Crimson, I can see why they are placed in this genre. They have songs that sound like "Electronica/Dance" (although to my ears I'd just say keys-dominated), they have songs with blistering sax, angry guitars, acoustic guitars ... their are many different sounds distributed throughout the music. They are held together by Andy Tillisons voice, which I don't think is the best in all the cases, but which works better in songs like A Sale of Two Souls, where he sings deeper to match the darker sound of the music. Overall, I would say that the strongest aspect of disc one is the lyrical content, which really gives me the impression of a Crisis in Mid Life happening (which is what the disc is named).

The second disc feels like a seperate album to me (which might be why they gave it the name "Throwing Metal At The Sky; to seperate it from the first disc). It opens with Four Egos, One War, which distances itself from the concept of side one lyrically by being a song about war. To my understanding, it was actually originally released by Andy Tillisons other band, Parallel or 90 Degrees, so I'm not entirely sure why it's here. This version is pretty good, and it's refreshing to hear someone behind the microphone other than Andy (female singer Julie King accompanies Andy in parts i and iii, while Guy Manning sings part iv and Jakko sings part v). It is, ultimtaely, a pretty decent recording, although it doesn't quite reach the heights of the best prog rock epics.

I've read somewhere that the next track, The Full Gamut, is about Andy's divorce. Its lyrics are mysteriously missing from the booklet, so I initially expected it to be an instrumental. The lyrics are actually quite touching, however, although the music has yet to leave an impact on me beyond listening.

Overall, I'd give this album (these albums?) three stars. Definitely a lot of good ideas and fun lyrics, but overall, it feels a little drawn out over two discs, and lacks something cohesive.

TheGazzardian | 3/5 |


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