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The Tangent - Proxy CD (album) cover


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

4.01 | 307 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I have talked about The Tangent before, so I don't need to give them an introduction at this point. This album is their follow-up to 2017, highly political and poetic, The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery. Up until that point, this band has been relatively playing it a bit safe with their Prog convictions, sometimes dipping their toes in other styles, but mostly stayed true to a more symphonic and jazzy style of prog rock. However, with Slow Rust, we got some experimentation with the lyricism. It was extremely politically charged, and where other albums have dived into politics, they had more talking points included, only using politics for their bigger epics. This lyrical experimentation led the band to a new understanding of what they wanted to create, and in this album, we have experimentation in sound and style.

This is probably their most jazzy album yet. Proxy, the titular first track on the album, is dripping with jazz influence on it. I am getting flavors of Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and even a tiny bit of Herbie Hancock, mixed with the band's retro Prog nature. You know they have that really fun experimental jazz to them on this song. It switches up a lot going from a more fusion sound to a funk jazz sound to stuff that is a little more soulful. I gotta say I love how things feel very fresh on this record. Past albums have been good, but everything felt sort of similar, but here we get stuff that shows off the band's progressive nature. I also really think that this being a 16-minute track allows the band to try new things, and where most bands might get lost and confused with no direction, here we can see that these boys have a knack for finding the style they want to find, most likely because they are all pretty substantial Prog musicians who've been in bands before. Overall this is great.

This whole new direction continues in The Melting Andalusian Skies. So where the last song had that sort of experimentation in their style, here we can see them taking some influence off of more well-known Prog bands such as Yes or King Crimson. This has a very Relayeresque sound to it, with a lot of more improv and classically focused music, but in a more tightly knit and stylized sound. I do think, however, that while this song is good, it is pretty weak all things considered. I do not find the whole style they have here to be all that original, and retro Prog isn't that original, to begin with, but here I feel like they are sort of ripping off bands from the past more than just taking influence from them. It's rather lukewarm in that regard. I cannot say it is a bad song, but whenever I hear it, I sort of just want to listen to Yes instead.

However, things do get better with A Case of Misplaced Optimism. This song is funky. Like really funky. It has that smooth foot-tapping beat with a nice bass line, and a cool piano in the back leading the song forward. It's very fun, and honestly, I do think The Tangent benefits heavily from jazz Prog more than they do with symphonic Prog. They can make great suites with very beautiful endings, but they feel very safe in terms of Prog standards. Here, we are getting styles of funk, jazz, R&B, and many more polyrhythmic music genres. This song is great, it just helps the band move forward in this journey of finding interesting ways of continuing their Prog sound.

The last track on the album, minus the two bonus tracks Supper's Off and Excerpt From Exo Oceans, The Adulthood Lie is the band's peak in their stylistic journey. This is them diving deep into not just jazz but a boatload of different types of mediums. I can hear distinct sounds of space rock, metal, experimental music, heck I think, with the drums and the melody played on the synths, I can even hear a little bit of inspiration from video game soundtracks. It feels like a track you'd hear from like a Sonic game, but obviously with a proggy flair. Honestly, I think this combination of styles works. This album feels like a journey through finding a new clear style, and their pinnacle being their last track, one filled with plenty of variations of music, really helps. You know I think The Tangent works best without the need of retreading old ground and judging from the albums afterward, Auto Reconnaissance and Songs From The Hard Shoulder, we got just that in terms of sound, quality, and styles.

I do think this album is great, not a masterpiece, but it's one that I highly encourage you to check out. I suggest that if you might not liked their previous efforts then this album is worth a try since it holds some of the most experimental, and deeply enriched music they have created so far. This is a very great record and one that I do appreciate in the long run.

Dapper~Blueberries | 4/5 |


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