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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

3.72 | 205 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

wbiphoto
3 stars A gentleman who runs a relatively successful and well-known Prog music review site recommended The Tangent to me. He described the band as "keyboard-heavy and eclectic" and one of the very best Prog bands of the current era. He specifically mentioned Andy Tillison's vocal skills as particularly memorable and went as far as to compare Andy to Ian Anderson and Peter Hammill; saying that Andy was in the same league as the other men. I happen to be a big JT and VDGG fan so I made it a top priority to get a Tangent CD as soon as I could.

'Down And Out In Paris And London' was the only Tangent CD available at our local CD shop, so I picked it up without much thought. As soon as I got it in my car I popped it in and was sadly surprised to hear music that is bland and FAR, FAR from "eclectic". Whoever decided to file The Tangent under 'Eclectic Prog' at PA was not thinking or listening with a clear head. The Tangent are a CLONE of The Flower Kings, albeit a much less refined CLONE; yet TFK are categorized as a Symphonic Prog band on PA.

Categories aside, the music on this CD is flat-out boring. I really have no better way of putting it, other than to say it's BORING. For starters, Tillison is NOWHERE NEAR as evocative, powerful or memorable as Ian or Peter. His voice is weak and wavering and he says WAY, WAY, WAY TOO MUCH! So much so, that he liters the music with his words. I couldn't believe it when I took the CD jacket out and the guy wrote a FEW THOUSAND words; to included thanking over 100 people!!! That is absolutely without precedent. I thought Neal Morse had a lot to say; but Tillison takes the trophy!

It takes a humble artist to recognize when he/she cannot sign well enough to use their voice as the principal attraction of the music. Perfect examples of such humility are Steve Hackett and Andy Latimer. Each can play guitars and compose like very few others, but they don't dare to pollute their music with rampant, non-stop lyrics and vocalization. These men show restrain and know how to get the point across without needing to overwhelm the listener.

But not Andy Tillison! No sir, he's going to tell us as MUCH as possible about his observations about everything and anything and do so with an onslaught of words. I'm sure that if it weren't for the physical limits of the CD that he'd kept going on and on and on and on.....I've always questioned why musicians who have SO MUCH to say don't simply go out and write books! Neal Peart, a famous lyricist, has done just that. In all fairness to Neal, his lyrics are minimalistic when compared to Tillison's.

As for 'eclectic', there is NOTHING eclectic about this music. It's jazzy, like TFK, whereby the drummer uses cymbals non-stop(he must have a dozen in his kit) on every song, everywhere in the song. This is no to say that the drumming is bad. On the contrary, it's excellent; just not 'eclectic'. Eclectic would be Mastelotto's and Brufford's drumming with King Crimson; now THATS ECLECTIC.

As for the keyboard work; it's very good, but NOT eclectic! LOL! Andy uses a lot of Fender Rhodes-type electric piano and it's quite smooth in his approach. More reminiscent of Bob James' smooth jazz leanings than Kerry Minnear's funky, wacky and spaced-out ECLECTICISM. As for the synth solos(sounding very Minimoogish?) they are about as safe as anything I've ever heard from a "prog" keyboardist; showing a restrain that was actually alarming to me. The way that the Tangent's music was described to me I was ready for something along the lines of Gentle Giant or perhaps something safer along the lines of Spock's Beard. But at no time was I ready for safe, boring music. That is NOT what ECLECTIC means(please see definition in many on-line dictionaries).

Reason why I harp on and on about this NOT being an ECLECTIC recording is that I don't want someone else to be misguided, as I was, into thinking/hoping that The Tangent are the present-day KC, GG or VDGG. They are far, far from eclectic and sound like old guys playing music for old listeners. "Adult Contemporary Prog" is a much more fitting category for this type of music. BTW, I'm an OLD GUY, a 70s hippie, but I prefer a little more adventure in the music I listen to. This record simply didn't cut it for me.

I'm sure there are MANY who will disagree with my observations and may regard this CD as a masterpiece; and that's cool. But to my ears, this record merits 3 stars; and I'm being lenient with that rating.

wbiphoto | 3/5 |

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