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Ark - Wild Untamed Imaginings CD (album) cover

WILD UNTAMED IMAGININGS

Ark

 

Neo-Prog

3.11 | 25 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars So they've finally made it?

Ark (not to be confused with the Norwegian Prog Metal band of the same name or the Swedish Glam Rock band The Ark) is a band that started already in the mid 80's and released several cassettes and EP's in the late 80's and early 90's. But they never really "made it". The present album consists of newly recorded versions of songs originally written throughout the band's career, some of which were previously released and others who hitherto existed only in demo form. As such it is a middle ground between a best of compilation and a brand new studio album. The sound of Ark comes close to that of fellow Brits It Bites (whom they also supported on tour) and in my opinion Crossover Prog would perhaps be a more accurate categorization than Neo-Prog. However, in terms of the band's history and its personnel, their place in Neo-Prog is fully understandable; they toured with IQ on their Are You Sitting Comfortably? tour and one of the members of Ark is John Jowitt of IQ, Jadis and Arena fame. In addition to Jowitt on bass, the current line-up of the band included original members Tony Short on vocals and flute, Pete Wheatley on lead guitar and Steve Harris on guitar synth. Drums are handled by one Tim Churchman.

All of the 11 songs on Wild Untamed Imaginings are around five minutes in length and features some catchy choruses. For me, nothing really stands out in either direction, meaning that there are no bad tracks as such but also no great ones. The presence of flute on several tracks gives a slight folky atmosphere to the proceedings that occasionally brings to mind (the much better band) Haze. The guitars do not have that clean sound usually associated with Neo-Prog, but rather a more rough sound that gives a slight punky feel and the drums and vocals go well along with that.

Three of the tracks here, Gaia, Kaleidoscope and Nowhere's Ark, were previously released on the band's 1988 debut album The Dreams Of Mr. Jones, but I cannot say if the present versions are improvements or not. Yet other tracks apparently have an even longer history to them, originally appearing on old demos and EP's. I occasionally get the feeling that they were scraping the barrel to find enough material for this album.

Overall, Wild Untamed Imaginings is a pleasant listen that is worth hearing. But it is hardly essential listening for anyone apart from those who might have followed the band since their early days.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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