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The Tangent - A Place In The Queue CD (album) cover

A PLACE IN THE QUEUE

The Tangent

 

Eclectic Prog

3.80 | 248 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Dark Nazgul
3 stars Not a place in the Hall of Fame. Just a place in the queue.

The first time I heard this album I was not satisfied. I think I heard it a couple of times and then put it away. After several months I decided to give "A Place In The Queue" another chance and, surprise! I must admit that I began to appreciate it, at least in part.

The quality of the music is good but in every track, except one (the third), there are three types of problems that affect decisively my rating:

1) the arrangements are too bombastic and pompous because of an excessive use of synth that makes the style too close to electronic music. Tillison is a great keyboard player but sometimes he should forget the infinite possibilities that the synth has to offer. The selection of some synth tones, in fact, is at least questionable. 2) The second problem is that the album is too long. I'm a big fan of the suites. I love the songs of more than 20 minutes. "Tales From Topographic Oceans" (mentioned by Tillison in the sleeve notes) is an album that I appreciate very much. But "Tales" has well-defined dynamics, constructed with great skill, where acoustic moments alternate with more aggressive, with catchy melodies followed by very experimental sections. By contrary here, in my opinion, everything is much more monotonous and, as I already said, too pompous. 80 minutes of music are too much in this case. In every track there are musical themes that could be safely omitted. 3) Tillison's voice is mediocre, and in some cases extremely disappointing. It is, surely, a great keyboard player. But his vocal range is low, the intonation is not always clear, and his tone somewhat anonymous. Again, Tillison certainly has not the capacity to interpretate songs like Hammill or Gabriel. So a lot of vocal parts of the album are really weak.

These flaws are, of course, very important: "A Place In The Queue" can not be considered a four, or five, stars rated album, in my opinion. But it is undeniable that, apart from the brief The Sun In Your Eyes, all the songs are interesting and contain some splendid moments (that you appreciate fully, however, only after many plays, so ... patience!). Concerning the style, as many reviewers have said, this is a not particularly original album because the sounds are based on many prog bands of the 70 (Yes, King Crimson. Camel and the bands of Canterbury in particular). Musicians? Great contribution of the rhythm section and also good work on piano and organ Tillison, but the protagonist is Theo Travis: he takes the scene with stunning solos of sax and other wind instruments.

Now, a very short description of the individual tracks:

1. In Earnest. The first suite (20 minutes long) is one of the best things of the album. The first three minutes, very beautiful, seem to come directly from "Island", the fourth album by King Crimson. In the central section there are also excellent guitar parts (the best in the album) and still good solos by Travis. With few weak points you reach the end (a reprise of the opening theme). Rating: 7 / 10

2. Lost In London. Jazz-rock in Caravan style. The vocal parts are what I prefer, despite Tillison. This is also a good piece. Rating: 7 / 10

3. DIY Surgery. It 's the most experimental track, and personally my favorite. Masterfully built by Travis with sax solos and a frenetic jazz tempo. Echoes of King Crimson and VDGG. Rating: 8 / 10.

4. GPS Culture. The style of the masters of '70s prog is imitated in a way too obvious. The first three or four minutes, it seems a piece of Yes, with Tillison mimicking Wakeman. In the final part is still too obvious references to the masters of Prog English: first Pink Floyd, then a chorus of voices identical to those of Northettes (female voices of Hatfield And The North) and then Yes again with the final ("da da da ... da ... daaa ") really derivative. Tillison's voice is frankly very weak. Rating: 4 / 10.

5. Follow Your Leaders is a song in Spock's Beard style, with a convincing vocals (yes!) and some solo by Travis in Canterbury style. Not very interesting and begins to tire after five or six plays. Rating: 4 / 10

6. The Sun In My Eyes. Few things to say. It's a funky track, very biased towards the electronic pop, almost disco music! It is not prog, absolutely. You can listen to the first or second time you hear the album. Then, surely, you can skip this one. Rating: 1 / 10

7. A Place In The Queue is the second suite of more than 25 minutes. Draws much the style of Canterbury already by the sax introduction in Soft Machine / Hatfield style. The instrumental central section is very beautiful with great Tillison works on piano and Travis protagonist of memorable solos. A bit of Camel ("Rain Dances" period) here. The vocals after minute 13 (which will be reprised in the final) is pleasant and quite melodic. After 17 minutes there is a certain drop in quality, but overall is a good song. Rating: 7 / 10. I am totally opposed to bonus tracks, and then I do not include any review of the bonus CD.

Overall, this is not a masterpiece, but it has its moments. Those who hate the synthesizer must avoid it. However, "A Place In The Queue" is not bad for me and fits more or less the same height as many albums of contemporary progressive rock: is good, surely derivative and not essential, but after all absolutely listenable.

Rating: 5 / 10.

Best song: DIY Surgery

Dark Nazgul | 3/5 |

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