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Comedy Of Errors - Disobey CD (album) cover

DISOBEY

Comedy Of Errors

 

Neo-Prog

3.88 | 214 ratings

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baz91
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Disobey', the new album from Scottish neo-prog act Comedy Of Errors, is something of a prog rock rollercoaster; it's certainly exciting, but there are a more than a few ups and downs. However, for a band who have been defunct for 23 years, this album represents a remarkable comeback. In fact, of the original group, only vocalist Joe Cairney, writer and keyboardist Jim Johnston and guitarist Mark Spalding remain, proving that this is not a completely different Comedy Of Errors.

While the quality of the music is questionable in places, one thing is certainly true: this album rocks! You have only to hear the opening bars of the title track, Disobey, to hear this. The guitars and bass and drums are usually set to 'heavy' and, with fewer odd time signatures than your regular progressive offering, it's quite easy to headbang to this album: always a good thing. In fact one track, namely American Rodeo seems to be purely about rocking out, with a simple chord progression that carries on throughout the song. The song in question seems like a mockery of this style of music, with lyrics like 'I'm going down the highway, and I'm going all the way'. The song ends with the lyrics 'Don't think it for a minute, the thing you do is art', which is quite a clever satire.

While the bulk of the album falls under the neo-prog umbrella, there's a fair bit of diversity between the tracks. From the soaring guitar of Prelude, Riff and Fugue to the anthemic chanting of Could Have Been Yesterday, there's a lot to be heard on this album. Most of the songs have an up-beat, light-hearted feel, with a few exceptions.

While there can be no doubt that this is a prog album, this is not the sort of album you'd pick up to hear prog. The opening track, Disobey, for example, sounds great with its 90 second intro and heavy feel, but when you listen closer, there's not a whole lot going on in the song. There's just 4 verses, all of them slightly different, but no instrumental or other progressive musical device. This makes it just slightly disappointing to the progressive ear.

Where there is a dirth in odd time signatures and meticulous instrumentals, the band make up for it with interesting instrumentation and songwriting. The 10-minute track Carousel has some really interesting songwriting, including a lullaby-type instrumental near the middle. However there are faults too; there's nothing in this track that really hooks the listener and the song is just a bit too slow throughout.

There is some good news though. The band save the best till last with the four-part 25 minute suite titled The Student Prince. The first part of the suite, When Will I See You Again? is easily my favourite track on the CD. The suite begins with a lyric which is sung almost note for note like the 'But he forced a smile...' lyric from Genesis's Can-Utility and the Coastliners. It's often been said that neo-prog is almost all influenced by Gabriel-era Genesis, and this particular line proves the point further. The main riff heard at the beginning and reprised at the end is utter genius and the guitar solo on top is just perfect. The second part, And So To Bed, has a more progressive structure, with a powerful 6/8 instrumental towards the end. The third part Foolcircle, is more of a ballad, and gives an injection of raw emotion to the suite. The final part, Green Light Coda ends the suite with in a quiet, laid-back way. How the parts are linked can be gleaned from the lyrics, but this is nonetheless an interesting and enjoyable suite.

'Disobey' has given me such mixed emotions that it's been difficult to say how I feel about it. While this album is no masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, it is still a triumph for the Scottish fivesome. There's certainly some comedy, maybe a few errors too, but 'Disobey' shows a band with real potential, and I for one am interested to see what they come up with next (as long as they don't wait until 2034 to release it).

baz91 | 3/5 |

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