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The Tangent - COMM CD (album) cover

COMM

The Tangent

 

Eclectic Prog

3.84 | 248 ratings

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Rivertree
Special Collaborator
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars 'COMM' makes an appearance as their 6th studio effort by now, a themed album related to communication issues in any way. This includes extended epics again, two on this occasion, both divided in six parts. As usual mastermind Andy Tillison pulls the strings like a wizard due to his varied keyboard work and electronica adds. I was completely blown away by their heavily canterbury styled debut 'The Music That Died Alone' some years ago, but lost relationship after that anyhow ... at least when it comes to the following studio output. Although they are faithful to this roots here basically, it all sounds more edgy I would say. As for the visual aspect the cover artwork marks a return to the partnership with Belarussian artist Ed Unitsky.

Is there any album existing without changes concerning the line up? - thus promising young guitarist Luke Machin makes his studio debut; he is said to have taken fans by storm at gigs around Europe in the past months. Hope to find a possibility eventually, saw them in 2008 featuring Jonas Reingold and Krister Jonsson for the last time. And while thinking about the band's perpetual spirit ... all members are involved when it comes to the song writing process what I've heard, this possibly has a large share. Now it's official that Jonathan Barrett had to quit for private reasons - too bad - hopefully no serious problem for him as well as Andy & Co - just roll the dice again.

And therefore Barrett - whether intended or not - probably represents The Wiki Man with his expressive bass, fast pace ... quick update ... surely not the end though and not necessarily something to add to the negative side of life. Oh, I can remember this electronic noise at the very start (and eventually in between), freely adapted from a fax machine ... or acoustic coupler (those were the days). The song is containing a great deal of turns with a symphonic orientation. Hohhhh .. I love this boyant jazzy/groovy interlude after seven minutes where Theo Travis already gets a chance. From sharp riffs to melancholic acoustic guitar - Luke offers a great bandwith alongside with Andy on synth and organ.

The Mind's Eye follows as THE challenge, the band frankly offers a cornucopia of inspirations within eight minutes. Vocals sound Peter Hammill related somehow, I also hear an ELP adapted virtuoso organ occasionally, and decorated with a Holdsworth reminiscent fusion guitar could it be that Miles Davis is jamming with them? Can't imagine what is intended with Shoot Them Down later - a standard rock ballad with less prog attitude - but the Tech Support Guy Luke Machin shines shortly afterwards due to his excellent rhythm and solo guitar appearance.

Regarding the communication topic they've chosen an ambitious way with the song title Titanic Calls Carpathia in the end, when pointing to this inconceivable incident which happened in 1912. So there is a long cinematic intro to state - clearly provided with some dramaturgy. Mechanical drums compete with a lively bass and metal infected guitar until they drift into the main chorus for the first time. Sounds unusual first - it definitely took several attempts to become accessible to this song and to realize all the nuances, Nick Rickwood's fine drum work for example. Barret's compelling funky bass is the driving force during another wonderful grooving part in between.

THE TANGENT are making a reliable journey including several prog sentiments and throughout different decades. 'COMM' is a thoroughly solid album on a sophisticated level, where the vocals are not the strongest point, whosoever has a turn. Lyrically as well as music wise the motif is well implemented. Andy Tillison somehow dominates the album with his keyboard skills, Luke Machin's contributions enhance the overall impression too. So all in all I come to the conclusion that this is an excellent recommendation - it only remains for me to add that the limited special edition comprises two bonus tracks, where especially the announced 'Watcher Of The Skies' cover has caused some rumours about a mysterious Peter Gabriel/Yes collaboration.

Rivertree | 4/5 |

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