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The Tangent - COMM CD (album) cover

COMM

The Tangent

 

Eclectic Prog

3.84 | 245 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Andy Tillison and company have really hit a home run with COMM, the fifth full-length offering from The Tangent. I've never been the biggest fan of this multi-national prog outfit from previous memory, but that must mean that I've either been extremely ignorant in the past or this album absolutely outdoes anything in their backcatalog - whatever the case, there's no question in my mind that COMM is an absolutely killer prog rock album and one of the year's best for sure. Epic compositions, complex arrangements, and memorable hooks are all found in abundance on COMM; this is the sort of album that every symphonic prog fan longs to hear. Whether or not you've been a fan of previous works from The Tangent, COMM is a near-essential purchase for all progressive rock listeners.

The Tangent sport a sound that is distinctly their own on COMM, while still wearing quite a few distinct influences on their sleeves. The most obvious points of reference here are probably Yes, Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, and Beardfish, but The Tangent also have an additional jazz tendency that sets them far apart from sounding like a "clone" band of any sort. This still isn't all that unique by modern symphonic prog standards, yet that seems like a minute complaint when the music is this top-notch. It's pretty safe to say that modern prog rock does not get much better than this.

Andy Tillison's keyboard palette of Hammond organs, moogs, and the like is usually the driving force of the music, and I simply can't get enough of his keyboard playing here. What a fantastic musician! His vocals are a bit more of an acquired taste, but I happen to love his powerful and distinct singing style. Luke Machin's guitar playing is also pretty phenomenal; he delivers a few really great solos on COMM. Theo Travis adds a nice touch with his flute and saxophone playing, and even though I wish he could've been a slightly more integral part of a few songs, he does what he does spectacularly. The rhythm section of Jonathan Barrett (bass) and Nick Rickwood (drums) is also great; both of these guys lay down plenty of complex and intricate foundations for most of the tracks.

COMM consists of only five tracks that add up to nearly an hour in length. I'm a bit glad that The Tangent didn't decide to fill up the whole CD with useless filler - every second of COMM is quality material, and it never overstays its welcome. The powerful, twenty- minute "The Wiki Man" opens the album with a bang, and is probably my favorite track of the album. "Titanic Calls Carpathia" is the other epic here and it is every bit as excellent as the aforementioned track. The three other songs are all a bit shorter, but I also really like all of them. "Tech Support Guy" is my favorite of the shorter songs - I especially dig the quirky and witty lyrics about how frustrating being a technical support worker for a company can be.

Even though COMM may not be the most revolutionary prog rock album in recent memory, this is an absolutely terrific observation. A flawless execution in terms of musicianship and production, excellent songwriting, and challenging instrumental portions all make this an album that should be in every symphonic prog fan's collection. COMM was a very pleasant surprise for me, and I will be sure to revisit The Tangent's earlier albums again in the near future. As far as this one is concerned, 4.5 stars are the least I can give. One of the year's best prog albums? I sure think so!

J-Man | 4/5 |

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