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Jadis - Fanatic CD (album) cover





3.29 | 99 ratings

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4 stars 'Fanatic' is the 5th studio album from Jadis, and their first since signing to InsideOut Records. While in some ways it continues the natural progression from 'Understand' (2000), in other ways it marks a subtle departure. Although I personally think this to be a strong, clearly defined album, it also seems to send the message that the early style adopted on 'More Than Meets The Eye' will not be replicated, and as such I feel that 'Fanatic' sits right on the boundaries of neo-prog, and as a consequence perhaps has less to offer 'Marillion' and 'Arena' fans than previous releases, leading instead to a more MOR release, which critcs would say at times wouldn't seem out of place on Radio 2.

The first thing to strike you is that the album has a very polished production, helped by the fact that many of the tracks drift seemlessly into each other, in more of a Floydian sounds cape, than we have previously been used to. In keeping with this, there appears to be a greater use of keyboards and synthesised technology to create the atmosphere, whereas Chandler's guitar, which had once soared above the rhythm section in a manner becoming of Latimer or early Hackett, now is more sparing and at times subdued. This to me seams to take the album nearer to 'Division Bell' territory, at times.

As a consequence of this, I find it more difficult than on previous recordings to suggest 'highlight' tracks, because while there are no particularly weak offerings, in the most positive sense, there are no tracks that standout either. The opener, 'The Great Outside' is one of the most upbeat on the album, with crunching guitar riffs alternating with light trademark Chandler licks. It isn't until the album's closer, 'Who Can We Be Sure Of' however, that this kind of power is employed again, where during this, possibly the album's heaviest track, the tempo is at it's quickest, with bombastic guitar chords and drums more prominent than anywhere else on the album.

Between these tracks, 'Fanatic' drifts elegantly through 'Into Temptation', which surprisingly employs slightly muffled vocals and distorted guitar in the chorus to create an etherreal atmosphere. 'Each & Every day' is a ballad which uses vocal harmonies, both from Orford, and Julia Worsley, whose voices aid the keyboards in softening the mood prior to the track's crescendo. This is quite effective, and I feel that the tone of the album would have benefitted from using Julia on other tracks.

It isn't however until you reach 'Fanatic', a dreamy keyboard driven instrumental, overlaid by weeping Gilmouresque guitar virtuosity, that you realise how subtle yet unrelenting, Jadis' metamorphosis has been; this is quite different in tone from others they have done, and poles apart from 'Holding Your Breath' on their debut album. This dreaminess is underlined on 'Take These Words', and the 8 minuter, 'What Kind Of Reason', demonstrating the evolution of the band. To sum this up, 'Fanatic' is a highly accomplished, polished and creditable album, which I could recommend, however it wasn't quite what I had expected, and leaves me intrigued as to Jadis' future offerings.

Jared | 4/5 |


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