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The Tangent - A Place in the Queue CD (album) cover


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.85 | 401 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I truly think The Tangent is one of the best progressive rock bands of the post 2000 years. If you listen closely to their music you could be under the impression this music was conceived in the mid seventies. Especially the organs & keyboards sound timeless. More than ever, the sound of this band is reminiscent to the Canterbury scene and bands like Hatfield & the north or Caravan ; especially the gentle vocals or the fairy tale character of the flute parts. On the debut album these influences were just part of a tribute section to H & N. Here, these elements are incorporated in a more natural way. But these are just some of the influences that appear in the sound. You can also notice some shades of Yes in the harmonic vocals and in the guitar parts of "GPS culture" . This can't be a coincidence as some of the lyrical subject are directly linked to that band "they didn't realise the sun was in my eyes ; Nous sommes de soleil". Keith Emerson comes to mind in some of the excellent keyboard parts. The melodies that are provided by the organs are more accessible due to the repetition of some tunes. A marvellous track like "GPS Culture" illustrates perfectly the feeling of a road trip musically. This doesn't mean The Tangent hasn't got its own unique trademarks. The nice atmosphere of this complex music enables you to enjoy this wonderful music from the very first listen. There's a succession of different parts & atmospheres in every track. Sometimes the mood is calm & smooth with delicate sounds on the back while on other moments it's quite jazzy like on the little funny track "DIY surgery". Some parts of this album are symphonic and occasionally pompous. Each excerpt impresses me by its stunning sound & sparkling melodies of vocals and instruments, it's almost unbelievable that they manage to maintain the quality level this high all the time. Both the opening track & the title track are large epics of the same kind. On these long epics the band takes the time to explore the extended parts full of musical creativity& emotional beauty. Here the instrumentation is enriched by the use of orchestral sounds. The sound of an odd track like "Follow your leaders" includes compelling keyboard parts & stunning melodies. Alongside the variations of organ, there's also some wonderful floating keyboards with a space/astral feel. Originally The Tangent started off as a solo project from Andy Tillison but once the other musicians were involved they became a band before the first album was finished. Each record release saw the entrance and the leaving of some band members. Guy Manning, Jonas Reingold & Theo Travis were part of the band from the beginning and the acoustics, sax and bass lines are played decently. For the third studio album Roine Stolt is replaced by Krister Johnsson on guitar. Unfortunately you can notice this. Not that Johnson is a bad guitarist, far from it, his guitar lines serve the music quite good. It's just that the band sounded just a tad better with those characteristic guitar lines of Roine Stolt. For the lyrics Tillison still seems very much in charge of this band. He gives the listener insight to his views on modern society issues like mass consumption, leadership & place of the individual in a society. These themes are recurring several times in different forms through the tales of his own life & observations from the past and the present. Take "London life" for example. The lyrics are clear and comprehensive. Musically the atmosphere is gorgeous, a succession of calm & up- tempo moments. This has to be one of my favourite tracks of the album. Lyrically this is a tale from Tillison's past. He recalls one trip to London where he was involved in the Falkland war protest. You can find more explanations of the concept in the sleeve notes. Sometimes it rather sounds as someone is telling a tale than a real lyric. It never bothers because of the stunning music underneath. The extensive instrumental interludes leave plenty of room for soloing. If you're not familiar with the sound of the voice of Tillison, it can sound a bit odd at first. He's not one of the best vocalists around but I always liked his voice. During some excerpt he's sounding smooth and delicate but the next moment his vocals are really powerful.

Unfortunately there's one weak point in this album. I suppose not many listeners of progressive rock will like "The sun in my eyes" which seems intended as a single heading for chart success. The commercial arrangements which consist of electronics & a blazer section may not please the fan. Underneath there's quite some decent melodies to discover. In either way this song is a lightweight when compared to the other tracks of the album.

The special edition contains another 40 minutes of new music. That's what I call bonus material ! Although these tracks aren't sounding competed and don't really fit in, this material is worthwhile of checking out. Musically The Tangent explores new musical ground with a satisfying result. "Promises were made" holds elements from gothic prog metal. "Forsaken cathedrals" is an extension of the musical elements that are used in "DIY Surgery". Most interesting are the jams in "Grooving On Mars" and "Kartoffelsalat Im Unterseeboot" which sometimes remind me of some ancient Porcupine Tree soundscapes. The explorations don't seem to go anywhere at some points but that can be fun too.

Conclusion : I treasured the two previous Tangent albums for their splendid sound, inspired melodies & interesting lyrics and "A place in the queue" , the third album, is no exception to the rule even though there's nothing really new to discover on this album.

Fishy | 4/5 |


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