Lifesigns - Lifesigns CD (album) cover





3.84 | 165 ratings

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3 stars This interesting ad hoc trio (augmented by a few guest dignitaries) and its eponymous debut album came "out of nowhere" for many of us. Some rushed to classify Lifesigns a prog supergroup; I'd describe them as a band of experienced musicians of different backgrounds.

In the past the keyboardist John Young had done a lot of work with a number of grand prog figures (like Palmer and Wetton), which certainly helped him with his excellent music-making skills - but not so much with name recognition.

Nick Beggs has enjoyed a lot of proggy spotlight in the past year or so, by virtue of being an important member of Steven Wilson's band. Before that, his principal claim to fame was a pop band Kajagoogoo, and I didn't know much about Frosty Beedle at all.

The first thing that attracts attention to the album is the cover art - a quaint picture of rural England (note the appropriately gloomy, almost menacing sky over the tranquil pasture, hinting maybe at the "Hanging on in quiet desperation" undercurrent?). And the red phone booth, cutely photoshopped into the hedgerow (some say Tardis would have been even better). All in all, the cover art is perfect for the mood of the album.

The music itself ... it's OK, but not really great. While John Young's singing and his vocal harmonies with Beggs are remarkably pleasant, and many of his keyboard passages sport a Morazian flair, the rest of the components are ... good ... as in "3 stars good".

The worst thing about Lifesigns is, though, that after some initial excitement I don't feel like playing it at all. For intensive, dedicated listening Lifesigns is probably a little bit too "lite n' trite", while for the evening ("background music") pleasure I'd say it's too sonically crowded.

Reminds me of the Subaru Baja story (no offense intended) - came across as cute and clever, but got chopped by the manufacturer anyway because it turned out too small to be a useful pickup truck, and couldn't be quite become a wagon because of that awkward hole where wagons have enclosed cargo space :)

In a way I find it extraordinary that I should lose interest in an album after two listens, but that what's happened, unfortunately.

Argonaught | 3/5 |


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