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Lifesigns - Lifesigns CD (album) cover





3.81 | 213 ratings

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4 stars The band Lifesigns consists of John Young on keyboards/vocals, Nick Beggs on bass, chapman stick and backing vocals and Frosty Beedle on drums, all three of them are very experienced musicians who between them have played with a lot of bands. A friend of mine told me to check this band out and I have to say that I am glad he did. This album has been played to death on my way to and from work for the past fortnight and it has prompted my return to the Prog Archives to help spread the word. When you hear that musicians such as Steve Hackett and Thijs van Leer have contributed to the album you immediately sit up and take notice. I am old enough to remember the braided hairstyle Nick Beggs had in the early 80's whilst he was in Kajagoogoo, and here I admit to the guilty pleasure of actually enjoying tracks by them such as 'Too Shy' and 'Big Apple' - confession is good for the soul they say. More recently Beggs has played bass with Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson, thereby cementing solid prog credentials further strengthened by projects alongside others such as some bloke called Steve Howe. John Young for his part has worked alongside Jon Anderson, The Strawbs, Asia, Fish and Greenslade. He has also toured with the Scorpions - I might as well admit that I have been known to headbang along to the Scorps and have whistled merrily along to 'Wind of Change' and sung along to the rock radio classic 'Holiday'. All I can say about Martin 'Frosty' Beedle is that I know he was in Cutting Crew and that they had the best selling hit '(I Just) Died in Your Arms'. Knowing so little about the drummer does not imply anything on my part, but it suggests that between them this band have been there, seen it, done that and tie-dyed the t-shirt.

The album has 5 tracks and comes in at just under 55 minutes. The opening track 'Lighthouse' is the longest at just under 13 minutes long. The beginning sounds like it could feature on Luc Besson's 'Fifth Element' soundtrack and has a hint of sci-fi about it. Once the band have kicked in you begin to appreciate how well the vocals of Young and Beggs compliment each other. This song is pretty anthemic and 'proggy' - put it this way, as a fan of progressive rock music it made me smile to discover a new band that have nailed all the elements that I enjoy in prog music - complex layers, great keyboards, excellent musicianship and 'meaningful' lyrics. It's not 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' (thank God) but I recognised the prog sign-posts en route. The second track 'Telephone' is my personal favourite. Its opens with Gabriel-esque bass and just gets better every time I listen to it. Some may think it commercial - is that a crime? Genesis, Yes, Rush and Marillion have had 'commercial' songs - this song is as good as 'Wondrous Stories' in my opinion. If you don't believe me, listen to it yourself. Don't get precious about songs just because they are part of some ethereal holy canon of prog. This song 'Telephone' really reaches out to me in the second half where the joint vocals synch together and have a touch of Jon Anderson about them. I love this song - it cheers me up in this era of austerity, moody credit ratings and double dip recession. 'Fridge Full of Stars' is another excellent track - it features some great playing from Hackett and Leer, and has a strong Yes feel about it. Prog fans might prefer it to 'Telephone' - I can live with that. 'At the End of the World' sounds very, very like Kevin Gilbert. Know him? If not, check out the albums 'Thud' and 'The Shaming of the True' and then tell me I'm wrong. Excellent track. The final track 'Carousel' is just outstanding. The keyboards are excellent, Wakeman-esque organ and throughout it Leer throws in some superb flute playing. Put it this way, the last track will encourage you to play the entire album again, if only just to confirm that you will have difficulty in finding a weak track in the whole set.

horza | 4/5 |


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