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WORLD OF WONDER

Jump

 

Neo-Prog

2.02 | 4 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars "This is no dull rehearsal, this is your only chance. The stage is set for you, come on and dance!"

World Of Wonder was Jump's sophomore album and here they showcase their "wondrous world" of eclectic Rock better than on the debut. Many of the band's trademarks were already present here (albeit in less than fully developed form) including the excellent vocals of Mr. (John Dexter) Jones, the commanding guitar playing of Steve Hayes and Pete Davies (one of the few guitar duos in Neo-Prog), and the keyboards of Mo (one of the few female keyboard players in Prog).

The album opens with A Northern Man which reminds me a bit of 80's Jethro Tull with its tasteful flute-like keyboards, clean and sharp, almost "metallic" electric guitar sound, and the nifty acoustic-electric interplay. This is a good opening number that sets the stage for a good album. However, the next couple of tracks raise warning flags as to the quality and direction of the album (and the band). I wonder how many prospective fans switched off before reaching the album's much better second half. The title track and (the autobiographical?) Mr. Jones are rather mundane, conventional Hard Rock numbers, and definitely the weakest tracks of this album. To continue with the Jethro Tull comparison, these songs can perhaps be associated with style of the latter's weak Rock Island album. Louder Than Words is a bit better, but it too is not particularly interesting even if I do like the "we counted them in, we counted them out"- section which points towards the more "theatrical" style of the excellent follow-up album ...And All The King's Men.

As I said, the second half of the album is clearly better and more interesting than the first half. The better songs begin with the excellent Gryphan's Galliard, a rocking medieval-style dance tune. Poison In The Sea is a bit of a Reggae Rock fusion. Not one my favourite songs here by any means, but it is interesting enough. Four Winds Blow is a very good progressive Folk Rock number with accordion (or something that sounds like an accordion) and a nice acoustic guitar solo. Funny is another progressive track that fuses together Jazz Rock, Funk Rock, and Folk Rock in an interesting way. Like Poison In The Sea, this is probably an acquired taste, but I like it! At this point the album has recovered from the initial malaise, but some of the best is yet to come. The final two tracks, Where Silver Calls and Whip-Hand Jack, are both excellent progressive Folk Rock pieces; the kind of Folk Rock that really rocks.

It is true that World Of Wonder suffers from the inclusion of a couple of weaker numbers, but you shouldn't let the few mundane rockers give you the wrong impression about the album and the band. World Of Wonder definitely has enough highlights to be an overall good Jump album that is even up to par with or even better than some of the band's more recent (rather different) albums. In its best moments it points towards superior subsequent albums like ...And All The King's Men and Living In A Promised Land.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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