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Thieves' Kitchen

Eclectic Prog


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Greger
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars THIEVES KITCHEN is a rather new band with only two years behind them as a band. Their music is a mix between CROSS, DREAM THEATER, EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, GENTLE GIANT, HAPPY THE MAN, hard rock, jazzrock, KANSAS, KING CRIMSON, MANTICORE, Neo Prog, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and YES. This independently released album has a complex rhythm section, skilled musicians, great lengthy compositions, a nice CD cover and a good production. The only thing I can't really come to term with is the vocals that I'm finding too uncommitted and without power. The guitar player Phil Mercy is a real guitar maestro but unfortunately he has too much distortion on his guitar, almost throughout the entire album. The highlights are the 16 minutes opener "Mute", "The Return Of The Ultragravy" which has some Mellotron parts and the closing 20 minutes track "T.A.N.U.S.". All in all it's a very strong debut album from a band I think we'll be hearing more from in the future.

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#17636)
Posted Monday, February 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This band was formed by the former drummer for GREY LADY DOWN. They got their name THIEVES' KITCHEN from a Charles Dicken's book called OliverTwist, in that novel the place where all the orphans lived and practised their pickpocketing etc. was called "Thieves' Kitchen". This band is not your typical Neo-Prog band (if there is such a thing) they play some complex music at times with some odd time signatures.The musicianship is of a high quality, and the vocalist does a great job as well. I also like their sense of humour. By the way this is my favourite album from this band, I know i'm in the minority with that statement but it just clicked with me unlike their others.

The first song "Mute" has keyboards galore in it and I like the organ play backing it up. And there is a really good extended keyboard melody in this song, as well as some great guitar after 12 1/2 minutes. Again the vocals make this all work. I have to mention the chunky bass and also how intense it gets after 15 minutes. Great track ! "Time" features lots of mellotron samples throughout,and some more great guitar. The keyboard playing though is the focus here.

"The Return Of The Ultragravy" has some beautiful piano melodies throughout and more mellotron. More chunky bass and heaviness as well. Just a fantastic tune ! "Integrity" is my least favourite track although the bass and vocal melodies impress. The final song "T.A.N.U.S." is almost 20 minutes and so has lots of time changes as you can imagine, and a terrific guitar solo that I didn't think was going to end. Also more beautiful piano and vocals. Great chorus line too "it's just another #%@* day". It opens with the sound of a clock ticking and sparse piano before the alarm goes off and then we spend the day with this guy until he goes to bed at the end of a long day. Cool lyrics. Very catchy.

This is a splendid debut record, and for me a special one.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#96198)
Posted Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
3 stars This is the debut album by UK proggers Thieves' Kitchen which is the band featuring ex-GLD drummer Mark Robotham. It is quite ambitious for a debut in the respect that the opener is sixteen minutes long, while the closing song is almost twenty minutes in length. They have tried to mix early Genesis with Coliseum II, with the keyboard and guitar melody lines often being played as one. Mark has also switched to playing electric drums which gives the overall sound a slightly different feel.

It is an album that contains good ideas, but they don't always appear to gel quite as well as they should have done. This may be down to the fact that this debut has appeared relatively quickly after the band were formed, and they are still finding their musical feet as it were. I have to admit to not liking the drum sound at all, but am aware that others may like that style. It's just that I'm not one of them. It sounds too artificial, too machine-like.

I am sure that Thieves' Kitchen will find themselves a place within the progressive underground in the UK, which is not nearly as vibrant as it was even five years ago, but can't hear much here that would let them move beyond that. It is possible that this album is just too soon and maybe the next one will be better.

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#139796)
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars THIEVE'S KITCHEN are a UK based band formed by Mark Robotham, former member of the neo prog act GREY LADY DOWN, and their debut is a big big surprise...The influences are so many that is almost impossible to identify the exact style of the band...The digital synthesizer sound of GLD is there but they don't play neo prog at all...Symphonic moments are also there but this is not symphonic prog...Dark spots refering to KING CRIMSON, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and ANEKDOTEN are also there but that's not ''dark'' prog... This is 100% progressive rock, my friends...It is chaotic,accesible,melodic,complex,emotional,straight at the same time...All in one package...and the duration of the songs is long enough to allow the music to develop...Excellent start and brighter future...3.5 stars and a big promise for better works...This band really can reach the top!Highly recommended for those who are looking for the renaissance and identification of prog rock in 00's...

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#176233)
Posted Sunday, July 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The first notes of this album are with no doubt related with ''Dance On A Volcano'' from the ones you know about, I guess (shame on you if you don't).

I am quite astonished to see this band in the Eclectic genre. This debut album holds all the ingredients of a neo-prog music related effort. But this is pretty much in line with the fact that one of their member was playing with Grey Lady Down (GLD for later references). One of my fave neo-prog band BTW.

Most of the clichés of the genre are held in the opening epic. As earlier said, the ''Genesis'' influences are not alien and at mid time, the guitar sounds from the master Howe are added to the pudding. Some Banks synths are obviously not forgotten either of course. This being said ''Mute'' is not too bad a track.

I am quite confused when I can read that this band could be compared to ELP, VDGG, Kansas, Crimson and Yes. No more, no less. To me, they just sound as one out of many neo-prog bands. No less, no more.

The music displayed might be a little more structured like during the intro of ''Time'', but gosh! The beat turns quickly into the heavy notes and is quite hard to bear after a couple of minutes. Some sort of Sabbath with keyboards that can be heard. Fortunately, the second half of the song is much more elegant and symphonic.

The music turns out more difficult to bear while the long and insipid ''Return Of The Ultragravy'' is being played. Weak to no melody, attempts to complexity, but with little success. In all, a pretty weak track to my standards. This has already been heard a hundred times.

Most of the tracks are on the long edge, but this doesn't mean that they are all splendid. At the end of the day, the music that is offered here is quite average and boring. It is not ''Integrity'' that could change my mind. Press next is the best option to be honest.

If you would add that I am not thrilled at all with the vocals from Simon Boys, I guess that you understand my rating. Two stars for this average music. The long closing number (almost twenty minutes) is definitely not going to raise the level, unfortunately.even if a good guitar break is the highlight.

This should have been cut to a shorter story. Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#216030)
Posted Friday, May 15, 2009 | Review Permalink

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