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Beggars Opera - All Tomorrows Thinking CD (album) cover


Beggars Opera

Symphonic Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Scottish band BEGGARS OPERA had its heyday in the early 70's, back then issuing a trio of albums that are generally well regarded. Their recording career went into decline after that, however, and after 1980's "Lifeline" they went on a hiatus. A partial reformation by some members resulted in the less than thrilling effort "The Final Curtain" in 1996 as something of a last whimper. Then in 2007 original guitarist Ricky Gardiner and vocalist Virginia Scott returned with the album "Close to My Heart", and in 2009 this was followed by "Touching the Edge". And these days this reformed version of Beggars Opera seems to have reached some sort of creative peak, issuing no less than 3 full albums in 2010. "All Tomorrows Thinking" is the second of these.

One might ask why a band finds a reason to issue three different albums in one year. Part of the answer lies in the content of this CD, as the material provided here explores another part of the stylistic universe Beggars Opera has chosen to travel in. Art rock with strong symphonic tendencies, liberally flavored with space-tinged textures in rich arrangements, in some respects comparable to Pink Floyd I guess, but most of all a band emphasizing one aspect of their own unique sound. Well worth picking up for those fond of that part of their repertoire, and a good place to get to know the contemporary version of this veteran act.

Report this review (#377733)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars We can be heroes

Released simultaneously with "Suddenly ahead ahead", "All tomorrow's thinking" is a surprisingly short album, running to a little over half an hour. Consisting of seven tracks running between 3 and 5 minutes each, the atmosphere here is generally a bit darker than on "Suddenly ahead ahead".

Gardiner's time with David Bowie comes to mind on the opening "How She Swam" which to these ears is reminiscent of "Heroes" or "Ashes to ashes". Virginia Scott's vocals are highly effective while Gardiner adds some atmospheric lead guitar to a fine introductory song. The quasi title track " Tomorrows Thinking" opens with further appealing lead guitar on the slightly extended intro. The song itself is rather twee, the call and response female vocals being a little tacky.

"Those Echoes" is (just) the longest track at a shade over 5 minutes. Like the majority here, it could perhaps have been augmented through further instrumental development, the accent leaning too heavily towards the vocals. The best of the tracks for me is "Perfectly Lovely", a jaunty electro-pop number with a strong melody and some nice vocal effects. Gardiner's adds some floating lead guitar to this admittedly lightweight number. "Catching On To You" and "Save Me" represent more of the same, the basic pop structures on which they are based being uniformly apparent.

The album closes with "Faces in You", probably the lightest and most pop orientated song on the album.

In all, "All tomorrow's thinking" is for my money the weakest of the comeback albums. It is short and lacking in any real excitement or innovation. The songs are pleasant, but fail to show the ambition which was so obvious on other albums recorded this century.

Report this review (#414104)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permalink

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