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Exhibit A - Make Mine A Lobster CD (album) cover


Exhibit A


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PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
3 stars EXHIBIT A are a UK based band, practically under way since 1984 ... this includes some dormant years though. Their predecessor album is from 1994 ... but eventually this five-member group hailing from Essex got together again in 2007, with new ideas and inspiration. It was the starting shot for 'Make Mine A Lobster'. A good call let me sum up! This album is produced with care, consists of skillful arrangements, melodic rock songs which are worth it to explore with intense.

Even literally meant, From First To Last is exemplary for their abilities to develop catchy music. The lyrics invite to sing along - I could not escape from that after a while. Shifting time signatures and Neil Foss' symphonic styled keyboards prove the prog essence. Singer Dave Foss has a voice which is not really overflowing with variety but charming and charismatic anyhow, well embedded. That's how it goes ... they offer eight other songs in the same vein more or less, stylistically best placed under the neo prog flag, however also provided with some mainstream sentiment here and there.

To point out some other tracks - Rush Of Blood bears special trickiness, I feel some reference to Geddy Lee and his mates, Steve Watts convinces with his lively bass. And it's the haunting main refrain again which strikes here. The opener Touch The Stars shows some bombast, flexible keyboards and lush soaring guitar work when it comes to the solo part. So finally my conclusion is: this album offers much progressive spirit, technically on a high level. Roundabout 50 minutes of nice entertaining music, preferably recommended to fans of Final Conflict, Pallas, Believe, The Dreaming Tree and similar - 3.5 stars by now.

Report this review (#372169)
Posted Monday, January 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars UK outfit was formed sometime in the mid 80's, and in the 10 or so years they were active back then a cassette release saw the light of day in 1990 and a CD followed 4 years later, named "A Different Dimension" and "Out There" respectively. Time and circumstance prevented the band from continuing on at some point, but in 2007 they decided to reform and have another go. The first concrete result of that appeared in 2010, in the shape of the CD "Make Mine a Lobster".

Now, progressive rock is a funny old genre, and something of a musician's music kind of affair. Many fans expect to be served complicated and intricate instrumental motifs, the lush keyboards is a must for anyone trying on any kind of symphonic venture and if you're really looking for additional plus points you should sing in a strange language. By preference one you have made up yourself. Those looking for strong tendencies in that direction will most likely not be too interested in the exploits of Exhibit A, and can toddle along in quite another direction thank you. But if expressions such as art pop strikes a chord, read on.

Many reviewers love to splash around band names when writing about a CD. I'm as guilty as the next hack in that department, and in this case I'll namedrop three bands: Rush, Spandau Ballet and Hinterland. Two well known acts and one Irish obscurity I'll leave to the obsessively curious to google up after reading this. The first cut is the deepest, so to speak, and the bassist and guitarist here obviously know their Lee and Lifeson pretty well. But while sophisticated bass lines and gentle staccato guitar licks are featured throughout, those expecting a band taking on Ayn Rand inspired ventures, stories of Snow Dogs and exotic journey's to fabled Asian kingdoms won't find it here. Ardent Rush fans will recognize a sound just slightly more contemporary. Hold Your Fire in other words, as in the album and not a command.

The gentle and often rich keyboard textures as well as the lead vocals gave me a stronger mainstream association, and for some reason Spandau Ballet was a name that kept reappearing in my thoughts while trying to concentrate on the songs present on "Make Mine a Lobster." If fitting I'll leave to other fans and the band to make a call upon, a reprimand ordering me to concentrate better might just be forthcoming. As for the obscure reference, it reflects some associations I got from the guitar soloing. I suspect none of the members of Exhibit A are even aware of Irish duo Hinterland, so I kind of rule them out as a possible influence due to that. But for the token few that might have heard about them, the guitar soloing and the gentle melancholic moods that pops up on occasion share some resemblances at times.

Personally I'll have to admit to not being all that thrilled about this album, just a tad too slick and melodic to cater for my personal tastes. But those fond of late 80's Rush who also have a soft spot for the sophisticated parts of the mainstream pop/rock artists active in the same time period should enjoy this one. It is a well made production with a lot of heart and soul invested in it, and deserves to be taken a look at. In particular by an audience as outlined above.

Report this review (#401196)
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | Review Permalink

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