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Comedy Of Errors - Disobey CD (album) cover


Comedy Of Errors


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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars As you like it

Having long since been quietly allocated their place in the where are they now archives of prog, it is with the greatest of pleasure that I can report that Comedy of Errors have released their first new album in well over 20 years. The core of the line up which recorded their 1988 eponymous album reconvene, including vocalist Joe Cairney, keyboards player Jim Johnston and guitarist Mark Spalding. Johnston writes and arranges all the songs here, but the three plus Bruce Levick on drums gel together as if their last studio collaboration was but a few months ago. The band themselves see this as a debut album, not because they wish to turn their backs on their legacy, but because this is very much a new beginning for what will hopefully become a highly successful rebirth.

Still rooted mainly in the neo-prog (the album publicity prefers 'post prog') style they adopted all those years ago, there is an intrinsic confidence to 'Disobey' which underpins a highly creditable set of songs climaxing in the four part 26 minute epic 'The student prince'.

The album opens with its title track, a truly majestic starter which thrives on power chords and walls of synths. Despite the maturity of the band members, Joe Cairney's voice sounds as young as ever. Mark Spalding takes the opportunity to slip in some fine lead guitar early on, the track making an unmistakable statement that the band are very much alive. 'Jekyll' is an upbeat number based around the synth runs of Jim Johnston. Here, acoustic guitar combines with chorale keyboards effects to create an uplifting atmosphere for the piece. During its 5 minute tenure this superb song becomes a mini- prog epic.

As the title suggests, 'Prelude, riff and fugue' is an instrumental in three linked parts. At times ELP like, at other times perhaps Wakeman-esque, the piece shows yet another aspect to the band's willingness to experiment and diversify. The lead guitar motif here is particularly captivating. At around 10 minutes, 'Carousel' is the longest single piece on the album. This beautifully reflective song describes the challenges of the ageing process as seen through the failing eyes of an old man. Sitting somewhere between classic symphonic prog and its younger offspring neo-prog, the piece draws on the full instrumental prowess of the band while affording Joe Cairney the opportunity to display his fine vocal talents.

'American rodeo' is something of an oddity in the set, the band taking a quick dive into some straightforward loud rock. Complete with 'Goin' down the highway' lyrics, the song is great fun, and not to be taken too seriously. Things settle right down again for 'Could have been yesterday', which opens with some 'The wizard' (Uriah Heep) like tumbling acoustic guitar. The song, and in particular the chorus, has an anthemic quality, with suitably picturesque lyrics.

The brief piano instrumental 'Ailsa's lullaby' apparently takes its name from the Ailsa Johnston to whom the album is dedicated; presumably the daughter of Jim Johnston. The piece links in nicely to the piano intro to 'Joke', a song which reminded me of Supertramp's 'If everyone was listening' (for no justifiable reason!). One again, Mark Spalding adds some excellent lead guitar to this building prog ballad.

The albums concludes with the four part 'The student prince'. This piece appears to have been in development for many years, the first part even being mentioned in the track listing for the self titled 1988 album. Heard as a complete piece, the four sections stand alone as individual songs but marry well together to form the greater whole. There are strong hints of bands such as Arena, Pendragon and IQ in the styles and structures adopted, but the suite also finds its own unique identity. This magnificent statement alone must surely serve to establish Comedy of Errors credentials as a tier one neo-prog band.

It really does seem quite remarkable that 23 years after the release of their previous album, Comedy of Errors should reappear. What is even more remarkable though is that they should return with an album which by any standard is a magnificent achievement. If 'Disobey' and the launch gig where the band played live together for the first time in over 20 years are anything to go by, Comedy of Errors time has finally arrived.

Report this review (#451560)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I attended the Abel Ganz/Credo gig in Glasgow in May 2011 and I was very pleasantly surprised that Comedy of Errors were also on the bill and launching their new album Disobey. They played a 40 minute set, which was quite sensational, and I bought the album there and then. It is always a joy when you "discover" a gem, and Disobey is truly that. Very much in the NeoProg style, it explodes into life with the very first (title) track, and with one exception maintains a very high standard right to the end. The track, which stood out for me live and on the album is the instrumental Prelude, Riff and Fugue. It starts off with a Focusesque harpsichord sound and builds slowly to the introduction of some magnificent guitar work. It was stunning live and has been running through my head ever since. American Rodeo is the one track that disappoints, being more hard rock than prog rock. Not withstanding this, I have awarded full marks as I will be listening to this album for a long time to come.
Report this review (#470600)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Just like Schwarzenegger's movies: Action und Comedy.

Yes, this Comedy of Errors has a lot of action moments such as frenzy keyboard solos (a la Clive Nolan, thank you very much) and good rythms like in The Student Prince suite. This band is giving you a run for your money, and frankly the Néo genre needed fresh blood...really bad.

I qualify this entry as fresh blood, but not in terms of ingenuity or new approach; this is album lives and breathes the 80's, especially albums like Misplaced Chilhood or artists like Gowan. Meh, whaddaya want? The originality is not Disobey's strong point! What is it then? Well, and I weight my words here, the level of melody is astonishing. They throw at your face over and over again some of the best melodies you could imagine; never seen since Arena. They take a well- know recipe: the same keys effects and Stratoscaster solos we heard 2000 time BUT with a tons of hooks. Finally, a band not ashamed to entertain you! I recall the best of Arena's keyboards with tasty guitar straight from Kate Bush Wuthering Heights. I know! Not ground breaking, but the melodies are just sooooo *bleeping* good. I feel like closing my eyes to Prelude, Riff and Fugue and dive off a cliff listening this fantastic track or running in the rain to Jekyll, stomping every time into shallow ponds of water. Lots of metaphors but lots of taste!

Yes to unoriginality, yes to awesome hooks, yes to entertainment, yes to replay button and YES to Comedy of Errors.

Report this review (#478920)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars A second chance

I think it is very fair to say that most of the genre-specific album top lists of the respective subgenres here on Prog Archives predominantly contains albums released during the first few years of existence of the subgenre in question. Though, not so for Neo-Prog; looking at the Neo-Prog top 100 list, one can easily notice that an overwhelming number of albums are not from the early 80's when the genre first began but instead from recent years. Moreover, most of the genre's recognized originators and many of the major names in the genre have released albums in recent years that are far more popular than these same bands respective "classic" albums from the 80's and early 90's. This is true of IQ, Galahad, Abel Ganz, Pallas and Pendragon, for example. Who could ever have imagined this back in the late 80's when Neo-Prog was declared dead?

It is evident that Neo-Prog has been undergoing an astonishing renaissance in recent years that would be unimaginable for most (all?) other subgenres on this site. Another sign of this (or possibly an effect of it?) is that surprisingly many bands from the distant past make unexpected returns. Even bands that never made it in the first place are now getting back together and releasing albums to rave reviews. Comedy Of Errors is one such band. Initially formed in 1984, they were struggling to make a name for themselves without much success over the course of a few years in the 80's. After having recorded a couple of shorter demos they quickly faded into oblivion. A CD compiling some of the band's early recordings was released in 1988 and this is generally considered to be the band's debut album even if it was not sanctioned by the band themselves.

This would have been the end of the story, but forward some 20 years and Comedy Of Errors very unexpectedly got back together again to record this full length album called Disobey (which the band themselves now consider to be their debut album); Comedy Of Errors unexpectedly resurfaced and thus joined the ranks of unsuccessful bands from the past wanting to have a second chance in an era more favourable to progressive Rock than was the 80's. It is indeed good times for fans of progressive music in general and Neo- Prog in particular. Comedy Of Errors are worthy practitioners of this "trend". Disobey features some strong compositions, good vocals, nice keyboard and lead guitar parts.

While rooted in the 80's, Disobey is not a retro project as such. The sound is more modern, or dare I say "timeless"? I find the sound of this album a bit grittier and downright rocking than most other recent Neo-Prog releases, but there are also some nice classic Symphonic Prog influences. It is unclear to me how many of the tracks are re- recorded versions of songs written in the band's early days, but only one of the 12 tracks here appeared previously on the unofficial self-titled 1988 release - namely, the first part of The Student Prince suite.

Most of the songs here are good, but there are a couple of weaker tracks in the middle of the album in the rather straightforward rocker American Rodeo and the overly anthemic Could Have Been Yesterday. There are two pleasant instrumentals in Prelude, Riff And Fugue and Ailsa's Lullaby that bring a bit of diversity to the album. The best tracks for me though are the 10 minute Carousel, Jekyll and the opening title-track as well as the piano-driven ballad Joke. The latter is not unlike The Bee Gees' I Started A Joke (but sounding more like Faith No More's cover of the same song) in style. The four-part The Student Price is good, but the four parts are really rather independent songs than parts of a single extended piece.

Disobey is a good addition to any Neo-Prog collection, but not quite up there for me among the better albums of the genre

Report this review (#483017)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars 'Disobey', the new album from Scottish neo-prog act Comedy Of Errors, is something of a prog rock rollercoaster; it's certainly exciting, but there are a more than a few ups and downs. However, for a band who have been defunct for 23 years, this album represents a remarkable comeback. In fact, of the original group, only vocalist Joe Cairney, writer and keyboardist Jim Johnston and guitarist Mark Spalding remain, proving that this is not a completely different Comedy Of Errors.

While the quality of the music is questionable in places, one thing is certainly true: this album rocks! You have only to hear the opening bars of the title track, Disobey, to hear this. The guitars and bass and drums are usually set to 'heavy' and, with fewer odd time signatures than your regular progressive offering, it's quite easy to headbang to this album: always a good thing. In fact one track, namely American Rodeo seems to be purely about rocking out, with a simple chord progression that carries on throughout the song. The song in question seems like a mockery of this style of music, with lyrics like 'I'm going down the highway, and I'm going all the way'. The song ends with the lyrics 'Don't think it for a minute, the thing you do is art', which is quite a clever satire.

While the bulk of the album falls under the neo-prog umbrella, there's a fair bit of diversity between the tracks. From the soaring guitar of Prelude, Riff and Fugue to the anthemic chanting of Could Have Been Yesterday, there's a lot to be heard on this album. Most of the songs have an up-beat, light-hearted feel, with a few exceptions.

While there can be no doubt that this is a prog album, this is not the sort of album you'd pick up to hear prog. The opening track, Disobey, for example, sounds great with its 90 second intro and heavy feel, but when you listen closer, there's not a whole lot going on in the song. There's just 4 verses, all of them slightly different, but no instrumental or other progressive musical device. This makes it just slightly disappointing to the progressive ear.

Where there is a dirth in odd time signatures and meticulous instrumentals, the band make up for it with interesting instrumentation and songwriting. The 10-minute track Carousel has some really interesting songwriting, including a lullaby-type instrumental near the middle. However there are faults too; there's nothing in this track that really hooks the listener and the song is just a bit too slow throughout.

There is some good news though. The band save the best till last with the four-part 25 minute suite titled The Student Prince. The first part of the suite, When Will I See You Again? is easily my favourite track on the CD. The suite begins with a lyric which is sung almost note for note like the 'But he forced a smile...' lyric from Genesis's Can-Utility and the Coastliners. It's often been said that neo-prog is almost all influenced by Gabriel-era Genesis, and this particular line proves the point further. The main riff heard at the beginning and reprised at the end is utter genius and the guitar solo on top is just perfect. The second part, And So To Bed, has a more progressive structure, with a powerful 6/8 instrumental towards the end. The third part Foolcircle, is more of a ballad, and gives an injection of raw emotion to the suite. The final part, Green Light Coda ends the suite with in a quiet, laid-back way. How the parts are linked can be gleaned from the lyrics, but this is nonetheless an interesting and enjoyable suite.

'Disobey' has given me such mixed emotions that it's been difficult to say how I feel about it. While this album is no masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, it is still a triumph for the Scottish fivesome. There's certainly some comedy, maybe a few errors too, but 'Disobey' shows a band with real potential, and I for one am interested to see what they come up with next (as long as they don't wait until 2034 to release it).

Report this review (#507448)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Disobey' - Comedy Of Errors (7/10)

Before 2011, this Scottish band was virtually unknown, even by neo-prog scholars. For a band that has been around for a quarter of a century, this might seem quite a bit odd, but for one reason or another, the band broke up back in the 80s before they ever came out with a full length. Much like the case was with BunChakeze of last year, this is a band that is giving themselves a second go at the chance they didn't take, that being an official release of their music. Finally, this melodic prog group has a full-length album out, and as the saying goes; 'better late than never'. In one of the finer examples of neo-prog I have heard this year, Comedy Of Errors' 'Disobey' is a satirical, witty record that has more than enough going for it to finally put this band on the map.

As the neo-prog label of this band implies, Comedy Of Errors has a very melodic, even accessible style to them, much in the vein of bands like Pendragon and Pallas. Here we have shorter songs that could even be considered pop, and a twenty-six minute epic to round off the second half of the album. For being defunct for such a long period of time, it is understandable that this band would have many musical ideas that they might want to express, and this is translated into an album that is not quite as consistent as a real masterpiece of the style might be, but with all the same ambition and inspiration. The sound of Comedy Of Errors is largely driven by the vocals of Joe Cairney, who- as has been mentioned in other reviews- has a voice far more youthful-sounding than you might expect. He has a somewhat higher-register sound to his voice that works very well for this band's sound, and fortunately, the use of his voice is dominant throughout the album. Instrumentally, this is a band that has a very focused direction they are going in, leaning towards the more melodic and atmospheric side of prog rock. The music is complex in its arrangement rather than its composition, and though there are not any moments here where the band's musical skill is made clear through a technical display, there are usually several sounds moving in unison at any given moment.

The songwriting here is sometimes very inspired, and at other times, it succumbs to a certain level of cheese that builds up. I would be quicker to bring up certain sections in given songs for their excellence rather than a complete song itself. Especially when it comes to the twenty-six minute, four part epic 'The Student Prince', I sometimes found really excellent, dramatic moments sitting next to parts which felt a little more superficial. There's no minute of music on 'Disobey' that passed me as being poor, but even after the first listen, I was very aware that certain segments of this piece worked much better than others, and it even seems somewhat intentional in places. The much-talked about song 'American Rodeo' for example is more or less a joke song, and by pulling out virtually every cliche of hard rock that they can, it becomes a fairly tongue-in-cheek song, although for the sake of actual music, it is bland and generic.

Comedy Of Errors is a band that I am glad to have making music, because it is clear that they have great things to offer neo-prog. Although I am not always a big fan of this sound in prog, 'Disobey' is a strong outing for these Scots, although far from a masterpiece. With some very high moments and just as many parts I was left ambivalent to, Comedy Of Errors has created a bumpy, but distinguished album.

Report this review (#541052)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars First off this album blew me away the first time I spun it as the opening track 'Disobey' (6:45) is quite unique with its dragging nuance - it sounds a bit of atmospheric and it impressed me and made me curious with what the next tracks would sound like. Musically the opening track is probably like typical neo-prog mellow style but the sound experience is really excellent to me, maybe the unique background keyboard work that sound like dragging. The second track 'Jekyll' (5:12) is another excellent track with a very nice acoustic guitar work that you can find all across the segments in the track. The music style is not something new but the overall sound of the music is really nice. There are keyboard solo that is typical neo- prog music and it really sounds beautiful.

The third track is 'Prelude, riff and fugue' (4:41) is an excellent instrumental that explores great keyboard work and stunning guitar solo. As the music flows I really entangled with the beauty of tagline melody the track has, combined with excellent harmonies from the instruments played throughout the track. Even though the tagline melody is quite simple but the music textures make the track really nice to enjoy. 'Carousel' (9:57) starts off with guitar fills followed with electric guitar solo and vocal line. The track moves slowly into crescendo until it reaches at approximately minute 3 something where it offers guitar solo followed with vocal line. The music reminds me to the kind of Pendragon. 'American rodeo' (4:09) is basically a straight rocker with a stunning guitar solo at the middle of the track backed with good keyboard work. 'Could have been yesterday' (5:55) is basically a mellow track that tends to be poppy. 'Ailsa's lullaby' (1:36) is basically a bridge that connects to a good track 'Joke' (4:22).

The centerpiece of this album is probably the epic 'The student prince' that comprises four movements. The first movement 'When will I see you again' (9:11) is the longest one and it offers nice keyboard works as the vocal line is performing. The song moves in various tempo and style changes. The second movements 'And so to bed' (5:57) provides a captivating keyboard solo followed with Floydian guitar solo. The third movement 'Foolcircle' (7:13) starts nicely with a nice piano touch that sets a nice foundation for vocal to enter with a nice melody. It;s really a nice opening. The song moves in a mellow style with stunning Floydian guitar solo augmented with nice vocal line. The last movement 'Green light coda' (3:31) is basically something that is simple in terms of arrangement as it mainly contains vocal and piano to conclude the album.

Overall it's a very nice neo-prog album even though you will find almost all of the music offered tend to be mellow and there is no single track that is dynamic in style and fast in tempo like Marillion's Forgotten Sons or He Knows You Know. I think this nice album deserves a 3.5 rating (7 out of 10). Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#549151)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a great album from beginning to end Good prog like prog used to be and has to be. Good for them for sticking around and giving us the opportunity to enjoy their fine music. Its not often that bands had success in the 80's andf came back to make such a great album. The band are - Joe Cairney / Vocals Jim Johnston / keyboards, additional guitars, backing vocals Mark Spalding / Main lead rhythm and acoustic guitars, bass, backing vocals

with Bruce Levick / drums Hew Montgomery / Additional bass on "The student prince, part 1" The first song disobey is a strong opener. Jekyll is a great song with nice singing and great music Prelude, riff and fugue is a nice piece The 10 minutes Carousel is a great song in the likes of the great prog bands. At times they sound like Yes, hints of Genesis but mostly a unique sound. American Rodeo is a powerful rock song. Could have been yesterday a quiet lyric song The touchy Ailsa's Lullaby is a short piece in the memory of Jim's wife Joke is a beautiful song. And then the jewel of this album "the student prince" 4 piece masterpiece of prog like in the old days - 26 min of great music. I love the Jim's keyboards playing and the powerful accurate singing. I recommend this album to every prog lover.

Report this review (#570681)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent!

Some may say neo-prog is a boring or generic genre of progressive rock, however, I am sure the bands are always willing to create good music, the most original possible in order to please the strictest fans. Here, Comedy of Errors and their album "Disobey" offer a really interesting journey to this sub-genre, with well-written songs, great musicianship and a huge quality that is shown during the entire 68 minutes of its length.

The album opens with "Disobey", a 7-minute introductory track whose mood creates a tense and expectant atmosphere that will surely caught your attention, it worked with me because that mood made me feel truly interested and eager to listen to the following tracks. As you can imagine, the keyboard work is great, wonderfully complemented by strings, drums and a great voice. "Jekyll" starts with calm piano-like notes, but after some 30 seconds the rhythm changes, becomes faster and make a friendlier sound. Later great acoustic guitar notes are played over the keyboard background and complemented by the voice. The neo-prog sound is evident, you will find that "catchy" (which does not mean less complex) sound, but you will keep interested in the music.

"Prelude, Riff and Fugue" is a keyboard based track which has the mandatory classical music style that the title suggests, though of course, it is morphed into a progressive rock song, a very good instrumental track, by the way. "Carousel" is the longest composition here, reaching the ten minutes. I like its progression, how little by little the elements are being added and crafted into a dynamic composition. Here we can listen to a nice acoustic guitar as base while vocals appear in a soft way; of course, there is a keyboard atmosphere that fills the music with nuances. After three minutes the song becomes faster and rockier and even more emotional. A new sense of tranquility is implemented just before the fifth minute, with only a keyboard creating a lullaby-like mood. Then it changes again, and it finishes with that peaceful mood it began. Great track!

"American Rodeo" has a catchy but great sound implemented by keyboards; the length of this track would actually work for a radio hit, which I am not suggesting, but it could clearly be enjoyed by non-prog fans. "Could Have Been Yesterday" is another soft and delicate tune that may remind you in some ways to Arena or Pallas. It starts softly and then it progresses until reaching the chorus, easy to sing but also to love. There is also a great guitar riff in the end which puts a rockier style on it.

The soft piano based sound returns with "Ailsa's Lullaby" which happens to be the shortest track of the album. It is necessary to mention that the album is dedicated to Ailsa Johnston, who sadly died last year losing the fight with cancer; the arrangements of this song are made by Jim Johnston, so it is a wonderful tribute. The next track is "Joke" and it continues with a melancholic sound created by piano and vocals at first, a minute later bass and drums enter and help conceiving that disarming mood. After two and a half minutes we can appreciate a great guitar solo over the acoustic guitar, keys, drums and bass.

We may divide the album in two, because the next four songs are actually part of a big concept track entitled "The Student Prince". The whole running time of these four passages is 25 minutes in which we can listen to well-crafted arrangements, great atmospheres and moods, and of course cool moments to sing. The first part is entitled "When Will I See You Again?" which is the longest of these four pieces. Good dynamic moments are offered here, with soft moments in one hand and vertiginous in the other. I love the keyboard work here because it produces different colors and textures. The second part is "And So To Bed" , shorter but emotive, with great inner passages, wonderful vocals, lyrics and keyboards as usual. The last minutes of this track are great, worth repeating.

"Foolcircle" is the third part, with a mellow, soft and relaxing sound created by piano and vocals at first, later additional keys are implemented, as well as a great drumming and cool bass notes. You may notice that the four parts are different, but at the same time they are connected and are essential for the Student Prince's success. Here, we can also listen to chorus vocals that produce an emotional tune. The fourth part is the shortest and is entitled "Green Light Coda", which is a piano-based track with delicate vocals and a goodbye mood.

So the album has finished and I liked what I heard/saw/felt here, because a musical journey is not limited to the audio, it produces different things in different fields. Great album by Comedy of Errors, highly recommendable to Neo Prog fans, and recommendable to the progressive rock follower average. My final grade will be four stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#629712)
Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I actually really like this album. Although the album is generally very upbeat, it resonates of melancholy and lost opportunities to me. It's just the feeling I get from it! It's a mixed bag of music, comprised of some truly excellent tracks such as the opening title track 'Disobey' and 'Jekyll'. The album really gets going on a high note. The musicianship is excellent and the production slick. There are some slightly weaker tracks dotted here and there. 'Could have been Yesterday' is not a favourite of mine, but there is some real creativity at work here and a great deal of feeling. I don't understand how these guys have not been producing great music over the last couple of decades. It is our loss that they haven't, but I am very glad they are here now. Easily four stars and definitely on my list of 'instant purchase' bands. Excellent stuff!
Report this review (#643823)
Posted Friday, March 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars COMEDY OF ERRORS are a Scotish band who arrived on the scene in the mid eighties and released 3 EPs. They then sort of just disappeared until 2011 when they released their very first full length album. Crazy stuff. This is Neo-Prog which reminds me a lot of eighties PENDRAGON. It might be the vocals more than anything else that gives me that impression though. Regardless, this is an album that i'll proudly put with my other favourite Neo-Prog records. This is fantastic !

"Disobey" opens with experimental sounds as the guitar rips it up over top. Vocals just before 2 minutes. What a great sounding track. This is powerful with meaningful lyrics. "Jekyil" kicks in quickly with drums and organ leading the way. The guitar joins in then vocals. "Prelude, Riff And Fugue" opens in a classical manner then it kicks in just before a minute. Nice. Killer guitar after 2 minutes. "Carousel" opens with atmosphere then the guitar starts to solo tastefully as reserved vocals join in. Reflective lyrics on this one. Organ and drums lead after 3 minutes then it kicks in with guitar. A calm after 5 1/2 minutes then it builds. An atmospheric calm ends it. Another amazing tune. "American Rodeo" is almost electronica sounding and uptempo early on. It then kicks in heavily and vocals follow. "Could Have Been Yesterday" opens with acoustic guitar as reserved vocals join in. Beautiful sound. It's fuller 1 1/2 minutes in and then they amp it up more before 4 1/2 minutes. Great song.

"Alisa's Lullaby" is short with piano melodies throughout. "Joke" has piano and reserved vocals. Drums after a minute then it kicks in with guitar after 2 1/2 minutes. "The Student Prince" is the 25 minute epic that ends the album. It's divided into 4 parts. Part 1 kicks in at a minute. How good is this ! Great sound before 4 minutes as well. Part 2 is such a moving track. It kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes then proceeds to kick some ass later. Part 3 opens with piano only then fragile vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. A guitar solo before 5 minutes. Part 4 opens with piano and atmosphere as reserved vocals join in.

A solid 4 stars no doubt.

Report this review (#753187)
Posted Monday, May 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars COMEDY OF ERRORS hailed from Scotland. And I'd like to get one thing before you read all further lines. Their album 'Disobey' is highly recommended to fans who grasp the magnitude of Marillion in 'Script for a Jester's Tear', Pendragon in 'The World, IQ in 'Subterranea', Pallas in 'Beat the Drum' or Arena in 'The Visitor'. At the same time, it's a totally original conceptual story that sounds very bright and fresh. Every track is a real highlight. And this together gives an unbelievable impression that leaves us flabbergasted! Instrumental stretches are dominated by lush guitar and reach keyboard arsenal. There're many classic hallmarks, notably the sonic textures Jim Johnston employs in his work (from acoustic piano to synthesizers). Mark Spalding's guitar playing is close to perfection. The support and refinement of Bruce Levick (drums) and Hew Montgomery (bass) illustrates the craftsmanship of these guys. Complex and dynamic, well constructed and expertly performed sort of style in early IQ/Fish-era Marillion direction. But very original! Lead singer Joe Cairney has a clean and articulated, almost theatrical voice (captured in the middle between of Martin Wilson from GLD and Nick Barrett of Pendragon - but with the occasional Tim Brooks falsetto added in the mix.). And it fits perfectly inside the concept. There have been a plethora of wonderful albums in recent years, but 'Disobey' is bound to become the measuring stick for future efforts in subgenre. Comedy of Errors have really raised the bar for neo-progressive with this stellar release. It will be staying in my CD-player for a long time. Great job and I for one hope it's not the last.
Report this review (#934593)
Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Comedy of Errors is one of the neo prog bands that never gained to much of nothing almost in the'80s only releasing 3 EP and then gone into oblivion until 2010 when they re formed and having 2 albums since then. Disobey was released in2011 and is considered their first truly long lenght album. I like this band , I've reviewed their 1988 selftitled compilation and I was really impressed by the powerful tunes and great arrangements. This album is no diffrent then their early period, I mean is excellent neo prog , energic and with great ideas. Aswell some spacey moments appear here very much towards Pink Floyd fame or even Eloy but combined with neo passages a la IQ makes from this release an excellent aqusition. The first 4 pieces are particualry stronger here then the rest, with many awesome interludes between guitars and keyboards, specially the guitar is top notch, well played and well composed. Very intresting is how they manage to go from more mellower parts to more uptempo in great manner, they play with an amazing ease. The voice fiting perfect in this kind of music Joe Cairney has a very pleasent tone for such music. All in all a fairly great come back of this underrated band that for sure needed and needs exposure because they worth it. With Disobey and their new album from 2013 they reached a new level in nep prog field, not many bands from today have the power and balls to come with such great albums after 30 years career, with the gaps between releases of course. 4 stars easy.
Report this review (#941588)
Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Comedy of Errors' debut album came surprisingly late in their career, but whilst it is a fun insight into the world of one of neo-prog's more neglected acts it doesn't quite attain the stature of the masterful Fanfare and Fantasy. It starts off well, with a dark and rich approach that would come to its fruition on the second album, but the album badly loses momentum towards the end.

In particular, the closing epic - The Student Prince - ultimately outstays its welcome and feels rather underbaked, and I'm not surprised to discover that it's a track going waaaay back to the band's 1980s demo releases. Whilst I can understand the band's wish to see this epic track - one which has clearly been a cornerstone of their repertoire for decades - get a definitive studio release, at the same time I can't help but feel more affection for their more recent work. The Student Prince, much like the title character, displays a certain naive nature which would be endearing on a demo tape or an EP but, much like Marillion's Grendel, is representative of a much earlier phase of the band's development and doesn't make the best use of the talents they've cultivated.

Joe Cairney's theatrical vocal style adds colour to proceedings and in general the instrumental performances are competent, but the album still feels like 40 minutes of musical ideas spread out to a 66 minute running time. They're often good ideas, which saves the album rating from dropping below three stars, but it's still a shame to stretch them out so thin and pad them out to his extent.

Report this review (#948655)
Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I saw this band for the first time last year when they played at The Summers End Festival and I bought Disobey on the strength of a fantastic live performance. I thought they were the best band who were on the bill and should have been one of the headline acts. The album kicks off with a rather nice intro of reverse loop keyboard which then blasts into the title track Disobey. This is a stunning opening track and was wondering how they would follow it. A great number 2 track called Jekyll with great synths and soaring vocals shows that this band are indeed worthy of a big pat on the back for keeping the faith in prog music. An instrumental track Prelude Riff and Fugue is an outstanding piece of renaissance type of music and the guitar work by Mark Spalding is amongst the best I have ever heard. I'd love to hear them try this one live. Carousel is the longest track and is an interchanging track of magical proprtions. Its followed by an out and out rock track which appears to mock the USA's corporate greed. I'm not sure whether its maybe a little out of place here on a prog album but its still a great rock ditty. Could Have Been Yesterday is a little bit AOR but fits nicely and is followed by a short instrumental Ailsa's Lullaby which is basically a very nice piano piece. Joke is a great slow ballad type which once again shows the difference in styles that these guys can produce. The last track is a prog masterpiece of epic portions. Although it is split into 4 parts, each one complements the other and they are all unique in there own way. This is the standout track and if I had to choose one for my favourite then it would have to be part 3. This has a great hook in the vocal chorus part and it takes quite a while to come in the song but when it does, it blows you away. I had to check out Comedy Of Errors on the website as I knew nothing about them. It would appear that although they were around in the 80's, they disbanded and only resurfaced a few years ago to record Disobey. This to me is a fantastic 5 star album and a welcome edition to any true prog fans collection. The band appears to have 3 original members, Jim Johnston on keyboards, Mark Spalding on guitars and Joe Cairney on vocals. If the three of them can still produce magic like this then there is hope yet for the prog market.
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Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars When I reviewed C of E's most recent album (the incredible 'Fanfare & Fantasy') I happened to mention that I hadn't heard this their 2011 debut, so both Joe and Bruce kindly asked if I would like a copy. Daft question really. I still have some trouble realising that this is a debut album when they were a band that I knew about in the early Nineties, yet by then they were already pretty much defunct, so what on earth gave them the impetus to get back together again? Original members Joe Cairney (vocals), Jim Johnston (keys, additional guitars and backing vocals) and Mark Spalding (guitars and bass) brought in drummer Bruce Levick for the album (he has since joined) and even convinced Hew Montgomery to help out as well. But, this is way more than just some old guys (yes I can say that as I am one as well) getting together and messing about; these guys mean serious business.

There is no way that a band that has been apart for more than twenty years should be able to get together and produce an album that screams quality from start to end, it really does beggar the question "where have you been?" Loads of bands came and went during the 80's and 90's, but I can't think of any that disappeared for such a long time before coming back with a neo- prog album of such epic proportions. While Marillion is an obvious influence, I would also point to Grace and Credo on some numbers, although Gryphon does definitely have an impact as does Kansas.

This is everything I want from a neo-prog album, from harmonies and melodies through to strong keyboards and punishing guitar lines. To finally have their classic "The Student Prince" on CD is just a huge bonus to boot, so glad that they brushed that one off and gave it the performance it deserved. All in all an incredible album that progheads will savour.

Report this review (#966228)
Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a recording debut but it is hardly a band debut in that the band first formed back in the late 80's although they didn't find much success back then. They reformed and recorded this album and listening to it I wonder if they were this good back then. The late 80's was hardly a time for good prog music so perhaps the timing was not right for this crowd and their musical offering then. The Comedy of Errors band name is probably garnered from one of Shakespeare's earliest plays.

It is an album packed to the brim with melody and dramatic neo prog. I do pick up a strong resemblance to Fish era Marillion in a lot of the structure and for me that is not a bad thing at all as I loved that iteration of Marillion. If I find a weakness it is on the vocal side - as although Cairney is good here on vocals I would love the band to have been fronted by someone who could shift between acid and anger or honey and lace in his delivery the way Fish could. I find that a problem in much of the neo prog releases today. Having said that, Cairney isn't a weak vocalist by any means. I had a major problem getting into Pendragon at first as I didn't cotton onto Barrett as a vocalist quickly however I got over that thankfully. Nicholson fronting Galahad is really my idea of what a neo prog vocalist today should sound like. Cairney isn't weak in the vocal department however and is by no means unpleasant to listen to.

The melody throughout this album is fantastic as it is a melody packed listening experience. The giant track on the album is "The Student Prince" epic divided into four parts. It is a bombastic, melody driven epic that claims its space in neo prog territory up amongst the very best that the genre has to offer.

From my side a solid 4 stars and I'm looking forward to reviewing the next album and hearing the one after that - should the music world be so lucky as to experience a third Comedy of Errors release.

Report this review (#999019)
Posted Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Comedy of Errors, suddenly resurfacing after a long hiatus and in a fine form, have an easily recognizable 80s neo prog-new wavish sound, enhanced with arena hard rock (with some guitar heroics) and traces of renaissance and Celtic folk. The focus here is on melody rather than complexity or originality. But this in no way means that the sound is simplistic. There are lots of instrumental details going on behind the beat, and the production is loud and clear making everything audible in a correct listening device.

The drawback is loose structuring, sometimes resulting in a loss of song coherence. Some songs feel like a series of melody fragments, catchy enough and rearranged throughout in a number of ways, but just following one another without a strict structure. This can be seen in the 25-minute 4-part epic, The Student Prince (each part basically is a separate song), which is apparently intended as a sort of magnum opus, but as I've read, was developed for so many years during the band hiatus, that it lost some of coherence. You have to listen to it 10 times, before you can remember the songs well enough to fully play them in your head, which to me is a measure of a great song.

Report this review (#1024356)
Posted Monday, August 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Comedy of Error's debut album is a great, great record. This is an album for grown-ups, an introspective and emotionally honest reflection on opportunities foregone, aging, love won and lost. The music is fantastic and the album also contains some of the most effective and effecting lyrics I've ever heard.

The opening track Disobey is a searing and defiant take on the unfulfilled promise of lives wasted through non-jobs, dead end jobs and no jobs, set against fittingly hard but melodic prog music: 'This evening Mr Palmer called, with his gold gilt calling card/He said he'd like to meet you, because he thinks you could be had/ BUT remember telling stories, and remember playing games/And remember falling for falling in love, when you know she's never ever ever, ever coming back again/Disobey'.

The real masterpiece of the album is the four song sequence The Student Prince. Ok, this certainly has echoes of Genesis's Foxtrot and Marillion's Misplaced Childhood, but if you're going to lean on the past, why not lean on the best?

The Student Prince is a poetic reflection on the disappointment of a life that hasn't turned out as hoped (And what are you trying to say with your life? Who is it you impress? One day will be now tomorrow, so we can't just rehearse/I can't see how the world will know you, and who would want to? When you don't try). But, like the title track, this song sequence is defiant and ultimately triumphant. And all set to some truly beautiful, enigmatic prog music.

For me, this brilliant album is right up there with Marillion's Misplaced Childhood as one of the very best neo-prog records. Absolutely essential.

Report this review (#1120370)
Posted Saturday, January 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just like the other album of Scottish band COMEDY OF ERROS that I known "Fanfare and Fantasy" this first release "Disobey" is pleasant album . However, in my opinion not so close by their second album which I confer 5 stars ( review ( (#1533623) | posted Sunday, February 28, 2016 ) But, my assertive about this last also be applied to this one: "COMEDY OF ERROS show to us another good example of how to make good progressive rock music without the necessity of complicated use of scales and time signatures , being enough inspiration and good taste. " Disobey" is another album which flows easily and captivates the audience with some fairly inspired moments ... as for instance the unquiet theme of track 2 "Jekyll" ( how is expected in face of track title) a heavy-prog theme mixing MARILLION and JADIS with a brilliant band acting, including a moog solo (starting 3 min 51 sec) leading this heavy theme to a symphonic conclusion (starting 4 min 4 secuntil the end of track ) .Other similar theme is track 9 " The Student Prince ":Part 1 - When Will I See You Again with a "bottleneck" guitar solo and the same symphonic ending. I can detach the instrumental track 3 "Prelude, Riff And Fugue" with a "medieval" introduction with harpsichord and tambourines open space for a heavy riff and a posterior bucolic "crying" guitar melody ... very beautiful . Last the beautiful ballad "Could Have Been Yesterday" some "mellow" song with keyboards or a tuned percussion ( maybe a glockenspiel ) accompaniment with great guitar ( acoustic and electric ) and vocal parts. How I said above this isn't so good like "Fanfare and Fantasy" but ... a very good album in the style ! My rate is 4 stars !!!
Report this review (#1614741)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2016 | Review Permalink

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