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Comedy Of Errors - Fanfare & Fantasy CD (album) cover


Comedy Of Errors


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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars "Matters our actions, more than our years"

Having taken several decades(!) to release their first album, "Fanfare and fantasy" is Comedy of Error's second album in as many years. Since the release of "Disobey" in 2011, Bruce Levick has become a full band member, with John Fitzgerald also joining the line up. Fitzgerald joined late in the recording of the album, so his contribution is limited to backing vocals here, but he is now fully installed as the band's bassist. The founding trio of Joe Cairney, Jim Johnston and Mark Spalding remains intact, with Johnston once again writing all the material.

While "Disobey" was a landmark album of "neo-prog", "Fanfare and Fantasy" takes a more symphonic approach, the nine magnificent tracks here being carefully crafted masterpieces of the genre. While there is a wonderful familiarity in the style of the music, it is actually rather difficult to offer comparisons or to cite influences. At times there is a Pendragon feel in the lush keyboards, the superb lead guitar solos and indeed in the vocal style. At the same time though, one could mention bands such as Yes, Genesis, Camel etc., but all the while there is something different and refreshing about what we hear that offers genuine excitement.

In terms of the songs themselves, each stands alone as a symphonic masterpiece; collectively they form a truly wonderful whole. Lyrically too, Johnston has clearly spent many hours crafting each piece. "The cause" for example highlights the ubiquitous blight of religious divide. While the song clearly describes the problems that afflict his home country, the song remains the same the world over. The power and depth of the album, both lyrically and musically, is never more acute than it is here.

A cursory glance at the track listing by a prog fan may lead to a focusing on the three 9+ minute tracks but in reality all nine of the songs here are prog epics. Looking at the other long tracks though ("The cause" is mentioned above), "Fanfare for the broken hearted" makes for the ideal opener, building from a fine a cappella introductory vocal by Joe Cairney through every more uplifting lead guitar (Mark Spalding) and dazzling synth bursts (Jim Johnston). "The answer" closes the set with a suitably anthemic atmosphere, cumulating in an early Genesis style mellotron finale.

"Time's motet and Galliard" is interesting in that it is a two part piece with a traditional feel. The first part, "Time's motet" is a delightful instrumental, apparently dothing a cap to the 16th century composer Thomas Tallis. This becomes the folk influenced "Galliard", a fine Strawbs like number with mellotron style synths.

Completing the set, we have "Something she said", a 7 minute piece that sets out with something of a Yes feel, including Wakeman style organ. Here we are also treated to a wonderful blend of Emerson style keyboards and Pendragon-esque lead guitar. Try hard as I might to resist singling tracks out, this is a truly wonderful composition. "Going for a song" contrasts a distinctly upbeat melody with some decidedly stark lyrics. Johnston's Tony Banks like keyboard bursts punctuate the searing guitar and synth interludes and layers of chorale keyboards. "In a lifetime", "Merry dance" and "Remembrance" are the three shorter songs, but each nonetheless stands as a mini prog epic.

I am aware that I may appear to be overdoing the superlatives here. Believe me though, this is a truly special album. Anyone with a love of traditional prog would be well advised to partake of its delights, you will not be disappointed.

Report this review (#933466)
Posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having been suitably impressed with the previous Comedy of Errors album 'Disobey' I pre- ordered 'Fanfare & Fantasy' shortly before its release. I received it a few days ago and have been listening to it fairly consistently over the last few days, both at home while working and in the car.

Upon the first few listens it became very apparent that this was a much richer and complex album than 'Disobey' with a much greater sense of continuity and balance. Joe Cairney's vocals are suave and smooth. For some reason his voice takes me back to the 1980's. I have no idea why! The playing in this album, the musicianship is absolutely outstanding. The keyboards and guitars drive every track forward and Cairneys vocals provide an intriguing contrast to the power of the instruments. The drums in this album have a more prominent position in the arrangements and they are combined and mastered brilliantly in the overall sound.

'Fanfare & Fantasy' is one of those albums that gets better with every listen. There are so many facets to this album that you hear something new on every listen. It is truly superb. Every track on this album offers something different. There is great versatility in all the tracks with a plethora of influences and yet they all flow together to make one singular, magnificent whole. On first listen the most immediate and breath-taking track is 'Going For A Song'. The keyboards and guitars in this track are immense and melodic and they create one of the most powerful songs that I have heard in a long time. There could be comparisons made with Pendragon and they would be justified. But, honestly, this is better. The vocals are outstanding and the musicianship is more than equal to any of the better-known prog groups out there. Comedy Of Errors seriously deserve much greater recognition for what they have produced here. I think I'll be listening to it for a long time to come yet. It is a truly superb composition and I cannot give it less than anything less than five stars. This is an ESSENTIAL part of any self-respecting progressive music enthusiast and this group deserves a lot more recognition for their abilities. Prog on, this is great!

Report this review (#933603)
Posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars OK, so now I need to buy an autochanger for the car.... When I bought "Disobey" it's been one of the few CDs which has rarely been out of the car and one of the even fewer which I let run time after time! And then along came "Fanfare & Fantasy"!!! On first listening, this is not Disobey mark 2... Nor is it a reflection of the original mini album from the mid 80's. Fanfare & Fantasy shows Comedy Of Errors evolving and, whilst retaining the same direction in which they excel, developing the classic sound to break new ground. What's more, Fanfare & Fantasy more than Disobey gives Mark Spalding more of a chance to show just what a stunning guitarist he is. Some of the soloing is just mind blowing, and then you realise that there's even more layers to pick out - layers in which Mark is producing some amazingly rich picked textures on both electric & acoustic. From the opening couple of bars, Joe Cairney is in fine voice throughout! "Please don't mind me asking, if it's all the same, to me it's my life, to you it's a game..." I first heard these lines in the video samples Joe posted from recording at Hew Montgomery's studio and the heartfelt sentiment just continues to run through "Fanfare For The Broken Hearted". Joe's vocals throughout this album are simply stunning (and I know the inside story... :-)...). Some lovely vocal trickery too with overlayed and counterpart layered vocal tracks. Overall, Jim Johnton has penned another absolutely classic prog album! All the classic touches are here, the swelling pads of Mellotron sounds, lush strings and brasses to some really intricate Tony Banks / Mark Kelly-ish runs. Comedy Of Errors are a band who truly do seem to be in tune with each other - the sum parts combining to a result greater than the individuals. Truly awe inspiring. My favourites from the album, unfair as this may be as the whole piece of work stands up as a statement of brilliance, would include Fanfare For The Broken Hearted, The Cause, The Answer, Going For A Song... As I say, just my preference! This is truly an essential piece of work and essential to any music collection - prog fan or not! All power to the CoE guys, let's hope a prog revival can be sparked. Right, off to Halfords for that autochanger....
Report this review (#933865)
Posted Friday, March 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have known Comedy or Errors for some 30 years through the early years with Joe Cairney, the mid years with a direction change and the latter years with Joe back signing.

The 2 albums Disobey and Fanfare & Fantasy are progressive, symphonic, but yet unique to COE.

Disobey was a triumphant return to form and now F & F.... I have listened to the new album a few times since the weekend and its a grower... that is good news as historically the albums that take time, tend to the best albums the get more listens over a longer time.

Without doing a track to track breakdown, I can only say, go out and get it!

Joe's signing is sheer class throughout the record and his lyrical excellence to his credit. Jim Johnson's keyboard playing is simply awesome from start to finish with long passages and melodies uplifting the tracks. As a classically trained pianist, he knows his way around the keys! Mark Spalding brings his maestro ability to every track with melodies and solo's bigger than a Glasgow block of flats!

I am still getting to grips and enjoying the journey.

Thanks guys.

Report this review (#936480)
Posted Thursday, March 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars COMEDY OF ERRORS made quite an impact with their bold 2011 album 'Disobey'. And I had reason to wonder how this Scottish quintet would cope with the follow-up. But great moments in life are worth waiting for... What's to be found on 'Fanfare And Fantasy' are nine superb compositions which take the magnificent neo-progressive blue print with fluid keyboard figures, incredible guitar playing, polished rhythm textures and remarkable vocals. Each track can impress with creative flourish and is lengthy in its own rite, making a fabulous release that's over 66 minutes long. Wonderful melodies and intricate passages swim in this ocean of invention. There are grace and passion, power and wide range of dynamics. All members prove their talents. Undoubtedly, Jim Johnston, Mark Spalding and Bruce Levick are superb masters of instrumental flight within a song context. Joe Cairney makes up his splendid performance to help drive the music forward. It's also pleasant to hear that John Fitzgerald (a new COE bassist) has added extra flavour with some backing vocals. In sum, 'Fanfare And Fantasy' is a collection of satisfyingly impressive and compelling tracks. Just spin the album once. And by the second go around you will catch yourself thinking that you're listening to a future prog classic. It gets my highest recommendation of an essential release for 2013.
Report this review (#936484)
Posted Thursday, March 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This new release from Comedy Of Errors is another terrific, high-quality dose of their melodic and engaging music and a worthy followup to 2011's excellent "Disobey". Seemingly always walking the line between 'neo' and 'symphonic', this is one occasion where the listener can discard the notion of such silly titles and simply enjoy the music for what it is: damn good. Indeed, this is one of the bands who manage not to sound like any one particular influence of theirs, rather a combination of many or all of them. It helps that singer Joe Cairney has a distinct voice that is effectively furthers the uniqueness of the band's own sound.

As with "Disobey", "Fanfare & Fantasy" treats the listener to a variety of moods with their one-two-three knockout punch of stellar music, likeable, singalong vocals and a great-sounding record (let's be honest - a lot of bands in this genre unfortunately fall flat on at least one of those criteria). Vocal sections give way to dramatic and appealing synth lines and guitar solos, giving the music an 'epic' quality (I hate to use a term that has become overused), and I don't mean the lengths of the songs (none of them hit the 10-minute mark). While I honestly appreciate every member of the band (and I do find my attention darting sonically between instruments), I must give credit to the impressive songwriting of keyboardist Jim Johnston.

"Fanfare & Fantasy" proves that "Disobey" was not a one-time thing - it also proves that COE can release an album that will immediately appeal to fans of the last one without essentially cloning themselves (another misfortune often seen these days). There's nothing on "Disobey" that sounds like "Time's Motet And Galliard", for example. This album plants the band squarely in the "Autobuy" category for me. And at a little more than an hour, it does not outstay its welcome - in fact, I was left wanting more when the disc stopped spinning. So I played it again! Well done, guys - it's another winner.

Report this review (#936896)
Posted Friday, March 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I buy and sell rare vinyl records, so what you might ask am I reviewing a CD for, well, Comedy Of Errors just released a limited 250 run of their new album 'Fanfare And Fantasy' on vinyl as a Double album with an extra track..'Time There Was'..which is kind of the other way round from the old days when a 35 minute record was eventually released on CD, it was the CD format that contained the extra hidden gem or two. Comedy Of Errors have not skimped on CD content either ..their two CD's are close to max 70 minutes each, which in my vinyl world means each release was the equivalent of a double album...the beauty here is they have never released a duff track, no time fillers or second rate stuff here.

Maturity springs to mind after listening to 'Disobey' then 'Fanfare' it is whatever magic makes them glow, they have dug deeper into their musical pockets and 'branched out'.'Disobey' sounded to me like the band had bolted from the gate at full musical prowess, seems now with 'Fanfare' they started as masters of their game and continue, molding the pieces into a different form just because there is an art to the challenge.

The band's overall musical genre on both their CD's is what all you young 'uns affectionately term 'neo progressive' with just a hint of the classic progressive era and nary a look-in to the current progressive era, or any of it's sub genres, unless you include some symphonic touches, but they have that ability to provoke the minds time-travel back to those days when a prog track had melodies you could remember and choruses you could sing along with..was that called 'tunes' ?

Other than a maturity the biggest difference I noticed between the two CD's is in track layout..the first CD had a long four piece conceptual set called 'The Student Prince' which was almost a hallmark of classic prog to fill one complete side of an album, this time around the 9/10 tracks show just how the band has molded their own unique formula without 'sounds like' being an issue. When I came across the band at The Glasgow Ferry a couple of years back, I could tell then they had their own sound. I'm impressed by how they have continued to make magical songs.

Prior to the internet there were so many brilliant Classic Prog albums that sank without a trace, only to be more prized and popular now than their original musicians dreamed of. I'm thankful that with Comedy Of Errors releasing a great follow up album to 'Disobey', which put them on the ladder, they will get the success and popularity they deserve.

Everything I liked about 'Disobey' is still here with 'Fanfare And Fantasy'...Great musical composition with memorable lyrics and tunes, an immensely tight drum and bass, hallmark keyboards, guitar breaks to write home about, and a vocalist as individual and rare as they come.

And as I wait patiently for my vinyl copy to arrive, I can attest to just how good CD quality is...They definitely sound better than the cassette tapes they replaced !

Report this review (#937776)
Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars On Fanfare and Fantasy, Comedy of Errors do a decent job of capturing the early Marillion sound - heck, they even have the whole "glum character in a bedroom crammed with symbolic clutter" thing going on with the cover art - but happily this is only one influence on their sound. Jim Johnstone's keyboards not only sound absolutely gorgeous - in fact, the production and engineering on the album is excellent - but also incorporate a wider range of techniques than your typical neo-prog band, allowing Comedy of Errors to explore a wide range of musical territories. Joe Cairney's lead vocals also deserve a nod, showing as they do a flair for dramatic narratives worthy of Peter Gabriel or Fish whilst resisting the temptation to imitate either of them. Along with Galahad and Final Conflict, Comedy of Errors seem to be one of those neo-prog bands who've been slogging along for decades but are only recently flowering into their full potential, so I'll be interested to see where they go from here.
Report this review (#941408)
Posted Tuesday, April 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Avec tambours et trompettes.

The French saying for: 'With a Bang'.

Comedy of Errors is proving a lot with this record: they can play, they can sing, they carve marvelous melodies and they know how put it on tape. Ahead of the early Marillion they obviously love, they gone forward by injecting more and more of their digital print. Unlike other bands, Comedy is snooping more genres than the neo-progressive: I hear lushious symphonic movements a la Yes and Glass Hammer, neo-classical arpeggios (keyboard and guitar) and even medieval winks here and there.

You really get your head full of goodies with this album: catchy vocal and instrumental hooks, colorful keyboards (personnally my favorite aspect) and lushious art cover. If this is the future of independant recording, well, count me in. With this album, they're showing what they are capable of and won the difficult challenge of the 'dreadful second album'.

Comedy of Errors is one of my biggest hope for the future of the genre and they deserve a giant '#1 foam hand' for their effort!

Report this review (#941514)
Posted Tuesday, April 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well. I never review anything really. Never get the time but! This is an amazing album. There is a huge amount of "prog" music coming at us these days and I seem to like most of it. Comedy of errors stands out tho. Comparisons? My first thought was Gryphon. Very English (can I say that about a Scottish band?). This is so uplifting! I hear Hackett, Genesis and Anthony Phillips of course. Not really heard anything of this type, this good since wind and wuthering maybe. Spock's Beard got close and Marillion never did. These guys are brilliant.. This is 5½ stars in my ears. Keep them coming guys!
Report this review (#943328)
Posted Saturday, April 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the best albums that I have heard in recent years. The musicianship to start with is exceptional. Yes, I can hear influences here and there. I suppose that is how it works... it's all about how you use those influences and what that allows you to create in terms of your own offerings. There are no album fillers here. Every song is strong and I must say that i have really enjoyed listening to Fanfare & Fantasy. I was really impressed by the overall sound. I would strongly advise anyone reading this to invest in what has become (early in the year I admit) an album of the year....Buy it...and tell your friends.
Report this review (#943604)
Posted Sunday, April 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Team
5 stars Listening to this album makes me think of the Monty Python sketch where the old codgers are all comparing their childhood days and how the kids of today didn't know how well off they were. I first came across Comedy of Errors in the early Nineties, by which time they had already released some cassettes and were making a name for themselves in Scotland. But looking back twenty years it is hard to imagine that no-one, and I mean no-one, in popular media were writing about progressive rock, and the only way to find out what was going on was by going to gigs, buying fanzines, writing letters and talking to others in the scene. Yes, this was the time before the internet existed, and most of us didn't have email either. Back then I was spending quite a bit of time with Mark Colton (then just ex-Casual Affair, followed by Freewill, and now for many years Credo) which not only did wonders for my alcohol intake but ensured that I listened to some bands that otherwise I wouldn't have heard of. I am pretty sure that Graham Younger and the fanzine 'Blindsight' had some impact as well, while Keith Richardson also has plenty to answer for and between the three of them I got to hear one of C of E's albums quite a lot, and in particular the song 'The Student Prince, Part 1'.

Faced with the almost impossibility of getting media coverage outside of fanzines, it is no surprise that C of E faded away given that they were toiling at their craft in Scotland, which has never been widely known for their prog scene (yes, I know Fish is Scottish, and Pallas did make an impact while Abel Ganz also made an impression) and back then it was hard for prog bands to exist outside of the South, and in particular London. The underground scene was very insular and only those 'in the know' were privy to some stunning music and live performances.

But, thankfully the band are back in business with originals singer Joe Cairney, keyboard player (and songwriter) Jim Johnston and guitarist/bassist Mark Spalding being joined by drummer Bruce Levick and new member John Fitzgerald who has joined on bass but was too late to play on this album. Rob Aubrey was given the task of mixing and mastering this album, the second since they started playing again (I haven't heard the first). I was emailing Artur of MLWZ recently and said that I had yet to play this CD and he told me that I was in for a real treat when I did, so it soon made it to the player and I was transported. The only accurate description of this album is neo-prog, with loads of classic Marillion references, but that isn't really a surprise given that they would have had very similar influences themselves. They manage to come across as Gryphon in one number, while Kansas also have their impact, but all in all this is Comedy of Errors and I love it.

Great vocals? Check.

Harmonies? Check.

Musical hooks and interesting songs? Check.

Great musicianship throughout? Check and double check.

When it comes to the end of the year this album is going to be up there with Big Big Train for the number one slot in my mind. It just doesn't get much better than this.

Report this review (#945191)
Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Quite simply, the best prog album I have heard this year. Comedy of Errors have followed up Disobey with an album which, if it were possible, has even more great uplifting tunes, a greater depth of emotion and fantastic playing production values and truly a modern day prog classic. These guys don't just go through the motions with the usual cliche's of prog but construct their songs carefully and tightly in an almost classically symphonic form. . Listening to this album is a cathartic experience and as the last bars die away one is left with the same feeling as a concept album. i don't know where COE will go from here but for a band who have emerged from stasis for a fair few years, I can't wait to hear what they come up with next.
Report this review (#951496)
Posted Monday, April 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Comedy of Errors has arrived on my doorstep and even though I have been on a killer buying spree lately, I have really been salivating at the thought of getting my hands on this rather glowingly reviewed prog wonder. Every pundit has praised this up the wazoo and I was anxious to see and hear what all the fuss was about. So let me state for the record, that it will alter your anti-neo-prog convictions (if you should have any) and process them into a cell of solitary confinement with key thrown away. Once again, the notion of 'accessible symphonic' is perhaps a better term, as the Genesis "And They Were Three" sticker simply does not apply anymore. The playing is grandiose, the song structure certainly more stretched out in terms of instrumental composition, the keyboard playing luscious and magnificent (ooh, that mellotron sound!), electric guitar and bass phrasings are sumptuously complex and the drumming totally propellant. But it's the dynamics that truly astound, a constant and inspiring sense of adventure and discovery that has no boundaries or ennui. Throw in some absolutely excellent vocals from Joe Cairney (a perennial weakness in our beloved genre), sterling sound, pristine production and gorgeous packaging (blue is the color of prog!). Lyrical content is dramatic and politicized as it should be (they are Scots after all!), brilliantly conceived and passionately delivered. I mean you have to be mean spirited to knock this down, unless of course you wish to remain a narrow- minded fan boy, slavishly obedient to one party/band rule. I have a hard time not seeing this album as 1- a 2013 highlight and 2- a prog classic. I won't even venture in dissecting this masterpiece track by track, it's just not even necessary. Both Mark Spalding and Jim Johnston shine on their lead instruments, revealing a deep understanding of the timelessness of progressive rock, you can listen to this a thousand times and always find some new twist and mostly feeling that was not there earlier. That is the making of a slice of genius. I mean if the bigger boys (you know, the glorious ones, cough!) would come up with an album this elegant, pleasurable yet sophisticated, it would be hailed as a miracle. As such, I cannot recommend an album more, being converted the first time I heard "Time's Motet and Galliard", a symphonic-medieval piece that would make Gryphon blush with envy. Harpsichord and playfulness, very very British Isles. I could have gone on and one and write a 20 page essay on this jewel but I clearly see that there is no need!

A tremendous triumph and surely among the top contenders for album of the year. WOW! It's got everything a fan needs.

5 Make-believe and pomps

Report this review (#951540)
Posted Monday, April 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Having previously bought Disobey which was a fantastic debut album from the Scottish outfit Comedy Of Errors, I was intrigued as to what they might come up with to maybe match it. I should not have lost faith. Fanfare And fantasy is even better than Disobey in so many ways. firstly all the tracks are under 10 minutes in length and there is no epic track. The tracks are all epic though in there own way. The band appears to be pretty stable with the founding members, Jim Johnston on keyboards, Mark Spalding on guitar and bass and Joe Cairney once again on vocals. Bruce Levick who played drums on Disobey is back as menacing as ever with some fantstic stick trickery worthy of some of the best out there. He is now a fully fledged member of the band it would appear. the only strange part is Mark Spalding playing bass once more as he did on Disobey so I'm not sure whether the band have just not found the right person yet though I believe that John Fitzgerald now fills those shoes. The album kicks off with Fanfare For The Broken Hearted which has an acapella type singing. It breaks into a great keyboard section and if you dont tap along then you must indeed need your ears cleaned out. Something She Said is a well constructed piece with great keys and guitar work and Joe Cairney's voice once again appears to be on top form. In A Lifetime is pretty heavy in parts with the guitar giving it hat crunching sound and the solo is a work of art. Going For A Song was one of the tracks I heard live at Summers End and I'm sure they played it exactly as it says on the tin. Beauitiful keyboards swirling synths and great all round work by the rest of the band throughout this track. Merry Dance threw me a bit as I was expecting a Christmas type track although maybe it was just the Merry part of the title. Having got to the 5th track, there are none that even sound remotely the same and it is nothing like the Disobey album at all. It's a great credit that the band have not went out and recorded Disobey mark 2 which is what a lot of bands tend to do with a follow up album. The Cause was also heard live and it seemed like they were going back to the past a little with the lyrics in this song. They can be about troubles at home as welll as in other parts of the world and the meesage is there for all to hear. Times Motet And Galliard has the band going back to early classical style music and Jim Johnston doffs his cap to a few people here. Its a really beautiful first 4 and 1/2 minutes of sublime keyboards and nothing else and then the songs changes completely in the middle. I'm sure Gentle Giant or Gryphon would have been proud to have written this track and it shows that the band can really change things around. Remembrance is a really nice slow burner of a track and builds up nicely to vocals which Jon Anderson in his prime would have been proud of. The last track is called The Answer and although there is no epic tracks over 10 minutes on this album, this track is epic in every sense of the word. It is a great Neo Prog track that would be worthy on ny classic album from the 80's and gives a nod to Marillion and Pendragon though thats not a critisism. Comedy Of Errors have a style all of ther own and the band should take a bow to what I'm sure will be the best prog album of 2013 and will be hailed a classic in a few years time. Goodness knows what they will come up for the next album, but if Fanfare And Fantasy is anything to go by, then another classic awaits us I'm sure. Another 5 star album guys and it would have got 6 stars if I could have given it that.
Report this review (#952142)
Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I stumbled across this album by pure chance when surfing you tube one night and was instantly compelled to find out more about this album as the first track 'fanfare for the broken hearted' has a really catchy tune which reminds me strongly of Fish era Marillion. After a bit of wiki investigating it turns out that these guys are also Scottish! I haven't yet memorized all the songs but what I can say is that there are no fillers on this album and it just seems to get better all the way though. This is definitely the best album I have heard so far in 2013 and while there is strong marillion and some genesis influence present in this album the overall sound is still quite unique. I see it as what Fish era marillion would sound like if it still existed today. I would recommend this album to all prog listeners, as it really would be hard to not like this album. 4.5 stars if it were possible!
Report this review (#955733)
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album took me by surprise. I came to prog relatively late in life having a more classically trained background but I have been enjoying immensely the delights of this most varied of genres for several years now. Don't get me wrong, as in every type of music there is the mundane and predictable but this album has surprised me by the level of invention allied to it's emotional impact. Musically I find it to be a more natural extension of classical music, there being a lot more to it than meets the eye; maybe this is why I find it more appealing than usual and why I feel urged to write from that standpoint.  A friend who had seen this band live kept raving about them and insisted I listen to their new album.  I have now been listening to this album constantly for the past week or so. We are firmly into prog territory here but also into what progarchives would describe as crossover and symphonic elements. The influences of the early seventies prog bands are there as they are in every modern day prog band; that is what makes them prog after all.  However what we get here is that, and a lot more besides.  All the songs are very direct, with a strong sense of purpose but more so is the sheer inventiveness of the melodies, a neglected art in recent times. This is where they score heavily . Maybe this is why we are reminded of the seventies prog influences...simply because of their ability to come up with great original tunes. No band should be ashamed of writing good tunes though it seems many bands are, or maybe it's because they can't. Here we have an abundance of them. However it's the way the themes and musical motifs are developed and reprised in different guises that give these 'epic' style songs a strong feeling of unity even in the longer multi sectional ones. This thematic unity and motivic development is used in classical music and here it works to great effect. The longer songs are not just made up of stuck together unrelated sections. This album feels as if it has been thoroughly composed through with a feeling of one part belonging to the other. There are many lines going on at once in a contrapuntal fashion seemingly derived from the same thematic material. All these techniques are usually utilised more in classical music but here are used to marvellous effect in the progressive style. Subliminally, they have the effect of making every note relevant and heightening the listening experience. It is a case of art disguising art. What is very much original is the way they have fused these classical techniques with great tunes which hide a greater complexity underneath. They are never afraid to reduce things at one moment to a bare beautiful simplicity before using the same elements of material to morph into inventive, more complex passages where that complexity is subtly hidden. The production is superb and the arrangements well thought out and appropriate for the variety of song on this album.  This sheer musicality and lyrical depth is what gives this album its powerful emotional impact and raises it above the rest. But you don't need to analyse this musically as I have, or be aware of the techniques which make this album a bit special. It is accessible on the surface but complex underneath and no one really needs to know WHY. Unless one has musical tastes so narrow that only allows you to enjoy one specific type of music, I think that most people, proggers and non-proggers alike will love this album.
Report this review (#955860)
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was curious to hear what the fuss was about with this new album given the glowing reviews and maybe like some, there was a part of me hoping to take these upstarts down a peg or too ! I have to say though, with this stunning album, Comedy Of Errors have made a fan of me. From the suppressed anger and sadness of 'Fanfare For The Broken Hearted' and 'Something She Said' right through to the grandiose pomp of 'The Answer' we have a musical journey of depth and catharsis. The songs are tightly written, emotional and powerful with even the longer ones beautifully constructed with contrasting sections that still seem relevant to each other.There are no unmusical indulgences done just to impress- everything here seems connected and done for a reason although the playing in these multi-layered songs is impressive.This is a band who are clearly influenced significantly by Pink Floyd but also Yes and Genesis but on the other hand do seem to put there own stamp on things to the extent that they don't particularly sound like any of them. Their sound is classic Prog mellotron etc mixed with more modern electro and orchestral flavours which gives them a more contemporary sound. Many reviews have mentioned the sheer number of hooky melodies which come thick and fast and give this album an almost disarming appeal.There is however plenty going on that will reward repeated listens. The songs have a great variety of styles with the epic 'Going For A Song' and 'The Answer' in the neo camp and many others much harder to pigeon hole. 'In A Lifetime' and Remembrance are sort of rock ballads but with a dark quality.There also seems to be strong classical elements throughout the album particularly "Time's Motet and Galliard' and 'Merry Dance' which could be a prog single. 'The Cause' with its broad brush Floydian build ups and contrasting traditional jig section is an epic track which after hearing it, seems appropriate to have a few moments of reverential and respectful silence.The production too is superb. It's all just opinions but for me this is the type of album that could spearhead the resurgence of our beloved Prog and convert the uninitiated to the true path!
Report this review (#957463)
Posted Saturday, May 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've been enjoying the prog rock revival across Europe and the US now for the past couple of years and, having been a Deep Purple; Camel; Wishbone Ash; Genesis; Asia; etc fan since the early 70s, the landscape is currently a veritable panoramic feast of inspired output.

Most recently, I have bought albums by Act, Agents of Mercy, Airbag, Brother Ape, Combination Head, The Flower Kings, Flying Colors, Karmakanic, Mystery, The Pineapple Thief, Porcupine Tree, RPWL, Spock's Beard, Storm Corrosion, Subsignal, Transatlantic, Magic Pie, Kaipa, Liam Davison, The Tangent, Marbin, Nine Stones Close, Opeth, Delusion Squared, Hostsonaten and Liquid Tension Experiment, among others. This list alone represents an amazing breadth of pan global progressive rock musical talent and I think qualifies me to have at least some idea of what good looks like. Like many of us, I also had my own band in my formative years (I played lead guitar and wrote songs) and dreamed of performing professionally. Sadly that never happened and my passion is now focused on listening rather than playing.

Many of these bands are either European or American, and so it was to my great joy and amazement that I stumbled upon Comedy of Errors from Glasgow. Being a Fife man myself, I am so thrilled that one of the best talents in the pack I have just listed hails from my homeland.

This is the very first time I have been compelled to sit down and write a review. Why? Well, Comedy or Errors reaches the highest standards of musicianship and song writing. Their music is creative, melodic, inspired and often sublime. The production is sharp, professional and tasteful and, perhaps even more importantly, the tracks not only grab you, but they grow on you too. I have had pretty much nothing else on my iPod for the last couple of weeks except Fanfare & Fantasy (the new album) and Disobey (the previous album). If I had to name favourite tracks, I would include The Answer (Fanfare & Fantasy), The Cause (Fanfare & Fantasy), Disobey (Disobey), Joke (Disobey) and The Student Prince Pt. 3 (Disobey). But it's all good!

Being a lead guitarist of at least some merit in the past, I have to take my hat off especially to Mark Spalding who I believe was the bass guitarist before a line up change a few years ago. Now I admire bass players hugely and understand how they can make or break a band's sound, but for a guitarist to ride both the bass and lead guitar waves as Mark has obviously done is nothing short of breathtaking. His guitar playing is of virtuoso standard; tasteful, clever, even masterful. I just love his solos to bits, and they've caused a few shivers up my spine for sure.

So what else can I say? Guys, you should be massive. You are top of a very distinguished talent league and I hope you eventually get all the success you deserve. In the meantime, you have made this particular prog fan - and no doubt countless others - very happy indeed.

Report this review (#958451)
Posted Sunday, May 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's taken some time to get to know Fanfare & Fantasy before I felt sure of how to review it. Great sounds, incredible instrumentalists, pretty good vocalist(s), even okay lyrics, and fair production (the mixes often feel like separate tracks, the music lacks a cohesive "weave" or blending of the sounds). Where I find serious fault with this album--and all of its songs--is in the delivery: Each song sounds and feels like a whole bunch of ideas that have been patched together and not always very seemlessly, smoothly or pleasantly. Each time I've listened to F&F songs either individually or within the entire album I come away remembering nothing. No melody sticks with me, no message, no particular passages--and during the listening I find myself thinking things like, "how impressive the soloists are," "how familiar this sound, riff or passage is," or "how curious this change is/how awkwardly this flows." While I like all of the songs, I have no favorites--there is none that stands out or that I will keep on my Best of 2013 playlists. A 3.5 star album I'll rate up for the talent of the band's musicianship. Here's hoping these talented folk are able to blend their talents and sounds better into more cohesive, tapestry-like songs in the future.
Report this review (#972853)
Posted Friday, June 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Immediately Comedy of Errors are reminiscent of Marillion with Fish at the helm or even Peter Gabriel;s theatrical flair due to the vocal style of Joe Cairney. On 'Fanfare For The Broken Hearted' Cairney exudes the charisma of said artists though perhaps is closer to the style of Pendragon, Pallas or IQ. This is Neo Prog with the emphasis on Neo though it is not exactly surprising in terms of sound or influences. Even the front cover looks like Marillion met Pendragon for an art contest, however the music will appeal to the Neo Progger no doubt.

It took me a while to revel in the music but it does grow on the listener due to the infectious melodies and some exceptional musicianship, especially Mark Spalding's extended lead guitar solos howling over ambient Mellotron. 'Something She Said' is another melodic song with great lead and organ phrases. There is nice grand piano and a grandiose Hammond unleashing some 70s vibes. The sound is akin to Genesis at times and you have to love the happy Hammond sound of Jim Johnston.

'In A Lifetime' is next with Bruce Levick's drumming in perfect unison with Spalding's bass and rhythm guitar blasts. Cairney's vocals are easy on the ears and he sings of making time for things that matter , to say goodbye to the baggage that we carry, and "maybe now I'll get to find out who I am". This song has a soulful edge and is more melancholic than most songs on offer here. 'Going For A Song' is also gentle with nice harmonies and swooping Mellotrons.

'Merry Dance' has a happy vibe and upbeat tempo, 'Time's Motet and Galliard', is a Mellotron soaked spacey track, a Yes soundalike, 'Remembrance' is replete with classical piano, slow time sig, and heartfelt passionate vocals and lyrics, and the final track, 'The Answer', indulges in extended soloing with virtuoso performances on keyboards and guitar. There are many sections in this mini epic, from speed keyboard playing to a steady measured pace with Cairney's vocals reminding me of Geddy Lee at 7 minutes in. Overall "Fanfare & Fantasy" has some incredible musicianship and is quite a lengthy Neo album with an uplifting atmosphere and bright tempos. Recommended for the Neo Prog target audience.

Report this review (#982906)
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is, in my opinion, just what I want (and need) to hear. It exhibits the very heart and soul of Prog Rock, with superb tunes, music, lyrics, arrangements, production, sound, and, overall, talented musicianship. I read about COE for the first time recently on DPRP, and when I played some samples was stunned at how good it was. Every time I play it I get a good feeling - and think to myself, "THIS is what Prog is". The imagination. The guitars. The keyboards. The drums. the vocals. They are all top notch - and like another reviewer I have to replay it from the beginning as soon as it's finished. (Carefully avoiding an infinite loop though...)

I can't get to their live gig in Glasgow in August but will be at Danfest3 in Leicester in November if humanly possible.

Their previous CD - Disobey - which I've now bought on the strength of this one - is also a masterpiece.

I make no excuses for sounding as if I've got a bit carried away here, but I really do think they are superb musicians.

Report this review (#996099)
Posted Thursday, July 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars I thank Comedy of Errors for some really good music. Though wasn't the record even enough and a pair of bad songs lowered my review to three well decerved stars. The album "Fanfare & Fantasy" from this year is Comedy of Error's second plate and I think they are better than many other neo-bands, a genre I don't use to like very much. The album has a blue artistic cover and the band shows us a long row of long songs to enjoy in our own ways. Sometimes I think this is too sugary and it feels like the singer either hasn't got his own style or I don't like some of his variations. The music has many ingredients I like such as sweaping long melodies and great vocals but it also happens I feel they could have done it more specificly in their own way.

"Times Motet and Galliard" is my favourite here, a calm and lovely tune with a lot of inspiration from the Renaissance and perhaps the Medieval times. Vocals here are also great. "Something she said" is a bombastic masterwork, with instrumental splendor and edge. Three other songs are also more than good: "Fanfare for the Broken Hearted", the calm opener with a great musical space, "The Cause" and "The Answer". The record isn't helped by the miserable "In a lifetime" where the vocals feels like Dream Theater and "Remembrance". Perhaps I don't think Comedy of Errors should do short "radio" songs. I think you can also listen to "Going for a song" or "Merry dance" but with less joy than my recommended tracks. One of the best things with this music is, even if I have complained about it, the vocals. This is my rating on every song:

Times Motet and Galliard (9/10), Something she said(9/10), Fanfare for the broken hearted (7/10), The Cause(7/10), The Answer(7/10) Going for a song(6/10), Merry dance(6/10), Remembrance(4/10) and In a lifetime (4/10)

Report this review (#1026837)
Posted Sunday, September 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An excellent album!

With their return in 2011 with "Disobey" I really got interested in Comedy of Errors, a band from the United Kingdom who saw the light back in the 80s, and came from the ashes a couple of years ago creating excellent music, neo-prog at its best. That's why in this 2013 I got interested once again in their new production, entitled "Fanfare & Fantasy", which I will review right away. If you like symphonic or neo prog with cool concepts, then you will enjoy this 9-track album that has a total of 66 minutes.

It kicks off softly with "Fanfare for the Broken Hearted" a song that by the way, can work as a hymn for people who has had a experience like this (broken heart) recently. The first seconds are just words but little by little the instruments enter and the music is beginning to build up structures. Of course, the work of keyboards is primordial here, creating the nuances and atmospheres that are brightly accompanied by guitars and Joe Cairney's great voice. After two minutes drums appear and the music simply flows, creating a very solid piece of progressive rock, which has different episodes, soft passages, emotional ones, faster moments, so it pleases everyone. "Something She Said" continues with this well crafted album, I say this because all the pieces are carefully composed and structured, they were careful with their decisions, that's why the album is so good. In this song the neo prog sound is always evident, but there are some passages where the music might turn more in the vein of the 70s symphonic, mainly due to the great use of keyboards. Worth mentioning that the songs are great with or without vocals, I love Cairney's voice, but I also love the instrumental passages.

"In a Lilfetime" begins with acoustic guitar in a soft way, then little by little keyboards and guitars join, and after 40 seconds the voice does the same along with the bass and after a minute and a half the music changes and becomes rockier, catchier without a doubt, but pretty cool. "Going for a Song" starts very charming, with a delicate sound, but a minute later the music changes, becoming vertiginous and with much more punch, a neo prog track in the wide sense of the genre. So here you will have almost 9 minutes of excellent music, showing off the compositional skills of the band. This might be one of my favorite tracks here.

"Merry Dance" is shorter but exquisite as well, here I love the guitar sound and how all the musicians gather and create a solid structure, whose main "riffs" are easy to remember; the drums are also great, as well as the keyboards as background. The following one is "The Cause" which has a somber 5-second start, and then it vanishes and a brand new passage begins with acoustic guitar and keyboards, so little by little the song flows and progresses, creating emotional moments in which the voice sounds louder, touching our nerves. But later, the music is faster, the emotions increase, one can feel powerful, like wanting to go out and run, run out from our cages, and this is how I feel due to the great performance in this song, especially keyboards and guitars.

"Time's Motet and Galliard" has a long keyboard start, and after two minutes the music changes a little bit but remains with the same essence. Actually, this song is clearly divided in two parts, the first one I assume is the instrumental, while the second begins just before the fifth minute, in the vein of Yes-Wobbler (a wide gap, actually) very symphonic, but soft, never bombastic. "Remembrance" is the shortest track of the album, lasting only 4 minutes. This is a soft song, a ballad-like track that will make you think and have a nice and relaxing time.

On the other hand, "The Answer" is the longest track with 10-minute length, and the final one. This song is simply amazing, wonderful, the best way to finish this excellent album. Here they do have a bombastic beginning, fast sounds, vertiginous moments made by the great keyboards, but here what especially caught my attention was the sound of the bass, the notes/lines the bass man plays are truly great, very suitable for the music. After the first minute the music changes, becoming softer and thoughtful, but a minute later it changes again and the full energy is brought back. But guess what, it slows down again, now with the vocals and the atmospheric keyboards, so here you will have a feast of changes that are the sum of what Comedy of Error's music is about, first class neo-prog.

I loved this album, and now I am struggling to know which of the two recent CoE album Is my favorite, because I also love Disobey. This album is highly recommendable for fans of neo prog and symphonic. My final grade will be 4 stars, almost perfect.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#1082535)
Posted Wednesday, November 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fanfare and Fantasy is a rare case when an album that is more sprawling than its predecessor (Disobey, which is not half bad either) is even catchier and more immediate. Songs are longer (half are over 8 minutes long), but so are the solos and melodic hooks. Comedy of Errors brings nothing new to neo-prog, though it has a powerful and punchy production, and treads the familiar genre grounds - the broken heart romantic, the whimsical and politically indignant, the pompous balladry and the Celtic touches (the band is from Scotland). But the lads deliver their stuff with such energy and conviction (if not exactly fastness and brevity), that its infectious.
Report this review (#1126668)
Posted Monday, February 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars I purchased this early last year, mainly because some of the reviewers I most respected on the site were positively raving about it, and compared this Scottish outfit to a certain Mr Dick era Marillion. However, owing to a combination of factors, it found itself after a couple of listens consigned to the cd shelf, not to be heard again until the last week, or so. I picked it up again to remind myself of the reason it went away, unreviewed.

Firstly, let me say I do not really get the Marillion comparison. Indeed, on parts of the (overly) lengthy opener, Fanfare for the Broken Hearted, Joe Cairney reminds me far more of Ian Broudie, he of Lightning Seeds fame, and this is not meant disrespectfully, either. For most of the remainder, the Pendragon influence is so abundant, I had to remind myself that I hadn't put on an old copy of The Jewel or Kowtow by mistake.The opener reminds me as to one of the main reasons this cd was put back on the shelf. It is well played, suitably moody, and bombastic in parts, but awfully formulaic as well.

Something She Said wears its early 70's influences on its sleeves, and is noteworthy for Banks-esque keys a la Trespass, but also, and mainly, a rather beautiful lead guitar by Mark Spalding. My interest began to be slightly more piqued by this track, because it did rather take me back to those halcyon days in the 1980's when first hearing Pendragon and IQ.

Indeed, that is really what I take from the remainder of the album. It is most clearly a work of passion, well performed, and well produced, from a band who take as their lead the artists we now call neo-prog, but were, at the time, merely at the vanguard of a prog rock revival. I was there, and loved every second of it. What I feel with Comedy of Errors is that they have merely put out better produced stuff, not surprisingly given the 30 year gap, but there is absolutely nothing here which inspires or moves me. It is neo prog by numbers, albeit well filled in numbers. Take The Cause, a track which opens with huge promise lyrically and musically with a heavy hint of Celtic imagination and atmosphere, which, sadly, descends into something that can only be described as the noise of a band trying to out Trespass Trespass. When that passage morphs into a gorgeous lead guitar burst, I really found myself wishing as to what this band would sound like as a truly original outfit, because the nucleus is most certainly there, and this track proves it. Oh well, it took Pendragon a good three albums, I suppose.

Back on the shelf, I am afraid. Three stars for this, a perfectly good album, which you will find yourself thoroughly enjoying when playing, but a masterpiece? An album which is going to take the genre to ever new heights? No, not a bit of it.

Report this review (#1134786)
Posted Friday, February 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars I took a punt on this, I added it to my wish list for Solstice after doing a symphonic prog top CD's for 2013 - and this one looked promising. So I listened , and Yeah - for a debut listen for me this CD REALLY appealed to me. I like the singing and the lyrical content (which is unusual for me as of late) but the sort of feeling the CD had (somebody called it "dad Prog", because of it's feel-good essence?). Anyway, I can see how those who like edgy, and more avant-garde stuff would REALLY HATE THIS! However, it's appeal was evident from spin one for me, as it's basis is surely Genesis/Yes/ELP/Camel from the early seventies mixed with a more modern neo-prog element. Don't get me wrong - this band is not a tribute band of any-kind, they manage to sort of merge several influences to create very pleasant catchy-prog! Track's 2 and 9 are the best I think but the CD has an overall consistency that is refreshing. There are No "Skip-button" moments with this CD. It has some very fine Guitar solos in several styles. It also has nice keyboards (especially organ and mellotron/string synth). It has an anti- religious track (The Cause) with thought provoking lyrics (take-note Mr Morse)! I think that this may be a band that are going places (musically that is) - I hope that they are more adventurous with their next release and produce the pomposity that Pallas would have done if the record company would have allowed it!!! I can't give it the full five stars because too many tracks have a fade-out (and no EPIC) and I don't like that - FINISH TRACKS OFF don't fade them away it's far too popish !!! So lads if you read this, brush off the mellotron and pomposity power chords and get writing that epic that takes the symphonic prog scene by the scruff of the neck and shakes it to it's foundations!!
Report this review (#1134880)
Posted Friday, February 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Comedy of Errors' second album is more technically accomplished than their debut, but it lacks some of the vulnerability and raw emotional edges that made their first album such a stunning listen.

Nevertheless, this is a very good album; lyrics that explore grown-up themes of love, loss and disappointment, as well as politics in The Cause, are set to great prog music that combines rock power chords and beautiful keyboard melodies.

Comedy of Errors are on an amazing journey; after a near-twenty year hiatus they've released two brilliant neo-prog albums in two years. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this band.

Report this review (#1135713)
Posted Saturday, February 22, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's a wonderfully crafted neo-prog album!

Comedy of Errors is not a new name for me but ...honestly I only knew this album very late or roughly around a month ago. It blew me away at first spin and I kept playing the album over and over with no sense or indication of getting bored with the music. Yes, it's a pure neo prog music they play here in this album and the music is very close with what Pendragon and not quite close with Marillion. It's really mind boggling from start to end. The opening track "Fanfare For The Broken Hearted" (9:06) starts off beautifully with powerful vocal of Joe Cairney and its ambient musical background in neoprog typical flow. There are no dynamic punch throughout the song but for sure there are beautifully crafted segments and transitions presented by the band from start to end especially with its inventive keyboard effects as well as thinly mixed guitar work. Vocal is the dominating factor in this track even though it is backed up beautifully with great composition. The guitar solo is really stunning and mixed softly in the music. It's a very cool opening track. really!

The next track "Something She Said" (7:17) continues with a kind of Van der Graaf Generator style but composed with simpler one so that it can be accepted by most music buffs. Again, the keyboard played by Jim Johnston plays significant role to shape up what an excellent compositions are - he sometimes maneuvers through a piano work to augment vocal line which still holds an important role. The semi staccato style combined with inventive keyboard work at the background have made the song sounds even wonderful and makes me willing to replay the song for the sake of ultimate enjoyment. Oh man ... I love the keyboard work as well as stunning guitar solo.

" In A Lifetime" provides me like a break with a nice opening of ambient keyboard and Hackettian guitar - but then the music provides a dynamic punch followed with a powerful vocal line that reminds me to Pendragon music. There are simple riffs as the music goes accompanying the vocal in relatively medium tempo style. There are nice breaks and transition pieces in this relatively short track.

"Going For A Song" starts off with guitar fills that reminds me to the style of Hackett followed with vocal line - makes the music flows in ambient style. The intro part is nice and it is a reminiscent of Genesis music. As the music moves into complex arrangements, the keyboard takes full responsibility to provide the rhythm section altogether with guitar work to accompany vocal line. Again I enjoy the intertwining roles of guitar and keyboard that are wonderfully played throughout the interlude parts. Mark Spalding is an excellent guitarist.

"Merry Dance" is relatively a short track but it has a very nice grooves and rhythm section that provide an excellent platform for the vocal to shape an overall melody line. The keyboard solo is also stunning during the transition pieces. Guitar is played differently right here. There are keyboard work that sounds like a mellotron at the background that makes the song like a vintage symphonic prog music. It's a nice song.

"The Cause" starts with a blast of music that suddenly goes silent followed with an ambient music comprises soft keyboard work and Floydian guitar solo. The vocal enters in the vein of Pendragon singing style. The vocalist has a great voce as well as excellent accentuation throughout the song. "They separate religion ...they separate the schools" he sings nicely. I think his singing style is really cool throughout this song especially when it is then followed with great guitar solo and nice keyboard at background. There are parts with a bit complex in terms of arrangements where the tempo suddenly change into a faster one with powerful singing, inventive keyboard work and excellent guitar riffs. The keyboard solo that follows is really cool. This might be the best track from this wonderfully crafted album! The bass player also given a chance to perform his solo as transition to a long stunning guitar solo (a bit raw than previous solo in previous tracks - but it's really cool!(.

I am not gonna review all other remaining tracks but for sure this is a masterpiece neoprog album one should have. The fans of symphonic prog would also love this album as well. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#1143365)
Posted Friday, March 7, 2014 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I thoroughly enjoyed COMEDY OF ERRORS' debut so it was an easy choice to pick up "Fanfare & Fantasy" their latest from 2013. While there's lots to enjoy here I was surprised at how much of this I just didn't enjoy, so in my opinion this is a step down from the debut but at 3.5 stars well worth checking out if your into Neo-Prog.

"Fanfare For The Broken Hearted" opens with reserved vocals and piano but it will start to build as the guitar joins in. It settles back with percussion, vocals and atmosphere then builds again. Themes are repeated and we get a ripping guitar solo before 7 minutes that goes to the end. "Something She Said" builds with drums out front as the vocals join in. I like the keyboard work that reminds me of YES. It settles back before 2 minutes with the vocals being the focus but we get some instrumental workouts mixed in. Good song! "In A Lifetime" is mellow with vocals but some outbursts of heaviness comes and goes. A guitar solo arrives before 3 1/2 minutes then it turns pastoral again to end it. "Going For A Song" has a beautiful sound to it with the melodic guitar and vocals standing out. It sounds like strings joining in then it kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes to a GENESIS vibe with pulsating keys. It settles back as contrasts continue. Lots of mellotron late.

"Merry Dance" is a catchy little number with dance-like beats and vocals. The sampled mellotron sounds good along with the guitar solo 3 minutes in but overall i'm not a fan. "The Cause" has a heavy intro that gives way to strummed guitar and keys then it turns fuller. Vocals after a minute and i'm reminded of PENDRAGON. I like the meaningful lyrics too. An emotional track and my favourite. A soaring guitar solo arrives late. "Time's Motet And Galliard" has a spacey intro that lasts until 4 minutes in then it changes as drums and vocals lead the way. Not a fan of this one. "Remembrance" has piano and reserved vocals to start as it slowly builds. Not a fan. "The Answer" has some nice drum work early on and there's plenty of keyboards. It settles back before 1 1/2 minutes and vocals join in. Some nice soaring guitar 2 1/2 minutes in followed by pulsating keys and chunky bass lines. It settles back with vocals but i'm not into this section. I like the pulsating keys before 5 minutes as it builds then kicks in. Another calm before 6 1/2 minutes as the vocals also return along with a guitar solo.

This is an excellent Neo- Prog album but it has it's flaws in my opinion that prevent me from offering that fourth star. I'll stick with their debut.

Report this review (#1397351)
Posted Saturday, April 11, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Fanfarre & Fantasy" of Scottish band 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. This album flow with such naturalness which , although the musicians are skilled in their own instruments, in fact isn't the main attraction in their compositions. This second album ( how already said the P A collaborator - Easy Livin SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin - "While "Disobey" was a landmark album of "neo- prog", "Fanfare and Fantasy" takes a more symphonic approach, the nine magnificent tracks here being carefully crafted masterpieces of the genre". Review #933466, Posted Thursday, March 21, 2013) and I entirely agree !!!! The band show some influences like GENESIS, YES, CAMEL from the old stream of symphonic prog and PENDRAGON, JADIS and MINDGAMES ( in fact in some vocals passages , Joe Cairney's vocals reminds me a lot Bart Schram's voice from MINDGAMES) and including , some musical "lanscapes" like in track 4 "Going for a Song". Other interesting moment be in track 6 "The Cause" a true symphonic piece of music, with a long keyboard / choir introduction in a ceremonial mass atmosphere and a posterior "minuet" ( or something like this). The last track 4 "The Answer" and his keyboards arrangements and the sequent ballad theme guided by electric-guitar and vocals, close the album with perfection ! My rate is 5 stars !!!
Report this review (#1533623)
Posted Sunday, February 28, 2016 | Review Permalink

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