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Dead Heroes Club - Everything is Connected CD (album) cover

EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED

Dead Heroes Club

Neo-Prog


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tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars Hey, they are Irish!

Dead Heroes Club is now three albums into a fascinating prog career, perhaps undeservedly underneath the swoop of the radar, which is a sad state of affairs! Especially with this latest offering, the lads have ventured into their own personal zone, though still infused with Fish-era Marillion vibes , mostly due to the growling voice of lead singer Liam Campbell (more Chris Thompson than the Pisces man) as well as the spectacular lyrical content that simply glow fiercely when united by passion and flair (after all, they are Irish!). The biggest impression is the groove-infested material which keeps the listener on edge throughout the diverse tunes, very slickly played and delivered with stylistic gleam. The band has remained intact from the last album, the splendid 'A Time of Shadow', easily the revelation of 2009 with guitarist Gerry McGerigal showing a wide palette of tones, from Andy Summers-like riffing, tinges of Jamie West-Oram of the Fixx in his rhythm work and brief-to the point soloing, keyboardist Chris Norby colors mightily on organ, piano and synths while bassist Wilson Graham carves with the best of them. Michael Gallagher keeps time with menacing precision and deft cleverness. This is a well-oiled crew, battle hardened and driven by a common progressive vision (after all, they are Irish!). They must be amazing in a live context.

The material is way bluesier than ever before, intelligently sparse when needed and eschewing any overt symphonicism in favor of hitting the gut directly and hard (after all, they are Irish!). Case in point, the slow-burn instrumental intro on the opening track, 'The Hunger', building up pangs of yearning and sweltering saliva. Tick-tock drums, clanging guitar, swirling synthesizers and doom-laden bass conjure up images of craving urgency, sublimed by Liam's explicit delivery , shifting on a The Police-like rhythm that just blitzes ahead wildly. Bang! Tremendous 7 minute+ first impression.

'Truth' is a shorter piece that contrasts shockingly, a soft ballad gushing with a Kaleigh-like groove, unafraid to show their Marillion influences, proving once again how important the 'Script For a Jester's Tear' was to the nearly dead prog scene in 1983. Breezy, passionate, airy and highly hummable, this is a great uplifting tune, quite needed as the rest of the material here is slick but intense. Exhibit A , the majestic 10 minute bruiser 'Machine in the Garden', an assault gun riff hammered implacably by the rhythm crew, slowly settling into a stupendous bluesy groove adorned by red hot electric guitar licks and Liam's ardent vocals. 'Everything is connected' both instrumentally and lyrically, bundled into an impressive arrangement that has the hallmarks of being a classic. The chorus is anthemic and addictive but the vocoded modern bit is just super cool (I am not a big fan generally of such devices but here the subtlety is sly!) as it leads onto a platform for some intense jamming and soloing. The axe gets tortured big time, poor thing!

Some respite is needed after such a blowout and it arrives in the shape of a gentle symphonic reverie, a gorgeous piano leading the swoon. Bassist Graham ignites a dense low-end rumble that blooms into a suave lilt, Liam breathing together with the by-now captive audience and vaulting the tune into agonizing heights. 'We Breathe Together' is a cry of our confused age, where social consciousness is vibrant but still without leadership, still 'divided by tribes'. The lyrical content is inspiring and political (after all, they are Irish!), finally a band unafraid to spit out its contempt for the cynical corporatism of lies and cheats who flood the headlines by the CNN second. Another tremendous winner!

You want more controversial politics, how about 'Exit the Queen', a song that maybe perceive as a rant against the British monarch (after all, they are Irish!) but is cleverly disguised as an ode to a forgotten star of the silver screen, who plays 'one final role to sell magazines'. As a fan of innuendo and wordplay, I just go gaga over such genial material, especially within a prog context, as one cannot live in a cosmic fantasyland for ever. . Short, hard and to the point.

The cinematic 'Sale of the Century' showcases more bitterness and bile, a raw 8 minute + rail against the blatant' hypocrisy from the Ministry of Wealth', reminding the billions of blind web surfers that 'There is money in the blood we spill, there's currency in the kill'. Powerful, visionary, angry and courageous, Dead Heroes Club tackle issues that seem to be 'ostriched' by so many, as we only have Internet time for the who, the what , the where and the when but never the why! 'No more', Liam screams, 'not in my name'. Rousing, growling guitar and raging organ blasts this tirade into outer space.

The best track is saved for last, the magnificent 'Watching & Waiting Man' , a groove tune that shows off the first overt Celtic influences with a typical swirling melody (could have been done on Uilleann pipes) that conjures images of taciturn steadfastness, (after all, they are Irish!) whilst offering a semblance of a solution , as the title clearly implies.

I love smart music and Dead Heroes Club serve up some clever combinations of musical philosophy and intelligent progressive rock. There was once a man who made a career of it (Derrick Dick aka Fish) and I am happy to witness this legacy in 2013 . Brilliant album with a tremendous feel, great sound, gorgeous artwork. Fans of early Marillion, Fish and first rate neo-prog should not let this masterpiece fade into oblivion.

5 Deceased Champions Pubs

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Posted Thursday, January 16, 2014 | Review Permalink

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