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Broken Parachute

Crossover Prog

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3 stars Broken Parachute a fairly unknown band from Canada but yet quite good at what they done on their two albums released so far. Conducted by Marcus Taylor responsable for guitar parts with a help by Ben Bell ( Fusion Orchestra 2, Patchwork Cacophony and Gandalf's Fist) on keyboards and vocals and on drums James Chapman. Well, I like what I've heared on their latest release, their second offer named Living dangerously released in 2019. The music is s combination of, as they describe themself , Deep Purple and Yes with a touch of modern Porcupine Tree, so a 70's style of prog with a modern contemporay sound. I like the vocal parts very much, warm voice provided by Bell , musicaly is quite good listning, for example Lines, is a superb guitar hammong treat, both musicians done a great job. Bell's keyboards are complex and integrated very well in overall sound and in combination of great guitar lines and solid drumming, remind me a lot of early Deep Purple and aswell Yes, as vocal department goes maybe in Gentle Giant direction in some parts. So, a good album, I really enjoying from start to finish, took me back spiritualy to those bands who explore symphonic prog with heavy prog of ealry'70s. A nice one3.5 stars for sure.

Report this review (#2231954)
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars 'Living Dangerously' is the second album by Anglo-Canadian group Broken Parachute who have expanded from Ben Bell (keyboards, vocals, bass) and Marcus Taylor (guitars, bass, programming, percussion) with the addition of James Chapman on drums this time round. Both Ben and Marcus are also involved with fusion act Kashgar, and while Broken Parachute do also contain some influences from that area, mostly they are more rock-based, with elements of Porcupine Tree, Deep Purple and others. It is interesting to see how they describe their own music, as they view the album as "a sonic cocktail on the Rocks, blending equal parts Classic, Progressive, Jazz and Blues and cheekily spiking with a whatever they found lurking at the back of the cupboard. We hesitate to ask, but it was bright orange and it may have curdled."

Yes, there is humour, but it is far darker on the album. The drum production is deliberately dry, so it stands apart from the rest of the musical layers, which are far more intricately woven. This is progressive rock which at one level is commercial and acceptable, the sort of music you could bring home to the family without it embarrassing you too much, but at others there is the feeling that at any minute it could go off and do something quite unpleasant. The artwork is strange, the lettering feels hand-drawn, which ties in with the music to create something which is almost lo- fi, indie prog maybe? It doesn't feel at all like an album being released in 2019, but instead something from 1985-1993, and on cassette. The guitars happily solo over the top of the keyboards, but with far more anger than the likes of Howe or Gilmour.

It is a refreshing change from music which is over complex and complicated yet lift the lid and look through the layers and one will see there is actually a great deal going on here. There is also far more aggression than one may normally expect from progheads, but anyone who throws in Hammond Organ is always guaranteed a warm place in my collection. I can imagine this album being disparaged by some as not being prog enough, but to me this is a breath of fresh air blowing through the scene and is an album well worth investigating.

Report this review (#2232722)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars 'Between Canada and the UK, and between Old School and modern prog'

This musical project features Marcus Taylor, guitarist and composer behind Kashgar and also one half of the Crosswinds duo, and Ben Bell, known for his work with Gandalf's Fist and Fusion Orchestra 2, and for his multi-instrumentalist solo project Patchwork Cacophony. Marcus and Ben are working together musically in various forms since they met at the university in Warwick, in the mid-Nineties. Around 2010 Marcus started working on the material, it was a solo thing ("Marcus Taylor's Broken Parachute") and he asked Ben to add keyboards and vocals. By the time the first album was released the "Marcus Taylor's" bit had been dropped and it was more of a two person thing. Ben was living South of London and Marcus had moved to the Canadian city Kingston at that time. So in fact Broken Parachute is an Anglo-Canadian duo. In the early days these collaborations tended to be live events, but now separated by the Atlantic they are studio endeavours. Sometimes it's guesting on each other's other projects, and sometimes it's full-on collaborations under the Broken Parachute band name. The first Broken Parachute album was released in 2013, and was a light-hearted experiment into collaborating remotely, mining their mutual classic rock influences. After a long hiatus the new album Living Dangerously was released in 2019, it sees Broken Parachute exploring darker, and proggier influences. As with the previous release, the lyrics and musical direction are driven by Marcus, it marks a strong stylistic shift towards darker, more complex compositions. And with Ben developing ('and sometimes hijacking') the initial demos, then the tracks travel back and forth across the Atlantic as their final form takes shape. On this new release the duo is joined by drummer James Chapman who brings moments of both raw muscle and jazzier finesse to the tracks.

From the very first moment I listened to this album I was pleasantly surprised by the music, and noticed a 'Broken Parachute trademark': blending elements from legendary Seventies prog and rock bands (Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Yes and Gentle Giant) with song-oriented modern prog (Porcupine Tree, Transatlantic, The Tangent), in a very varied and dynamic way, and with lots of flowing shifting moods and surprising musical ideas. This is topped with outstanding work on the Hammond organ, excellent harder-edged guitar play and strong vocals, with a range from dreamy to powerful. The one moment you hear bombastic eruptions with blistering wah wah drenched guitar soli and swirling Hammond, the other moment a swinging rhythm with a synthesizer solo and sparkling electric piano runs. And the climates easily shift from Seventies symphonic rock to Heavy Prog, or from modern song oriented prog to a romantic ballad, variety and musical surprises rule on this album! My highlights.

Devils (9:17) : First a slow rhythm with delicate work on guitar and Hammond, dreamy vocals and beautiful orchestral keyboards, to me it sounds like the mellow and song-oriented side of Eighties Camel. Then a break featuring a heavy guitar solo with biting runs, in a tight mid-tempo with powerful drums The music is embellished with vocal harmonies, freaky synthesizer flights and another exciting Hammond solo. Finally the music turns into first into mellow with dreamy vocals, and then bombastic with powerful vocals and guitar. What a variety and dynamics!

Ghost (5:42) : It starts dreamy with howling guitar and mellow electric piano, then a slow rhythm with Floydian guitar runs. The drum work is very subtle. Now an accellaration with tight drums, and a more lush sound, the colouring is wonderful with a majestic Mellotron violin sound, a sensitive electric guitar solo with Hammond, The build-up and finale in this composition is very wel crafted.

Living Dangerously (5:16) : The titletrack begins with a dreamy climate and vocals, then a bombastic eruption, heavy guitars and Hammond rule. The following part strongly evokes Gentle Giant featuring vocal harmonies, lots of musical ideas and surprising shifting moods. The final part contains a swirling Hammond solo, backed by a great rythm-section, I love the funky bass.

Light (7:45) : Another varied and dynamic song, starting with a swinging rhythm featuring pleasant work on the piano and Hammond, and topped with melancholical vocals. Then the music turns first into a romantic ballad, embellished with subtle synthesizer drops, and then culminates in a sumptuous finale with beautiful work on keyboards.

Bad Politics (4:54) : In a swinging rhythm with a jazzy atmosphere it is Hammond Extravaganza, wow!

What an interesting, dynamic and varied album, scouting the borders between Old School ' and modern prog, featuring exciting work on the Hammond and electric guitar, topped with an outstanding rhythm-section.

My rating: 3,5 star.

Report this review (#2234618)
Posted Wednesday, July 3, 2019 | Review Permalink

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