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Manning - A Matter Of Life & Death (The Journal Of Abel Mann) CD (album) cover

A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH (THE JOURNAL OF ABEL MANN)

Manning

Eclectic Prog


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5 stars I've been a big fan of Manning for a couple of years now, and each album just keeps getting better. Plenty of catchy tunes, plenty of proggy bits, good ballads. All in all another great package from a musician who's work of late, both solo and in The Tangent, is prooving what a remarkably overlooked and underrated performer he is. I recommend to all lovers of the aforementioned Tangent & also PO90. Difficult to catergorize though where he stands in the great soundscape of prog, but who cares. Just like it for what it is, a very good album!
Report this review (#33085)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Reviewer: DR D B SILLARS from Luton, Bedfordshire United Kingdom This album was my top choice of last year as best progressive rock album. So what makes this stand out from the competition, which last year was pretty good? Well, since 1999 Guy Manning has produced five albums for the British independent progressive rock label, Cyclops. Each album beautifully showcased his distinctive mixture of classic English progressive rock, with folk, jazz and other elements to produce songwriting of such individual character and depth. But with this latest album, his songwriting has reached astonishing new heights of quality and beauty.

When Cyclops lacked the funds to release his latest album, he searched valiantly for another outlet. Having secured a deal with American label ProgRock, he could at last release "A Matter of Life and Death". And it was worth it. This is a perfect culmination of everything Guy is good at. Beautifully constructed songs, with rich, full melodies augmented with excellent playing from himself and all concerned. Guy is a superb multi- instrumentalist, tackling various guitar and keyboard duties as well as drums. Though to be clear Manning is a band venture. Guy is more than ably supported by Laura Fowles on sax , Gareth Harwood on guitars and Rick Ashton on bass. Guy has also employed other instrumentalists to add fiddle, melodica and cello, embellishing the rich musical tapestry on show here.

The basis for the album is the story of Abel Mann a character first introduced in a song on an earlier album. As he sits at his desk reading his journals, each song represents his life experiences. There are many nautical references which pervade this album and water, rivers, sailing act as continuing themes throughout. The story is superbly illustrated by the gorgeous album artwork of Ed Unitsky who also produced the artwork for both Tangent albums, a project which Guy is also part of.

The opening track, "The Dream" is a corker. What a way to open an album. This superbly rousing rocker has a chorus to die for. Excellent use of string synths to give a very full, symphonic feel and nice moog solo by Andy Tillison too. "The River of Time" has a haunting, dreamlike quality to it, made more so by Laura Fowles slightly creepy vocals. But the highlight is undoubtedly, "Out of My Life". This is a classic. With an excellent instrumental section, full of synths and Laura Fowles strident sax playing, this is so wonderfully arranged and developed. Superb! The album closes with "Midnight Sail", pure rock and roll!

The songwriting and performances on this album are so strong and consistent throughout. Not a weak track in sight. It is a true joy to listen to this. On the evidence on this and Guy's other albums, it's a complete mystery why Guy Manning is not more widely known and appreciated, not just within the prog rock community, but his appeal as a singer/songwriter is so much wider that anyone interested in carefully crafted, quality songwriting will find lots to enjoy here. He has already started work on his next opus, "One Small Step..." Can't wait!

Report this review (#33087)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Guy Manning - A Matter of Life And Death (The Journal Of Abel Mann)

By Josh Turner Overall Review

Guy Manning is quickly climbing the ladder of progressive rock, and he is close to the edge of some real stardom. He was a featured guest on both Tangent albums. Much to everyone's surprise, he is an accomplished solo artist as well. I have been instantly impressed with his work since the first moment I laid ears on him. While View from my Window was very good, this one scores highest on my charts.

John Tipping provides the drums and a few guests help out, but Guy does all the rest. It's earth shattering how someone can come onto the scene without any warning and single-handedly make their mark on a genre. Manning is one skilled musician.

I've enjoyed all of Ed Unitsky's artwork, but the cover he created for this album is simply out of this world. It features a man, who looks a lot like Guy, sitting behind an antique desk. A colorful quill, a bright angel, and a black crow are just some of the imagery he uses to illustrate the many moods of the music. Track by Track Review

The Dream: You don't need to wait long before encountering the biggest highlight of the album. It starts like a lullaby then quickly turns tail and hauls heiny elsewhere. The first song is smoking hot and literally blows the others out of the water. Andy Tillison is a guest on two tracks (the other being the last song "Midnight Sail"). Here he makes his mark with a Moog solo. Ian Fairbain's fiddle and Tim Moon's cello also appear on this riveting track. This is the best song I've heard from Guy. His talent just seems to grow exponentially. While the rest of the album is great, this one showcases Guy's exuberant essence. I'd like to see more songs from him like this one. Have I told you lately how much I love this song?

Nobody's Fool: While "The Dream" is in full throttle, the parking brake is engaged and we come to an abrupt halt. As we shake the cobwebs from our skull, we find ourselves in a clean and sterile place. In this hospital ward, a sweet hymn brings us to back to consciousness.

Omens: The prophecy and premonition foreshadowed here is good. It exemplifies Spock's Beard's "Go the Way You Go". There is no Neal Morse here. Instead, we get Guy's unique vocals, which put a spin on Spock's Beard's style of music. Guy's voice is deep and sincere. He is progressive rock's answer to those with an appetite for soul. You could say he is a modern day Barry White.

The River of Time: This has a seventies beat to it probably along the lines of "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues. Laura Fowles' hypnotic harmonies overdub Guy's stern staccato rumblings.

Silent Man: Here we get an Irish hoedown with fiddles, flutes (these might be actually be keyboards), or as William Hung would say, "the whole shebang". Ian Fairbain's fiddles, above all, are fantastic in this song. Guy states Jethro Tull is his favorite band, which is heard quite clearly in this jovial shindig.

Falling Down? Rising Up!: Neil Harris contributes Modal Piano and percussion in this pensive and patient piece. This multi-talented artist reminds me of another Neal. Do you get the Morse code? {wink, wink, say no more} The chorus sounds like a Hebrew chant. Guy's voice is meticulous and works exceptionally well in these particular passages.

Life's Disguises: This is a brief ballad similar to the song "Cat's in the Cradle". The laid- back acoustic guitar and the stress-free singing collect Harry Chapin's well-known hit from the archives. Out of My Life: We leave the contemporary realm and take a trip into the gardens of The Flower Kings. While Guy's keyboards show reverence to the great Tomas Bodin, Laura's sax is a key courier in the delivery of Ulf Wallander's distinct sound. This song is a happy-go-lucky leprechaun dancing in a field of four-leaf clovers.

Midnight Sail: Andy is back again with his keyboards and helps bring this album to a steadfast finish. Like the last, this represents happy days. The kids of Riddell High only know how to celebrate in style with this contagiously catchy musical number. It shares some relation with "We Go Together" from the movie Grease. I really enjoyed this album and I'd very much like to hear more from Guy. This creation demonstrates how to take a box full of ideas and pack them into one cohesively coupled bundle. All the tracks found here are good, but I'm totally infatuated with "The Dream". If he can harness that energy and put it into an entire album, the sky won't even be his limit.

Report this review (#33086)
Posted Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jem Jedrzejewski - HAIRLESS HEART HERALD A Matter Of Life & Death is (Guy) Manning's sixth release in as many years. How many progressive bands can boast such an output these days?

Eager as everybody should be to spin the disc as soon as it is in their possession, it is worth revisiting Manning's 1999 release, Tall Stories For Small Children. 'Pourquoi?' you may ask. Well, A Matter Of Life & Death is a concept album based on a character, Abel Mann, who first came to light on Tall Stories where Abel was left 'writing his diary'. Contemplative of suicide (did he jump from the ledge or just consider it??), the new album explores the tragic character's thoughts through his 'journal'.

Main vocals, in distinctive Anderson-like style, along with all manner of instrumentation are down to the multi-talented Guy Manning, who is ably assisted by a host of familiar names including Laura Fowles (sax, vocals), Gareth Harwood (electric guitars, vocals), Rick Ashton (bass, vocals), John Tipping (drums), Ian Fairbairn (fiddle), Neil Harris (modal piano, melodica, percussion, vocals), Tim Moon (cello) and Andy Tillison (keyboards).

Stating the obvious, the album has the usual and now classic Manning sound, but like all Guy's releases, this has something 'extra' over and above the previous album. What that 'extra something' IS, is difficult to put into words. Listen to it and you will know what I mean. Yes, there's that hint of Tull but many other styles, sounds and feelings are also there, from the fiddle of The Levellers to the strong sense of Camel particularly with regard to keyboard pieces. I don't know about you but this combination gets a large in my book.

The contrasting (backing) vocals' response to the main vocal is something rarely heard in prog in the past couple of decades. Genesis used it often in the 70's to depict different characters in a song, usually in a comical way, but Manning uses the arrangement in more of a sense of a Shakespearian play where the elements (air, water etc.) have a voice (a sort of whisper on a wind).

Guy has omitted the almost-obligatory 20 minute 'epic' (that doesn't mean that there aren't any long-ish tracks), which is good as A Matter Of Life & Death has no need of one. Instant gratification is delivered by the opening track, The Dream, dangerously setting high expectations for the album. Dangerous because on first listen, the remaining tracks, whilst good, failed to grab me in the same manner. A few replays later and other tracks begin to come to the fore and having now heard it 10+ times I can confirm that every track is a winner. How I missed this fact the first time, God only knows, but it proves the worthiness of perseverance and the old adage that great albums get better on every listen.

The package artwork is of an equally high standard and is continued throughout the booklet. I bet ProgRock Records are well pleased that they managed to add Manning to their list of artistes. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#33088)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Duncan N Glenday, January 2005 Guy Manning must be sick of being compared to Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. Imagine a younger Anderson without the cynicism and you'll have a good idea of Guy's delivery. It has a rich mid-ranged timbre and clear enunciation. The vocals are very up-front in the mix and there aren't many long instrumental sections so it is the singing that defines this record. That Anderson connection is reinforced by at least two songs, "Life's Disguises" and "Silent Man", which have a strong folk-rock orientation that recall early '80s accoustic 'Tull.

But this is far from a 'Tull clone. In fact the style of the music ranges from progressive folk through '70s-styled symphonic-progressive, modern hard-edged rock, singer- songwriter ... and there's even some rather heavy pure jazz. While that variety in turn may lead you to fear that the music would be all over the map, rest assured - although Manning delivers a good range of sounds and despite the song-orientation apparent on this album, it's a very cohesive piece.

This concept album addresses the story hinted by the subtitle The Journal Of Abel Mann. Manning's lyrics are more intelligent than most in today's progressive music. None of that esoteric stuff - there's a purpose to each song, and the heartfelt prose is perfectly matched to the music. On Tall Stories For Small Children, Abel Mann is found at the end of his tether and about to kill himself, waiting to jump from the ledge of a building. When he jumps he is raised up and finds himself alone sat at a desk with a journal into which he must write his life story before he can be reborn. On A Matter Of Life & Death, as the subtitle suggests, this is the story written in the Journal It is the writing poignant memoirs on the successes and failures of his life, how he came to be, how he came to the end, how it ended but did not really end, and ultimately and how he was redeemed and reborn.

The strongest piece on this record is probably the 9-minute mini-epic "Out Of My Life," a mostly instrumental piece which is rich in Laura Fowles' wonderful sax. Why does the saxophone gives music an air of mature credibility? Perhaps it's the memories of VdGG which Fowles evokes in many tracks. My favorite track, however, is "River Of Time." It is a soft melodic piece that I played over and over again. Guy's fat-sounding twelve- string guitar accompanies Laura Fowles' whisper-soft and very "girlie" background vocals, while the rich but understated keys, the gentle bass and occasional high- register synth motifs build an elegant, introspective piece that segues nicely into "Silent Man," a more folk-rock oriented piece with fiddle and mandolin.

"Falling Down? Rising Up!" is interesting in that it switches over to pure jazz about half way through, and for about 4 minutes there's an upbeat bass/drum loop with Neil Harris playing piano - positively smashing the keys in a series of staccato chords - then trading the limelight with the sax, Hammond, and vocal choruses.

This is Manning's sixth solo album since 1999. In that time he's also worked on Parallel Or 90 Degrees, two acclaimed The Tangent CDs, and with La Voce Del Vento on one (soon two, we understand) Colossus "Spaghetti Epic" projects. The depth of his experience and creativity is clearly evident on this CD, whose strongest points are the subtle mix of sounds, the richly textured song structures, and above all, the memorable melodies with hooks that sink in so deep that this CD will be in constant rotation in many collections. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#33089)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars DEFINITELY HIS BEST TO DATE!! Guy is a very talented multi-instrumentalist with a wonderfully folky vocal delivery/folky style. He also plays guitars & keyboards/ backing vox in The Tangent ...

This last effort is one of his very best - and ALL of his albums are of high quality. It offers the discerning listener a great story (it continues the story of Abel Mann from Tall Stories )and wonderful hooks ... The Dream will have you tapping your feet and I couldn't get the chorus out of my head - still can't in fact. It's an epic - full of action, colour and life. the production is crystal clear - with good spacing between instruments/vox (it was a little less sharp in his earlier releases). I especially enjoy listening to this album when I'm driving - a good balance of energy and softness ... intelligence & emotion - definitely appealing to head and heart. The artwork is rather stunning as well. Good on yer Guy ... can't wait for the next album due in Oct 2005!

Report this review (#44537)
Posted Saturday, August 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is the kind of music that relies in itself on acoustic rhythm section with acoustic guitar as main contributor, accompanying a powerful vocal in the vein of Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull). Of course, the music style is different as this album has practically no exploration of flute but it uses acoustic guitar and piano for fills, melody as well as music interlude. From the beginning of the album, the listeners will be impressed with the uplifting, energetic progressive folk rock music through "The Dream" which flows beautifully. Acoustic guitar serves as main rhythm section coupled with drums, bass to accompany energetic singing style. The groove of the music is also nice and it makes you bang your head (not in a metal way, of course) as the music bring you forward. I especially like the accentuated singing style.

"Nobody's Fool" starts beautifully with a stunning acoustic guitar fills that reminds me (a bit) to Deep Purple's "Soldier of Fortune" accentuated with beautiful string section. The vocal enters the music wonderfully in powerful low register notes. It's really catchy on the opening part as the music flows peacefully - especially with great singing and acoustic guitar fills among music segments. I consider this as an excellent track especially on the stunning acoustic guitar solo at approx minute 2:40 onwards, combined beautifully with catchy string arrangements.

"Omens" brings the music into more uplifting style with stunning electric guitar solo at opening followed with vocal in the vein of Ian Anderson's singing. Again, the nice string section arrangements contribute significantly to the beauty of this track. "The River of Time" brings the music into cooler fashion with relatively slow tempo music accompanying vocal and female backing vocal (choirs). "Silent Man" starts with grandiose string arrangement followed with violin work just before the vocal enters in uplifting mode. The cello / violin solo at approx min 2:30 is stunning - even though it does not last quite long.

"Falling Down? Rising Up!" is motivational in nature (if we are looking at the title of this track). The music is really nice with a killing piano work during intro followed by accentuated vocal section in uplifting mood. The lyrical parts saying that "falling down" should not be allowed anymore. As I expect .. this is a positive word about how to overcome life obstacles and challenges. The composition is excellent especially on the way the string section strengthen the music plus the stunning piano work followed with soprano sax improvisation. The song turns into avant-garde style and this part I like it very much. Manning really explores his musical talent into avant-garde style inserted in the middle of this track.

"Out of My Life" is like an epic because the duration is 8:49 minutes with changing styles and tempo during the course of the track. Manning makes the music flows in nice passages blending the sounds of keyboard, acoustic guitar, sax into nice composition, giving a chance for keyboard to perform nice solo at the later part of the track followed by sax solo. The concluding track "Midnight Sail" serves like a cheer-up of the album as the music is upbeat style in happy setting.

Overall, this is a very good album for those who love progressive folk style even though this album can be enjoyed by vast majority of people who love music, not necessary prog. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#165955)
Posted Monday, April 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Guy Manning is an artist who caught my attention by being one of the founding (and current) members of The Tangent. Since I love that band, I started looking into Guy's output and dipped my toe into the water with this disk, A Matter of Life and Death. Guy is listed here under Eclectic but was originally under the Prog Folk label before he himself started a thread here on PA asking to be switched. I bring this up because even against his protestations, there is certainly a folk element in here. But I have no quibble with the Eclectic label now assigned as Manning certainly beings a good amount of diversity to the table by creating many different types of melodies with many different instruments.

Good friend and long time collaborator Andy Tillison is one of many guests Manning employs here. But I certainly can't say that if you are a big Tangent fan you will immediately go for this. It is quite different. The mandolin, cello and fiddle make appearances as well as liberal saxophone. The piano is featured in several songs and the other keys just really fill in beautifully in many instances and give the music that lush feel many of us look for. The acoustic guitar is Manning's forte and you get plenty of that, with the electric being used nicely but it is infrequently the center piece of a song. There are however a few very nice solos thrown in. Each song is really different from the next while keeping a constant vibe throughout. There are a couple slow, almost atmospheric songs and a couple upbeat ones, a few maybe brushing up against a rockabilly vibe. The mid tempo "Out of my Life" is a highlight as there is a long instrumental passage where the sax of Laura Fowles really shines. The closer "Midnight Sail" has a jam band feel to it and ends the disk on a definite upbeat tone. He is certainly adept at bringing many different sounds to the party to keep the album fresh.

I can see Jethro Tull fans being drawn to this album. Not only for the music but also Manning's voice, which has a passing resemblance to Ian Anderson's. Rich and deep, his voice is certainly distinctive and does have a bit of "love it or hate it" but I think it fits well with the music. You can certainly understand almost all of the lyrics being sung.

In my quest to review albums with few ratings, I chose this one as it had 7 written reviews, but 3 of those appear to be copied from outside sources and they all give 5 stars. So I would recommend to anyone interested to do their own research into Manning's catalogue. As of now, this is the only album by him that I own and am not sure I will be buying more. I would like to hear more but "so many albums, so little money," you know the drill. The man is talented and prolific and surrounds himself with people that make the final product better. My rating is 3.75 rounded up to four.

Report this review (#182202)
Posted Thursday, September 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars No one seems to have noticed but Guy Manning has very quietly put together a consistent discography, by releasing quality albums year after year that have generated seemingly superlative comments. I guess the PA reviewers are all fans, which is inherently what one is looking for in terms of justified opinion anyway. From his opening solo album back in 1999, his work with Parallel or 90 Degrees and The Tangent, Guy has clearly proven that he is a major progressive force that deserves even more recognition. There are a few characteristics that make him such a compelling raconteur-troubadour, consolidating the fine British folk-rock tradition of musical storytelling (The Strawbs, Al Stewart, early Chris DeBurgh, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Roy Harper, John Martyn, Jethro Tull and Led Zep's folkier side, early Roxy Music etc.). Firstly, he is a creative songwriter, lovingly molding fables with fantasies, owner of a distinctive voice that resonates with credibility (in my opinion somewhat similar to Dave Cousins), master of a multitude of instruments from mandolin to acoustic and electric guitars, seemingly expert on a variety of keyboards and bass, plus he can bash a good drum too. He also likes to throw in an occasional kitchen sink (new category: singer/songwriter/plumber). Secondly, the sound is stellar in terms of clarity and atmosphere: the listener always has the impression that he is among a select audience in a small pub, witness to a very personal almost intimate concert. Thirdly, the artwork is supremely enchanting (Ed Udetsky is hands down the next Roger Dean) and packaging is always first rate. All Manning albums are excellent, not one dud in the pile, so we are definitely in the presence of a special artist. "A Matter of Life and Death" is a prime example of his craft, perhaps even one of his best with some simply scintillating material, starting off with "The Dream", a vibrantly moody opener that projects forcefully a beautifully rich melody, featuring superb sax from Laura Fowles, a primo Moog solo from Andy Tillison and some amazing keys and astute vocals from Guy. "Nobody's Fool" showcases some gentle, even somber themes, strings, acoustic guitar and serene orchestrations, achingly resonant vocals from Monsieur Manning, who has one of those golden voices that one dreams about on those silly Idol shows. Rich, delicate, evocative and oh so expressive, with meaningful lyrics that highlight and adorn the message "Don't Lock your life away, waiting for another days bloom, be somebody's fool", another gentle sax breeze on the way through the door. "Omens" is more up-tempo, with a biting guitar from Gareth Harwood (?) theme that really hits the mark, Guy evoking a distant emotion that exudes deep conviction, "I'm down on my luck again" repeated regularly, a fascinating track that is a real "Keeper". Bluesy guitar outro, applause! "The River of Time" is a mesmerizing piece with stunning female backing vocals, verdant orchestrations and luxuriant atmospheres , with a vocal that winks solidly towards Anderson Tull (high praise) , gently flowing with serene complicity and utter symphonic restraint. Some beautifully ornate piano work adds even more elegance to the endless mood. "Silent Man" is typical of the Manning style, storytelling craftsman with folky overtones, handclaps and an almost Celtic/Irish sing-along feel, replete with a little fiddle from Ian Fairbairn. "Falling Down? Rising Up!" is bravado time, a melancholic outcry where despair duels with hope, the eternal fight to survive the personal battles that make life somewhat difficult at times, with Guy supplying a vision of defiance and courage to "rise up " from the pain. Inspirational music is so rare today; lucky we are to have some fabulous jazzy instrumental breaks to uplift the soul, replete with groovy bass, choppy piano, marshalling drums, swirling organ and that sensual saxophone. "Life Disguises" is a short painful expression of grief that stays simple and fragile, with Guy showing off a little lisp on the repeated use of "Dithguises" (sic), here sounding so much like Cousins, its almost uncanny. "Out of my Life" is the whopping epic, clocking in over 8 minutes, with the bold sax leading the way, Guy's impassioned delivery charming sincerely, while the piano, the sax and the guitars almost remind of early Roxy Music but as the chorus blasts the praise of phrase, the gentleness of the wailing saxophone returns to haunt the spirit. Lyrically, Guy gets angry ("I leave the rotting carcass of my madness in the past") and the extended instrumental blowout feature "tour a tour" driving organ, a series of whistling synthesizer solos and some furiously bold sax forays that rekindle the spirit of Roxy's Andy Mackay (Both Ends Burning). The album bows out with "Midnight Sail", a rabble rousing almost pop song that is immediately ear-friendly with slight hints at "Goodbye Yellow Brick" era Elton John. Wobbly synth solo and honky-tonk piano and some more horny blowing from Laura. Nothing like some good sax before bedtime, Guy... 4.5 Abel Manns
Report this review (#200631)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am continuing my journey through Guy Manning's albums.

His previous album The View From My Window was a pretty coherent output. And so is A Matter Of Life & Death (The Journal of Abel Mann). But he has taken a slightly different route this time. This album is his darkest album so far. It is full of sadness. It is also full of excellent melodies. All of them different from each other. Some of the songs are joyful on the surface, but with a dark undertone. The saxophone and the guitars drags the tunes down to a somber place. His use of keyboards and accoustic instruments is superb. The songs excellent.

Guy Manning has again failed to come up with a truly outstanding song. That is again my only gripe with a Guy Manning album. Hence, no five stars. But the album is still full of excellent tunes. This time; without a single bad track. It takes time to get into this album. That is again one of Guy Manning's trademarks. This album would had been loved by fans of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen too. On this album, there is clearly some parallels to the music of The Boss. It is a great shame that Guy Manning is unknown to the fans of The Boss. Guy Manning is unfortunate England's best kept secret.

This is again a superb album from Guy Manning and it has left me both satisfied and enriched.

4 stars

Report this review (#242509)
Posted Friday, October 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars As I write this review Guy manning has put out 10 studio albums so far and this particular one is his sixth. This man is very talented both in his playing and song writing, and as usual he has offered up another concept album. I must admit I much prefer the other projects he has been involved with in THE TANGENT and PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES but that's just my particular taste in music.

"The Dream" is such a good song to start off with. Strings before it kicks in and those strings will come and go throughout. Vocals after a minute. Such an uplifting track. Fiddle comes and goes as well. Electric guitar 3 minutes in. Sax is crying out before 4 minutes. Check out Andy Tillison's moog solo after 5 minutes. The sound of waves ends it. "Nobody's Fool" is melancholic as reserved vocals arrive. Mandolin is picked during the instrumental break. "Omens" opens with strummed guitar and drums before the electric guitar takes the spotlight. Vocals follow. Some organ runs then the guitar returns. Themes are repeated. It's an okay song.

"The River Of Time" features some female backing vocals as sounds echo early on. I like the synths before 1 1/2 minutes. Piano before 3 1/2 minutes leads. "Silent Man" has this catchy rhythm and lots of cello. Some clapping too. "Falling Down ? Rising Up !" is a sad sounding tune with piano. Strings 1 1/2 minutes in. A change in the mood 3 1/2 minutes in as piano and bass start to lead. Sax follows then organ followed by upbeat vocals. "Life's Disguises" is led by acoustic guitar and vocals. A mellow and reflective tune. "Out Of My Life" is my favourite. This song just makes me feel so good. Sax and drums to open as vocals and organ join in. Great sound especially after 5 minutes as the drums and organ lead. Sax is back later. "Midnight Sail" is my least favourite coincidently. An uptempo conclusion to this concept album.

Report this review (#276194)
Posted Saturday, April 3, 2010 | Review Permalink

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