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The Tangent - Auto Reconnaissance CD (album) cover

AUTO RECONNAISSANCE

The Tangent

Eclectic Prog


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4 stars The Tangent is one of the best prog creators of the new millenium, but for my second most expected album of the year, I'm a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong: the new album is very good but I think my expectations were too high (5 stars maybe ?!?). I love all the jazzy touches of the record, I love all the short songs, but the epic ones feels underwhelming. "Jinxed in Jersey" is funny but kind of cheesy. "Lie back & Think of England" had to be the masterpiece of the album. And it's a very good epic but not a great one. The song tries to be "In Earnest" Part II, but only partially succeeds. There is a good start and a touching second-half part but overall is 5-8 minutes longer than it should be. From the band who created epics like "In Earnest", "Where Are They Now?", "Slow Rust", or "Le Sacre Du Travail" I was hoping for more cohesion. And now the good news: the second-half part of LB&ToE is pure gold. A good 4 stars album & I definitely can say that The Tangent is not capable to create weak or mediocre albums. See you on the next ones.
Report this review (#2439609)
Posted Thursday, August 20, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another strong candidate for the album of the year. I really think this is one of the best albums composed by this band. However, I am a little dissapointed because while i love the shorter tracks, I feel that the two longer ones are overlong and some of the ideas could have been left out, especially in "Lie Back & Think of England". Don't get me wrong, both are very good songs, but I have always found these problems with the epics from this band. To me an epic must be the perfect song and usually have higher expectations than with the rest of the album. Now the rating:

Life on hold - 9/10 Jinxed in Jersey - 8.5/10 Under your spell - 9.5/10 The tower of Babel - 8/10 Lie Back & Think of England - 7..5/10 The midas touch - 9/10 Proxima - 6.5/10

Overall, a four star album that surely will please fans of modern progressive rock.

Report this review (#2440696)
Posted Monday, August 24, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars My two favourite albums for this pandemic year which appears to have reduced the available new music in the year so far, are Pendragon's Love Over Fear and The Tangent's Auto Reconnaissance. The two albums couldn't be more different but great melodies are what they both share. The music of The Tangent is always more complex in structure, requiring more listens for full appreciation, but both are enjoyable from first listen. Lyrically they are poles apart. Nick Barrett's are simpler and on Love Over Fear are even naďve at times whereas Andy Tillison's are sometimes controversial but always intelligent, almost poetic and an essential part of the overall package.

Auto Reconnaissance is the latest in a long line of very high-quality prog albums. It is too early for me to say whether it is their finest, but it is certainly up there. Prog Archives categorises the music of The Tangent as eclectic and the range of musical styles on this album illustrates this. The Tangent's brilliant guitarist, Luke Machin, recently released an album showcasing the different musical styles that can be played on a guitar and, on Auto Reconnaissance, he skilfully supports the musical styles. The overall musicianship is highly accomplished with Theo Travis' contribution on a variety of wind instruments being particularly notable.

Every album by The Tangent has an epic track of considerable length which is complex in structure and always features an exquisite melody which is returned to as the track progresses but is otherwise used sparingly. Auto Reconnaissance is no exception with Lie Back and Think Of England running for over 28 minutes. This is the track I have listened to most despite its length. I've seen others state that the track is too long and certainly, when you first listen to it, the first half appears less coherent than the second but, as get to know the track, you wouldn't want it any other way. The track returns to seeing the world through the eyes of a World War II pilot called Earnest who feels that it is only on Armistice Day that anyone notices him. Earnest first appeared on In Earnest, a wonderful track from the great album A Place In The Queue. He made a further short appearance on Where Are They Now from Down And Out In Paris. On Auto Reconnaissance Earnest comments further on the state of the world and delivers a powerful message.

I believe this is a truly great album and for me is certainly worthy of five stars.

Report this review (#2442233)
Posted Saturday, August 29, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Tangent is one of those bands where you never know what they will bring to the table. Since The Music That Died Alone from 2003, which is to this day my favorite album from the band, they roamed trough various sub genres of prog and delivered cool music to the listener. Auto Reconnaissance is their 11'th studio release and it delivers exactly what you expect from the band, a very different path from their previous albums The Slow Rust and Proxy. The album throughout gives that jazzy feel with cool guitar work and all in all not a bad release. Jinxed in Jersey is a fun song with satiric lyrics, but it's too long for this kind of song. The highlight of the album for me is Lie Back & Think of England , which delivers all the power of the band, truly great eclectic prog with The tangent flavor.
Report this review (#2480203)
Posted Thursday, November 26, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars All you really need to know about this album can be summed up in this quote from Andy Tillision, who said, "Possibly one of a very few albums to be influenced by ELP, The Isley Brothers, Steely Dan, Aphex Twin, National Health, Rose Royce, Squarepusher and Return to Forever that will be released this summer". I must confess I had to google Squarepusher, but while I have plenty of ELP, Steely Dan and National Health in my collection, and I have a nodding acquaintance with Return to Forever, the others have never interested me so I will have to take his word for it. Of what there is no doubt whatsoever is that this is a progressive album in the very truest sense of the word. There are plenty of Canterbury musical references in particular, and tracks such as the epic "Jinxed in Jersey" show here are a band who are consistently refusing to conform to what anyone really think they should be doing, even from those within the prog scene. Andy's storytelling is incredibly vivid, and one can imagine him undertaking the journey he describes, bringing the characters to life.

One has no idea where the music is going to lead from one minute to the next, as they treat progressive rock as an ideal as opposed to a style, no Genesis or Pink Floyd clones these, rather The Tangent is continuing to push boundaries just like it used to be. We can go from pleasant gentle harmony to a Hammond being ripped to pieces with a guitar hard over the top, no drums to a driving beat, electronics to quiet, one just never knows. We have the same line-up on this album as the last one, and the quintet are obviously comfortable with each other, egging each other on with layers that pay repeated playing and deep listening. The Tangent are undoubtedly one of the most interesting progressive bands around, and as someone who has followed Andy's career with keen interest since Parallel or 90 Degrees all I can say is that this is yet another outstanding album.

Report this review (#2537657)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2021 | Review Permalink

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