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Thieves' Kitchen

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Thieves' Kitchen The Clockwork Universe album cover
3.87 | 154 ratings | 3 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Library Song (6:47)
2. Railway Time (7:39)
3. Astrolabe (3:17)
4. Prodigy (9:07)
5. The Scientist's Wife (19:58)
6. Orrery (4:41)

Total Time 51:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Amy Darby / vocals
- Phil Mercy / guitars
- Thomas Johnson / keyboards

- Anna Holmgren / flute
- Johan Brand / bass
- Paul Mallyon / drums
- Tord Lindman / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Amy Darby

CD self-released - TKCD006 (2015, UK)

LP Plane Groovy ‎- PLG038 (2015, UK)

Digital album

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy THIEVES' KITCHEN The Clockwork Universe Music

THIEVES' KITCHEN The Clockwork Universe ratings distribution

(154 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

THIEVES' KITCHEN The Clockwork Universe reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Thieves' Kitchen, a trio of Phil Mercy, Amy Darby, and Thomas Johanson (ex-Anglagard), with adjunct members Anna Holmgren (Anglagard), Johan Brand (Anglagard) and Paul Mallyon (ex-Sanguine Hum), have created a collection of meticulously crafted and expertly performed songs in the vein of the most complex Canterbury scene and symphonic Yes demanding the highest degrees of difficulty from its musicians. Vocalist Amy Darby's stylings are similar to the palette-clearing effects of a superlative red wine--the backbone upon which each song rests, despite the fact that it is a "lead" instrument. She could be singing about chainsaw massacres but it would feel like walks on the soft floor of a pine forest to me.

1. "The Library Song" (6:47) is a jazzy exploration held strong and fast by Amy's solid vocal--which is oddly mirrored by the lead guitar. Great keyboard play from Thomas Johanson throughout but Paul Mallyon's drumming and Johan Brand's bass play are stellar! (9/10)

2. "Railway Time" (7:38) begins with quite a "smokey lounge" bluesy keyboard and guitar duet before evolving into a bass-anchored expose for Amy's most diverse and adventurous vocal of the album (less sustained notes, more scatting around the scales). Nice shift away from the blues foundation after the mid-song flute solo. The most accessible song I've ever heard from TK and my favorite melody of theirs. (10/10)

3. "Astrolabe" (3:17) is a slow duet that puts the wonderful sympathy of guitarist and founding band member Phil Mercy and pianist Thomas Johnson on full display. (9/10)

4. "Prodigy" (9:07) is full-scale prog song construction on display (a la 1970s YES) with the absolute highest caliber musicianship possible. Classic! (10/10)

5. "The Scientist's Wife" (19:58) An obvious attempt at the more sophisticated Canterbury sound, this is my least favorite song on the album--and it's still an 8 out of 10! The five-minute opening instrumental section is quite impressive for the excellent play of its interwoven parts--not unlike a KING CRIMSON "Discipline" display--but it then mysteriously disappears in order to give way to a soft acoustic guitar foundation behind Amy's storytelling. A pleasant enough section blessed with Amy's crystalline vocal warmth, but then, though the song builds layers around and with Amy's story line, the song never seems to take off and fly--and feels much the homogenous single movement of what is promised to be a Yes symphony. Impeccable performances on what feels like an under-developed song. A lot of unrealized potential. (8/10)

6. "Orrery" (4:41) is another slowed down, scaled down song of mostly gentle piano play, though Thomas's work is beautifully embellished by ethereal flutes, intermittent guitar and bass flourishes and Mellotron, no drums. On a par with Francesco Zago's EMPTY DAYS work of 2013. (9/10)

Stellar musicianship, remarkable sound engineering (instrumental clarity), and quite beautifully sophisticated compositions that impress and engage. Like Anglagard albums, this one has taken several listens for the songs to start to weave their way into my psyche, into my heart. So, I recommend that you give this one some time. If you do, you'll be very, very thankful. An incredibly well-polished masterpiece from a dedicated and deserving group of musicians. Definitely a Top 20 Album of 2015!

Review by kev rowland
5 stars

Whilst the core line-up of Amy Darby (vocals), Phil Mercy (guitars) and Thomas Johnson (keyboards, ex-'nglag'rd) were still here from the previous album, this 2015 album saw a few changes in the guests. Anna Holmgren (flute, 'nglag'rd) and Paul Mallyon (drums, ex-Sanguine Hum) have now been joined by Johan Brand (bass, 'nglag'rd), and this time there is no trumpet or cello. Although this is a Thieves Kitchen album, it means that of the six involved, half of them recorded the 2012 'nglag'rd album 'Viljans 'ga'. I have heard all of the TK albums, but it was 2008's 'The Water Road' where they made a significant musical leap, which is where Thomas joined the band. 2013's 'One For Sorrow, One For Joy' saw a continuation of that, so what would the 2015 release bring?

The one word that shines throughout this album is quite simple, 'confidence'. Here are a group of musicians who have been working together in one form or another for quite a few years now (Anna was involved as long ago as 'The Water Road' with Amy, Phil and Thomas), and they know what they want to achieve and trust each other implicitly. This is all about producing complex progressive music, but always allowing Amy to shine with strong clear vocals. She is at the forefront of everything they are doing, with everyone else combining to provide a suitable backdrop. This could mean acoustic guitars, or classic organ sounds, complex drumming, striking repetitive bass or clear flute. This is progressive music that can be incredibly complex, or simple almost to an extreme, melodic or discordant, languid or rapid, whatever is the right setting for the arrangement. They can be King Crimson, or Gentle Giant, Renaissance or 'nglag'rd, but first and foremost they will always be Thieves' Kitchen.

This is type of music that got me interested in progressive rock in the first place: I want to hear music that is complex and complicated, where the mind and ears wonder where they are going to be taken to next on a journey of musical adventure and exploration. At the same time, I want it to make total musical sense so that I don't get lost along the way but feel that I am being taken on a circuitous route to ensure that I don't miss any of the wonders that are available. This is yet another stunning album from Thieves' Kitchen, and I can't believe that it has taken me so long to write about it. But, I know that they are currently recording the next one, so hopefully there will be even more to hear soon.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Wow! Okay, I will try to limit my gushing here. All gushing does is tell people the reviewer really likes the album, which doesn't mean anyone else will. So I'll try to comment on specifics of the music and keep emotion out of it. Even though this album is really, really good. For the sake of re ... (read more)

Report this review (#1472085) | Posted by cirrusbay | Friday, October 2, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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