Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Patchwork Cacophony

Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Patchwork Cacophony Five of Cups album cover
3.85 | 14 ratings | 5 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

Fairytale (Pt's 1-4): (16:23)
1. Are You Sitting Comfortably?
2. Once Upon A Time
3. The Wonder Of It All
4. Life Is Not A Fairytale
5. Choices (6:22)
6. Counting Chickens (5:01)
7. Maybe (5:07)
8. Every Day (9:15)
9. Chasing Rainbows (6:08)
10. From A Spark (6;42)
11. Brand New Day (12:15)

Total time: 67:16

Line-up / Musicians

- Ben Bell / keyboards, vocals, drums, bass, guitars and miscellaneous
- Marcus Taylor / guitars (7)
- Tim Hall / Electric guitars (11)

Releases information

Format: CD, Digital
November 7, 2016

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
Edit this entry


PATCHWORK CACOPHONY Five of Cups ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PATCHWORK CACOPHONY Five of Cups reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by aapatsos
3 stars Take 2 for Ben Bell and his Patchwork (and certainly not!) Cacophony alter ego. As with the debut album, ''Five of Cups'' builds on 70's progressive (and here a bit more on classic) rock. Keyboards being Ben's instrument, one could not but expect that this sophomore release is very keyboard-driven. And that is actually very pleasant to my ears.

There are two main moods here: one is the melodic, sophisticated piano-driven, clearly shown in the instrumental highlights ''Counting Chickens'' (with a hefty dose of Mike Oldfield-ian passages) and the more classical-music inspired ''From a Spark''; the second is a much rockier/more maverick approach which ties in with Ben's vocals in a similar vein. See for example the dance-like ''Choices'' and ''Chasing Rainbows'' and ''Maybe'' with bluesy and rock-n-roll glimpses filtered through a prog lens of (mainly) Gentle Giant with sparkles of Genesis and Pink Floyd.

The sound is (pleasantly) dominated by a very characteristic hammond organ, which seems to be Ben's trademark. It is this that provides a bit of uniqueness to the sound and some welcome nostalgia. With it comes the ''rough-around-the-edges'' and DIY feeling that was also apparent in the debut album. I guess this works to an extent as the album comes out as a very honest effort of musical expression and not necessarily to impress. This may slightly disappoint the listener looking for a polished production.

Where everything meets is the opening epic ''Fairytale'' which is probably the most intricate and interesting of the compositions (Gentle Giant, Genesis and Beardfish all dancing together) with plenty of mood variations, reminding me of ''Brinkmanship'' from Ben's debut. Although the debut sounds a tad proggier than ''Five of Cups'', there are individual moments here that may surpass it in quality. Another very good release from Patchwork Cacophony that boasts of determined musicianship. Worth a try.

3.5 stars

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Multi-instrumentalist Ben Bell is back with a follow up album to 2014's self-titled debut "Patchwork Cacophony", with a definite upgrade in terms of consolidating his impressive skills and pushing the envelope even further. "Five of Cups" is a thrilling progressive ride that features superlative keyboard technique, highlighted by piano and organ work that definitely is world class , as well as showcasing Ben's rather impressive vocals skills, which can run the gamut from Roger Hodgson-like sweetness to a more pronounced tone a la Guy Manning. Different moods, alternate feel and deeply personal music.

This new release opens up with a four part epic suite 'Fairytale" that seeks to set the mood for what is to come. The organ-driven "Once Upon a Time" is a fine example of what Ben can do both on his keyboards as well as vocally, further delivered by a multi-faceted keyboard section ("The Wonder of It All" ) that infuses piano, organ, synths and mellotron, in a very Supertramp-ish display that pleases the ear. The gorgeous piano etude "Life is not a Fairytale" has aromas of Frederic Chopin, liquefied ivory pearls that would make Rick Wakeman blush with jealousy. Vocally, Ben hits all kinds a lofty high notes with apparent ease, making this section quite a cracker, drenched in a placid melancholia!

The sprawling "Choices" is a straight forward, organ fueled piece that also incorporates rollicking piano sections and off-kilter drum fills with Ben singing with a sense of urgency (the Manning reference), the Hammond solo seeking to touch emotionally rather that technically, with background choir to add to the suspense. "Closer, closer and closer"?he intones.

The slick "Counting Chickens" suggest a different tangent altogether, jumpy piano leading the way in an instrumental showcase that hints at Geoff Downes' New Dance Orchestra or Alan Parsons Project, something he did on the previous album as well on the track "Dance". The bass guitar takes in a brief ray of the spotlight, fluttering rather effectively below the synth lead, leading the intricate web of keyboards into a majestic foray of sound and delicacy. Definitely a climactic track.

"Maybe" has the guest guitar of Marcus Taylor rasping ahead of the Bell onslaught, a rather rockier affair that has an overt dissonance not unlike Gentle Giant, the focus on the slippery guitar solo and the raspy, bluesy vocal that hints at Mike Patto (Spooky Tooth) . This is definitely not an overtly polished affair, which gives it a sense immediacy and natural flow that is most welcome.

The 9 minute "Everyday" is a wistful slice of what Ben does best, a temperate sonic zephyr guided by windswept lead and backing vocals, a serene pulse adorned with twinkling piano ripples and a permeating prog essence. Placid, hypnotic and deeply melancholic, this is perhaps the finest moment on the album, insistent synths lines a la Manfred Mann fighting with Hammond organ bravado. Utterly delicious.

Changing the pace with "Chasing Rainbows" was dynamically a good move but it's the only weak moment here, initially starting out as a simplistic song that would have benefited with a less sharper tone but that is only my opinion. That being said the piano and bass work make up for the lack of dynamism as the piano solo mid-section is drop-dead gorgeous and most unexpected. Ben struggles a bit with the vocal on occasion, which is not an easy one to begin with, demanding some acrobatics that may have proven to be too difficult to master.

Never one to falter, the all-piano jewel "From a Spark" reverts to an insanely beautiful passage that rekindles classical music of the highest order, a scintillating piece of memorable melody and dexterous playing. Loaded with elongated chords that resonate deeply, this is a masterful and never dull gem of a piece, stamping his talent as undeniable.

A nice epic farewell ends this opus, offering up the dozen minutes of the ELP tinged "Brand New Day" , having saved this fluid melancholy 'for a rainy day', adorned by rumbling bass undertow, fluffy piano undulations and eccentric guitar showcase. Tim Hall is another guest guitarist, who gets to unleash a long and furious solo that spirals, weaves, loops and swerves perfectly, the Hammond giving a strong push forward. Great finale.

As mentioned by other reviewers, Patchwork Cacophony is a very personal, under polished progressive rock manifestation that might not appeal to the overtly technical production fans but its deeply honest, heartfelt and well meaning. The slight and very occasional weaknesses here and there only serve to underline the true nature of Ben Bell's muse and craft. This is no 'cacophony' and definitely not 'patchwork'. On the other hand, if you are looking for perfection, good luck.

Lastly, the artwork is absolutely spectacular, making this a thoroughly entertaining package.

4 mugs

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Patchwork Cacophony's 2016 album is FIVE OF CUPS and is once again a polished production of symphonic prog mastered by Ben Bell. Bell plays most instruments but is joined by vocalist Emily Bell, and guitarists Tim Hall and Marcus Taylor.

This latest release is a concept album about fairy tales mimicking life until the fairy tale dies and reality sets in; people chase rainbows which is a dream never realised and finally we live happily ever after, as long as we don't spend our future looking backwards because you don't get a chance to press rewind, rather you must wake up and live for today. A good message and one I can relate to.

The music is permeated with lashings of Hammond organ which is a sheer delight. Mellotron and synth provide a soothing scape and there are layers of guitars.

The opening 16 minute multi movement suite is an epic in 4 parts. It is a beautiful adventure into instrumental breaks fractured by vocal parts and progressive time signatures.

There are some excellent songs on this album. Choices is a highlight with slamming Hammond and wonderful vocals.

The 9 minute mini epic Every Day is also a great track with haunting piano motif and captivating lyrics. The bass line is also well executed. The extended break has a progressive feel that locks into an odd sig sounding like Camel or Eloy. Glorious reverberating Hammond pounds in, and I love that swirling synth. Then it moves back to the main melody. Definitely the best track at this point.

Chasing Rainbows has a rhythm akin to Yes' Roundabout. Later it moves to a piano concerto interlude. Ben Bell is great on keyboards.

From a Spark is a pretty keyboard instrumental with a piano waltz sig. I like the flourishes up and down the keys like Keith Wakemans style.

Brand New Day closes proceedings with a 12 minute mega track. Opening with a shimmering Hammond and then breaking into a strong rhythm. The lyrics are thought provoking about the years passing by, missing the chance and losing the dream once the moment is gone. Yet if we wake up and stop worrying about yesterday we can embrace a brand new day, with new dreams and new hopes. I love that message, it's uplifting and soul stirring. The music is also uplifting here, a catchy melody locks in before an instrumental break dominated by piano motifs and synth lines. The tempo quickens as hope is injected. At 6 minutes the music stops and reverberates into an ethereal hum and lonely piano. The melancholy atmosphere builds into a steady rhythm and the vocals conclude your story's halfway through, but you have more chapters left to write. Life goes on. The music continues with Hammond chops and guitar embellishes building into a final statement.

Overall FIVE OF CUPS is a great album with a positive message. There is enough here to recommend it to those who like melodic prog and especially if you're a Hammond addict like me. Grab this one and see for yourself.

Latest members reviews

5 stars PATCHWORK CACOPHONY is not a band as such, but the solo-project of very talented musician, songwriter and singer Ben Bill who has managed to do all himself in a classy and professional way. The use of piano, Hammond organ, Rhodes, Mellotron, Roland, Tambourine, cowbell, acoustic and electric gui ... (read more)

Report this review (#1669896) | Posted by PH | Tuesday, December 20, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review # 37. Benjamin Bell is an English songwriter, keyboard player and multi-instrumentalist, and the mastermind behind Patchwork Cacophony; his personal project. He released his debut album under the name "Patchwork..." in 2014, and that was the first time I listened to his name and his mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#1640356) | Posted by The Jester | Tuesday, November 8, 2016 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of PATCHWORK CACOPHONY "Five of Cups"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.