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ALTITUDE

Lifesigns

Neo-Prog


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Lifesigns Altitude album cover
4.01 | 72 ratings | 6 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Altitude (15:18)
2. Gregarious (4:38)
3. Ivory Tower (7:42)
4. Shoreline (7:38)
5. Fortitude (10:07)
6. Arkhangelsk (0:57)
7. Last One Home (6:14)
8. Altitude (reprise) (1:50)

Total Time 54:24

Line-up / Musicians

- John Young / keyboards, vocals
- Dave Bainbridge / guitar
- Jon Poole / bass, vocals
- Zoltán Csörsz / drums

With:
- Robin Boult / acoustic guitar (3)
- Peter Knight / violin (1)
- Juliet Wolff / cello (1)
- Lynsey Ward / backing vocals

Releases information

Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
March 2021 (CD, Digital), May 2021 (Vinyl)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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LIFESIGNS Altitude ratings distribution


4.01
(72 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
35%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (18%)
18%
Collectors/fans only (14%)
14%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

LIFESIGNS Altitude reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Altitude is the third studio album by Lifesigns, the progressive project started by John Young, the keyboardist and vocalist who has worked with a plethora of stellar prog artists, notably Jon Anderson, John Wetton, Fish, and The Strawbs. On this, he is once again joined by Dave Bainbridge on guitars and Jon Poole on bass/vocals, alongside new drumming recruit, Zoltán Csörsz.

There is quite an eclectic mix of styles and composition here, but the honourable mention must go to what must be one of the finest ballads ever put to disc, Last One Home, a quite gorgeous paean to the power of nature, and man's mastery of it. This features precisely the kind of lush melodies, a beautifully understated at first, rising and peaking in intensity as it progresses, guitar solo by Bainbridge which should appeal to admirers of Latimer in particular, and atmosphere which ticks every single box for me. Sumptuous and a standout for the year, the closing passage in particular is deeply moving.

And what of the rest? The title track opens proceedings, and is also the longest at 17 minutes if one includes the reprise at the close. Young is a master of his keys, and the piano especially is rather lovely. There are some haunting backing vocals by Lynsey Ward before the track segues into its major passage. All four play as a really tight unit, and Csörsz in particular stands out for a rather excellent drumming performance. The track includes some nice violin and cello solos by guest artists, and altogether this is a sublime atmospheric piece of music, perhaps let down a little bit by some out of place forays into more jazzy territory in the second third, although this is perhaps a matter of personal taste on my part, because the thoughtful soundscape reasserts itself very strongly to close, including the triumphant return of the strings at the denouement.

Gregarious reminds me so much of Alan Parsons Project that I had to check whether it was, in fact, a cover. It isn't, and the comparison is in no way meant to be disparaging, because they are responsible for some fine music, and this is an extremely pleasant track in the main, although the keyboard noodling prior to the closing section again, I am afraid, is rather out of place with all around it. I don't object to a bit of noodling, but I do like it to fit into the work I am listening to. As elsewhere throughout, Bainbridge produces some lovely guitar riffs.

Another exalted guest, Robin Boult, plays some lovely acoustic guitar on Ivory Tower, with gentle keys as a backdrop, and yearning vocals create an intelligent piece dealing with love and betrayal. On this piece, the move from thoughtful to more charged and pacy music works better. There is some fine fret work from Poole on bass in particular.

Lifesigns are categorised as neo-prog on our site, and the start of Shoreline with its signatures and feel is perhaps the most "neo" as we understand it on the album. Perhaps it is indicative of how my musical tastes have progressed over the years when I state that I find this section unconvincing, but the overall sense of the album reasserts itself from the "Take me to the shoreline" middle section before Young first with a synth solo, and then Bainbridge with his riffs, take us back again. Those of you who think that Marillion were far better with that big Scottish bloke, and Pendragon should never have progressed beyond Kowtow, will get a lot out of this track, but it is the weakest track of the album for me, I am afraid.

The other ten minute plus track is Fortitude. Bainbridge shines again on this piece, which is a very wordy track. I do wish we could have had more than the final two or so minutes of the closing instrumental passage, a wonderful keyboard led section which soars, and is, to me, perhaps an indication that this album, as good as it is, could have been so much more.

At less than one minute, the instrumental Arkhangelsk is too short to really pass judgement on, but I get the impression that the dark mood it suggests could have been extended into something quite interesting.

In parts, this is a really fine album, but my overall impression after many listens now is that these are not sufficient to make this something really special as a whole, which is a shame. If I had rated this after the initial couple of listens, then my rating would have been higher, but, with familiarity, I have no hesitation in recommending it to readers of this review, but with the knowledge that it really could have been so much more.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Lifesigns first self titled album saw them in full on prog mode with Nick Beggs onboard then the follow up Cardington showed their more AOR tenancies with Jon Poole replacing Beggs along with another assortment of guitarists. Now this third studio outing has the current line up of John Young, Jo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2536035) | Posted by PeterB | Saturday, April 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've known Lifesigns since around 2015 when I stumbled upon their debut album 'Lifesigns'. Well, I'd actually owned it for about a year but only had one listen through in a busy year for me. One evening I played it again, this time more attentive and Wow! I played it again and loved the rock/jaz ... (read more)

Report this review (#2529278) | Posted by Dclews | Monday, March 29, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars And here it is... The brand new album "Altitude" of the amazing superproject "Lifesigns". They came in our world, to stay for good. Precious souldrops everyone needs, is given as a gift to all of us. Detailed production with sensible melodies, strong rythm and feeling, and deep , very deep se ... (read more)

Report this review (#2526677) | Posted by MINDFIELDS | Saturday, March 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Website info. "Veteran keyboard player John Young (The Strawbs, John Wetton, Bonnie Tyler, The Scorpions, Fish, Uli Jon Roth, and others) realized in 2008 that he had never done a pure prog album. The band Lifesigns is the direct result of that realization. In 2010, John recruited longtime frien ... (read more)

Report this review (#2525771) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Wednesday, March 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There have been some wonderful releases so far in 2021 from some awesome progressive rock groups. But, for me, Lifesigns "Altitude" - this is my favorite. Lifesigns are one of those sort of "super groups" for sure. But the difference is; it no longer sounds like "a project" - it now sounds like a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2500802) | Posted by tmay102436 | Monday, February 1, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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