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C Sides

Crossover Prog

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C Sides Different Plain album cover
4.33 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stigler (9:08)
2. Crossing the Rubicon (6:54)
3. Circles (8:21)
4. Different Plain (5:29)
5. 250 Feet (6:03)
6. Old Friends (3:48)
7. Beneath the Sky (6:38)

Total Time 46:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Martin Rosser / guitars
- Kevin Dawson / keyboards
- Allan Mason-Jones / drums & percussion
- Allen McCarthy / bass, vocals
- Sian Elson / vocals
- Lucy Elson / vocals

Releases information

CD White Knight Records, UK
Digital album, bandcamp

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
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C SIDES Different Plain ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

C SIDES Different Plain reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Eh, Plain or Plane? Just let me note that I already was impressed by the prior release, fortunately detected in 2020. That was the kick-off for a thematically related two album project. Of course also suffering from some COVID-19 trouble in between concerning the logistics, what has slowed up things a bit. Now 'Purple Hearts Corner' was dealing with a somewhat ambivalent issue. The story turns around a B-17 bomber sent to Fascist Germany across the English Channel during Second World War. And so, at first, I was puzzled due to the new album title. A deliberated typo? Probably it will be kept as a secret forever and ever. The first song on the new album then directly points to a different plane. The potential attacker, German Messerschmitt pilot Franz Stigler. This at least makes sure, the story will be continued, probably even underway in Italy too. But I have to confess, while not having the lyrics at hand, it's a bit difficult for me to profoundly follow text content related.

Anyway, concerning the supplied music this is on a high level again, partially tending to an eclectic attitude. I do smell a proper experimental approach in this case, considering that some of them are deriving from the more easy-going Magenta family actually. Yep, Crossing The Rubicon and the album's title track are proving that without fail, take your time. Thus you will board a pleasant lift here. Missing any enemy in the end, and without a permanent altitude of solely 250 feet. Would be a bit dangerous, or what? Composition and instrumental free flight masterfully combined. The line up as such remains stable. But the album features more, yet rather spectacular female vocals, delivered by Sian and Lucy Elson. 4.5 stars, a really touching album. Released through White Knight Records in November 2021, this is an absolutely recommended release, at best as a bundle including co-twin 'Purple Hearts Corner'.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ah, the slippery slopes of perilous prog adventures! As any seasoned prog fan knows only full well, timing is everything! How many times has a new album landed in our lap, with a certain level of trepidation, only to disconnect from the hopeful pleasure it should be producing? Every kind of circumstance can alter the experience, from the album cover being misunderstood, the time of day, whether its raining or sweltering, or being simply in the wrong receptor mode. I took a plunge on Southern Welsh band C Sides and their album We Are Now , mainly for 2 reasons. One was clearly the presence of former members of Magenta and the second, being the gorgeous cover art (a common sport back in the glory days of vinyl, when many in the 70s bought an LP only because of the wild artistry). Well, suffice to say, it was an underwhelming encounter, and I was probably a victim of my own expectations and hence, shelved it, to be revisited later. Fast forward to early 2022 and getting "Different Plane", after reading a rave review from mein lieber Uwe and reading about the subject matter being WW2 (my 50-year-old hobby). This is the second part of a two-segment epic, initiated as "Purple Hearts Corner" which was recorded in 2020. The basic storyline is quite well-known in the history community as it relates to the 1943 Franz Stigler /Charlie Brown incident, showcasing chivalry, empathy, honor, and courage. Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler refused to shoot down a flak damaged B-17 bomber piloted by Brown and actually escorting it to safety. Brown and Stigler became post-war friends, quite the narrative. There are numerous videos on You tube should one be interested in the definition of humanity.

Fittingly, the 9-minute thriller "Stigler" propels his Messerschmidt BF-109 through the proggiest blue skies, a progressive rock masterpiece of seduction, verve, panache and elan, very much equal to the story line. All the sultry ingredients are present, sensational guitar licks from Martin Rosser, subtly modern and creative keyboard interventions by Kevin Dawson, Allan Mason-Jones' burly drumming as well as elastic bass and truly stunning vocals via Allen McCarthy. Sian and Lucy Elson supply the soulful harmony vocals that are surely one of the hallmarks of this release. Moody, gripping, intense and fascinating, this really got me hooked solid.

The next track keeps thrusting forward with impunity, "Crossing the Rubicon" showcasing the impulsive choice to be either a ruthless hunter or an empathetic human, and let fate take one where it may. The decision is taken with a surge in power as the main riff kicks in, chiming synths echoing wildly, and then, a fluctuating reversion into a friendlier atmosphere, still highly charged as flames are darting out of the wounded American bomber.

Laden with swirling effects and a turbulent guitar phrasing, "Circles" lays down a bouncy bass line that sets quite the groove as McCarthy grabs the microphone with his world class soulful voice (think Paul Carrack or Colin Blunstone), as the organ insists, the tremendous backing vocals support, the drums settle and both the guitar solo and the synthy one whistles through the air. The premise is that Stigler is circling around the wounded plane, offering reassurance and protection.

The title track is "Different Plain" (or Plane), a poignant track where the female vocals are pushed to the forefront briefly, but loaded with a lot of confusing rhythms, crashing swerves and an anxious ticking clock. What will be our fate? How long can we endure in a burning aircraft, barely flying and helpless?

Flying just over the waves at "250 Feet", this is an even more dramatic tune, hyper and emotional with an almost funky groove, mostly due to the suave harmony vocals. They are on the way to ultimate rescue and survival, escorted by their "enemy" to eventual safety. "Hope you make it" thought the German as he peeled off and returned to base. He later stated" I didn't have the heart to finish off those brave men. I flew beside them a long time. They were trying desperately to get back home, and I was going to let them do that".

"Friends": Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler became close friends between 1990 until their deaths in 2008, only a few months apart. Gulp! This is not coincidence but fate, brothers in arms but from opposing sides, the most valorous kind. A gentle acoustic song of incredible elegance and angelic simplicity, touching lyrics and heartfelt melody (a bit like Dust in the Wind), discreet symphonic keyboard backing and gorgeous female and male vocals. Moments in time, cold memories from the past, communion of thought and action, eternity together, deliverance. Sublime.

The finale is "Beneath the Sky" serves as a recapitulative reprise, encompassing the whole saga in one song. The combination of danger and salvation, of humanity in war time and the fear of dying, all these emotions encapsulate this piece, a shiny guitar solo screeching all the way back home, egging on both antagonists. Heroes, like Bowie would intone.

A truly magnificent album, musically and historically. This is what prog should always aspire to. I look forward to reviewing the previous part1 album "Purple Hearts Corner".

5 distinct judgments

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