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Returned To The Earth

Crossover Prog

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Returned To The Earth Fall of the Watcher album cover
4.08 | 69 ratings | 6 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2022

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fall of the Watcher (9:11)
2. White Room (6:34)
3. Drowning (5:36)
4. Sacrificed in Vain (10:28)
5. Lack of Information (6:33)
6. April Sky (7:21)

Total Time 45:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Robin Peachey / vocals, guitar
- Steve Peachey / keyboards
- Paul Johnston / drums

Releases information

mastered by Steve Kitch of The Pineapple Thief
released April 15, 2022

Thanks to Cristi for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy RETURNED TO THE EARTH Fall of the Watcher Music

RETURNED TO THE EARTH Fall of the Watcher ratings distribution

(69 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

RETURNED TO THE EARTH Fall of the Watcher reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars There is this old classic Loony Tune with Porky Pig in hunting gear, proudly singing 'A hunting we will go, hi ho a derio', which sort of exemplifies the eternal search for something hidden in the vast bushes of the prog forest, perhaps an encounter with something fresh and exciting. Landing on the French blog Prog Critique, reviewer Gabriel glowed mightily on this recent and remarkable album by Returned to the Earth, a British prog trio that has 4 albums out, the first two were perhaps more pop oriented than needed to be, but a specific tune called 'Reach the Sky' on their second album indicated a future direction that would definitely increase the prog quotient whilst still being fresh and accessible.

Upon Gabriel's lofty recommendation, I went out hunting for "Fall of the Watcher" and within mere seconds of the title track, I was promptly hooked, lined and 'sinkered'. The immediate impression was two-fold: Firstly, magnificent vocals from singer/guitarist Robin Peachey, a heady mixture of a proggier Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys, or a lighter version of IQ's Peter Nichols. And number two, a propensity for writing and arranging immensely sumptuous melodies that stick in one's head immediately! I love prog's inherent complexity, but I just get weak-kneed when hearing any romantic sweeping melody. This album is chock full of glorious themes that will stick forever in one's mind. Robin 's brother Steve handles the keyboards, and he is no slouch in creating these luscious atmospheres, while drummer Paul Johnston provides expert rhythmic pulse as well as working on the production. Finally, Robin has a rather interesting guitar style, unafraid to create wide slashes of reverb -laden chords as well as occasionally letting rip a fancy lead.

From the opening moments of the 9 minute + title track, the tone is set with precision and flair, combining a dreamy symphonic atmosphere, a swaying bass groove and a binary beat. Heavenly. Robin takes the microphone and proceeds to deliver the goods, a series of lilting verses before unleashing a wickedly emotional two-step lead guitar solo that explodes into sheer delight. The riffing section is pretty spot on as well, as the power increases to breakneck speed. Yup, this is prog alright! I am pretty sure that this track alone may have convinced the PA cross- over genre panel into accepting this band into the fold.

Things remain overwhelming with the next tune "White Room", where Robin's uncanny tone really sounds like Nichols' sweet delivery. Nothing overtly complex, just a well-crafted melody and a spacious arrangement where every note fits, very much like a lighter version of IQ. This is quite romantic and exalted in its fragility, as the guitar once again slithers into the fray, Robin having a preference for those effect-heavy shimmers of sound, certainly akin to the wall-of-sound style that recent melancholic Anathema prefer.

Quirky yet striking, "Drowning" continues in the same vein of clever details within the fold of melodic beauty, obsessive pinging sounds pushing forward the otherwise classic ballad, though the chorus is quite deliberately understated. This cannot even be tagged as pop because it isn't sugar-coated at all, stepping away from the obvious and the expected. The highly symphonic finale is proof in the pudding, with a maelstrom of keyboard flourishes.

The epic piece here is the glorious nearly 11 minute "Sacrificed in Vain", and as such, encompasses everything I love about this band. A main melody that is achingly gorgeous, an elegant hymn with outrageously charming vocals, this is a magnificent example of accessible prog should sound like without prostituting itself for commercial viability. Its just way too sophisticated and creative to fall into yawndom. Proof is the torrid and wholly unexpected mid-section, with its steamroller bass and gritty guitar riffing, thunderous drumming and an instrumental elevation of the main theme but on a sizzling guitar. Backing down into a lullaby, Robin's voice gets very mellow and drenched in sorrow, another clever use of ebb and flow. The last section 'changes it all', loopy bass and echoing orchestrations, slayed by a fiery guitar solo that would make Dave Gilmour stand up and applaud. Simple complexity or complex simplicity? Whatever, it certainly is not just one or the other and therein lies the spirit of this much-maligned group that sought a prog identity while abandoning any pop pretence, a courageous and rewarding move.

By this time, the listener should be mesmerized and enthused, as "Lack of Information "adds even more pressure on the golden buzzer being slammed, because the melody here is even more ridiculously genius than what was delivered earlier. As Robin intones "to lose yourself, to find yourself", one cannot help falling under the spell. Keeping the microphone, he caresses his guitar to highlight what he is singing, all shimmer and glimmer, brightly illuminating that composition into being a masterpiece.

The sensational finale "April Sky" offers no merciful down time, as its another culmination of the notion of what a melody should be in modern music, as Robin suggests a ecstatically peaceful vocal within a serene arrangement that twinkles gently on the horizon (one can easily imagine Nichols singing this). Jangling flick of the wrist guitar also helps in shaping the spectral beauty of this tune, leisurely blossoming the phrasings into a repetitive lilt that increases in desperation as Robin intones "falling!". This is simply a marvellous ending to a consummate piece of musical art

This 46-minute album has more hooks than a prog fish market. Is it original, one may ask? Does it matter when the music is as glittery as this? Utterly polished like a gem? Not at all. Great production and sound (mastered by Pineapple Thief's Steve Kitch) as well as attractive cover art only add to the pleasure. Easily slotted in the top 3 prog albums for 2022. I will review the preceding Erebus album, so as to prove this was no freakin' blip on the radar.

5 Collapsing spectators

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Apparently, the third album released by a British band who only recently came to my attention thanks to the glowing review of Thomas Szirmay. Comparisons to both Steven Wilson and Peter Nicholls/IQ are warranted, but I'll go further to specify 1990s PORCUPINE TREE as most familiar to the music here while the vocals, in particular, seem equally influenced/reminiscent of those of SYLVAN frontman Marco Glühmann and Michael Stipe as much as a young Peter Nicholls. The fact that the album was mastered by The Pineapple Thief's Steve Kitsch also makes sense.

1. "Fall of the Watcher (9:11) long, slow-to-develop spacey intro leads into Pink Floyd/NO-MAN-like organ fill followed by guitar and then establishment of bass and drum lines. Nice! Enter the vocals of Robin Peachey. He has a very nice, slightly vulnerable sounding voice with a delivery style similar to those of both Peter Nicholls and Steven Wilson. The chorus starts off oddly similar to that of Steven Wilson's "Time Flies", though the rest of the chorus is nothing like it. Great key change at the 4-minute mark. Interesting guitar solo at the end of the fifth minute--more like the style of DAVID GILMOUR though neither the sound or register Dave would use. In the sixth minute, however, the accompaniment shifts into third gear as the guitar moves more into a wonderful extended Gilmour/Bjørn Riis-like dynamic, multi-faceted solo. Prog heaven, folks! Great bass and drums beneath. At 8:25 we are let loose--left free-falling to the surface. Not what I was expecting! But Brilliant! Great song. What an epic! Definitely a top three favorite for me. (19/20)

2. "White Room" (6:34) this song just has a great, soothing feel to it--on many levels. Hypnotic and melodic. Brilliant! And beautiful. My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

3. "Drowning" (5:36) there's a Porcupine Tree-David Sylvian feel to this song from the Richard Barbieri-Steve Jansen feel of the rich keyboards and syncopated rhythm track, Nice Peter Nicholls vocal performance. (8.75/10)

4. "Sacrificed in Vain" (10:28) opens with very static reliance on keyboard strings for backing Robin's vocal. In the second half of the second minute, drums and strumming acoustic guitar enter to move things forward--at least into second gear. The chorus that soon ensues is multi-part, the second part much better than the first. At 3:37, then, a heavier rock guitar sound, chunky bass, and power drums take over making this a very PT experience. At 5:17 the heavy motif stops and spacey synths and heavily treated "drum" track take over while electric piano chords, Robin Peachey's multi-pitched vocals sing with nice psychedelic guitar play and Steven Wilson-like solo play within and around. I love the "in all" vocal repeat in the coda that leads into the bluesy guitar solo of the ninth minute. Not a perfect or completely developed song, the choices of palette shifts and instrumental sounds are well met. (17.5/20)

5. "Lack of Information" (6:33) REM meets PORCUPINE TREE meets IQ. Another great song--the keyboard "strings" are masterful. (9/10)

6. "April Sky" (7:21) both NO-MAN and IQ come to mind in the first minutes of this pretty song, the former for its musical palette and pace, the latter for the vocal stylings. It never ceases to amaze me how much can be created from keyboards. The Peachey brothers make quite a team. Kudos! The guitar solo in the fifth minute is pure Steven Wilson: nothing overstated or flashy, just perfectly fitting. My second favorite song. (14/15)

Total Time 45:43

Whereas Thomas was completely wowed by the melodies, I find them a bit simplistic and underdeveloped. At the same time, I find Steve Peachey's rich yet understated keyboard work--especially the "strings" arrangements to be quite sublime--reminding me of the virtuosic work of Jørgen Grüner-Hagen on AIRBAG's debut album, Identity.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of richly hued progressive rock music--and now one of my favorite releases of 2022. Thanks, Thomas! But more, thanks Returned to the Earth!

Review by kev rowland
4 stars I confess to not being as close to the UK progressive scene as I was some 30 years ago, which probably has something to do with there being far more people writing about progressive rock music these days, combined with me now living on the other side of the world. That is my excuse for having never heard of this prog trio until I was contacted by Thomas Szirmay asking if I had. A quick check of his review on PA and I was heading off to the band's site to make contact, the result being that I am now listening to their latest album. This 2022 release is their fourth, all with the same line-up of Robin Peachey (vocals, guitar), Steve Peachey (keyboards), and Paul Johnston (drums). I was not surprised to see that this was mastered by Steve Kitch of The Pineapple Thief, as that is a band which has obviously been a major influence, along with the likes of no-man or even Japan. However, there is no doubt that this band, while prog, have also been influenced by some classic British keyboard-based pop bands, with Pet Shop Boys an obvious stopping point. However, that may just be my mind playing tricks on me as Robin's vocals are very close indeed to Neil Tennant, although Peter Nicholls is in there as well, as is Nik Kershaw.

There is a great deal of space within the arrangements, and there are times when it feels like there is very little depth with everything on the surface with just Paul slightly behind the rest. The keyboards and guitar are where all the action is happening in terms of musical accompaniment, but there is not as much within the dynamics as I would have liked, as the contrast is not always there to set off the different components. There is also quite a large use of electronic percussion, although played by a human, which takes us back to the Eighties yet with modern production and styles. I can imagine there being some debates on this band being accepted onto PA by the team in question, as there are quite long sections where one can easily argue the pop influences have taken over from the prog, although for the most part the guys blend them together.

This album has already been given maximum marks on PA by two writers I highly admire, yet I cannot bring myself to go quite that far. I can understand why some people will think that, yet for me this is just too restrained, polished and with not enough breakouts so one can feel somewhat smothered within it. I would have preferred to have more dynamics such as we hear on "Sacrificed In Vain", where the guitars make their presence felt, but if you enjoy music from bands such as those mentioned, with a heavy dose of 80's keyboard pop brought in, all delivered in a considered manner then these guys could well be a major find.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I might as well tell you right away, I listened to this album a dozen times over the last four months before starting the review, rarely has a record given me so much difficulty in talking about it without bias, knowing that I am absolutely not a fan of THE PINEAPPLE THIEF and that the mastering ... (read more)

Report this review (#3053548) | Posted by KansasForEver2 | Monday, May 13, 2024 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Top album of 2022 so far, for meWell, this is an interesting album, right when I was ready to write off 2022 as vastly inferior to the amazing offerings throughout 2021.Brufordfreak nailed all the main points and comparisons/references that I would make and I don't want to read like a copy cat, ... (read more)

Report this review (#2771544) | Posted by Michael919 | Sunday, June 19, 2022 | Review Permanlink

2 stars At the time of writing this review, this album tops the 2022 list. That sparked my interest, despite the label "Crossover Prog". The rating was so high, that I HAD to listen. And I am glad I did. Because this is a solid album. A good, easy listening album. That said, the lyrics are not that top ... (read more)

Report this review (#2756730) | Posted by WJA-K | Friday, May 27, 2022 | Review Permanlink

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