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ARK

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Ark biography
ARK came into existance in 1986, following incarnations as DAMASCUS and KITE. ARK's first line-up consisted of Ant (vocals & flute), Pete Wheatley (lead guitar), Steve Harris (guitar synth), Steve's brother Andy Harris (bass) and Gary Davis (drums).

Gary had been with the band since DAMASCUS, but was soon to be replaced by Dave Robbins. The band's initial output was a series of cassette singles before releasing a limited edition vinyl single featuring 'Communications' and 'Home for the Summer' in 1987. The line-up at this time was Steve Harris (guitar-synth and backing vocals), Andy Harris (bass), Dave Robins (drums), Anthony Short (vocals & flute) and Pete Wheatley (lead guitar).

In 1988 the band entered the heats of the "Battle of the bands" competition, however after the heats, Andy left the band to be replaced by John Jowitt. The band went on to win the final held at Edwards No.8 in Birmingham. Following their triumphant win, the band entered Rich Bitch Studios to record the mini album "The Dreams of Mr Jones". Richard Deane replaced Dave Robins who quit early in 1989, arriving in time for the band to enter TVM Studios in Birmingham to record the "New Scientist" EP. Gaining a following outside their native Black Country base, the band launched themselves into dates around the UK, including guest support on IQ's summer 'Are You Sitting Comfortably' tour during June 1989. They then found themselves invited to play a headline date in Paris, and a support to It Bites for a one-off date in Tilburg, Holland.

In October 1990 John decided to leave the band (later going on to join IQ and JADIS), his successor being Gel Newey.

Four months later, in February 1991, Richard announced his departure, and on Gel's recommendation, Paul Rodgers joined the band. With the line-up now established, work began on new material. They entered the studio again in March 1991 to record the tracks for the "Cover me with Rain" EP. In June 1991, they won the opportunity to record a Radio One session, when they scored the highest number of recorded votes in the Friday Rock Show's Rock War.

A cassette album, "Archives 1983-1990" was released in 1990, but has since been deleted, and "The Dreams of Mr Jones" was released on CD during 1991. "Cover Me With Rain" EP was finally released in August 1992, promoted by an extensive UK tour. During the Autumn and Winter months, the band settled into pre-production for their first full length album. In August...
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ARK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ARK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.86 | 12 ratings
The Dreams of Mr Jones
1988
2.60 | 5 ratings
Spiritual Physics
1993
3.12 | 29 ratings
Wild Untamed Imaginings
2010

ARK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ARK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ARK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ARK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
New Scientist
1989
1.56 | 5 ratings
Cover Me With Rain
1992

ARK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cover Me With Rain by ARK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
1.56 | 5 ratings

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Cover Me With Rain
Ark Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars In 1989 Dave Robbins was replaced by new drummer Richard Deane and the ''New scientist'' EP was recorded, followed by several lives, including support to IQ and visits to Paris and Tilburg.However in October 90's John Jowitt left to become a renowned member with IQ and Jadis.His replacement was Gel Newey, who had been a member of small Metal acts and brought along his ex-bandmate Paul Rodgers four months later, when Deane also quit.In 1991 Ark enter the Rich Bitch Studioplex in Birmingham to record their first private CD.Entitled ''Cover me with rain'', this was eventually released in August 92'.

The band was apparently drowned by the New Wave fashion of the time, while the addition of two Metal-influenced musicians had also an impact to Ark's sound, which somewhat lost the ultra-melodic approach in the sake of more pounding rhythms.Two tracks, ''Train'' and the self-titled one, were offered in both radio and extended editions, indicating that the steam of ideas has possibly run out.At this point they do sound like PALLAS and TWELFTH NIGHT during their weakest efforts.The tracks are short, powerful and groovy with plenty of energy and highlighted by marching drumming and guitar work, that twists from edgy riffing to more melodic deliveries.However the songs are very predictable without any fresh ideas and lacking any serious content.Ark's highest point was always the tendency towards good melodies and this albums contains enough material to satisfy a Neo Prog fan.But no more than that.No sound development, no intricate instrumentals and moreover lots of poppy leanings and even some very cheesy choruses and thin keyboards.Still Short remains in the list of the very good singers of the movement.

Uninspired and flat poppy Neo Prog.Closer often to AOR than Prog, this will find some appeal only among the dedicated fans of British Neo Prog...2.5 stars.

 The Dreams of Mr Jones  by ARK album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.86 | 12 ratings

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The Dreams of Mr Jones
Ark Neo-Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Perhaps best known for featuring bassist John Jowitt who would, of course, go on to bigger and better things with Jadis and IQ, Ark arrived pretty late to the 1980's neo-prog party with the brief, low-budget, pop-tinged albeit rather colourful 1988 release 'The Dreams Of Mr Jones'. Issued on vinyl and featuring a truly striking sleeve, this is virtually DIY prog from an enthusiastic five-piece with limited resources, but boy do they make the best of them. With no epics and a notable lack of virtuoso soloing, Ark's debut instead seeks to straddle the chasm between the pop and neo-prog genre's, lightly glazing a set of catchy tunes with a progressive aesthetic manifested by the occasional jerky time-signature and the album's unifying if somewhat loosely-delivered theme of love, life and the fantasies we indulge in to break the monotony of modern life. This refreshingly simple approach results in a slightly crude overall album, though the group manage to produce a couple of genuine corkers in the shape of the charming and highly-emotive ballad 'Through The Night' and the anthemic rocker 'Powder For The Gun', two tracks with real hit single potential. Elsewhere, the jaunty pop-rock of 'Mabeline' adds sprightly synthesizers and a catchy chorus to the mix, though unfortunately the under-nourished instrumental architecture of the maudlin 'Kaleidoscope' and the unconvincing closer 'Nowhere's Ark' struggle to reach the same exciting levels. Coming in at just under twenty-nine minutes 'The Dreams Of Mr Jones' really does rush by, yet despite the constricting budgetary limitations and sparsely-structured nature of the music this is ultimately a pretty entertaining ride. If it's catchy songs you're after as opposed to lengthy song-suites and ambitious musical constructs, Ark's debut album should be right up your neo-prog shaped street. Although slightly limited in scope and style, this does feature at least two excellent tracks, showing there are still occasional nuggets to be unearthed within the spectrum of 1980s British prog for those who dig deep enough. By no means a classic, but 'The Dreams Of Mr Jones' is refreshing fun all the same.
 Wild Untamed Imaginings by ARK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.12 | 29 ratings

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Wild Untamed Imaginings
Ark Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Ark in a new decade

After many line up changes across the years but with not many releases issued, I guess 2 or 3 only in more then 20 years career, Ark return after a gap of more then 15 years with a new album named Untamed imaginings issued at Progrock Records in 2010. What we have here is neo prog bordering with rock in general, not very progressive overall but pleasent enought to be intresting for neo fans or prog listners in general. This time clocking around 50 min album with 10 pieces, each one with enjoyble atmosphere and good musicianship. 3 covers from the first album from 1988 Gaia, Kaleidoscope and Nowhere's Ark sounds as fresh as 23 years ago, the rest are ok , in some parts even great. The album is catchy as plenty of good moments, nice vocal parts made by Tony Short, Jowit is again on the baricades here afterspending some years in Jadis boat. The album is mid tempo, no bursting moments, they play safe but ok , pleasent most of the time, mature, even the album doesn't shine in compostinional arrangements. So again a 3 star album to me, not perfect at all, but ok for sure and quite enjoyble in the end. Fans of US from Holland, even Uriah Heep or It Bites at some point might take a spin or two, decent album.

 The Dreams of Mr Jones  by ARK album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.86 | 12 ratings

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The Dreams of Mr Jones
Ark Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Ark is one of the british bands from first wave of neo prog movement from early to mid '80's, but with all that they remain rather unnoticed in comparation with other names from this field. First album issued under Ark name appear in 1988 named The dreams of Mr Jones. Well in vein of Pendragon, Iq but little more straight in compostions, not overly complex or with comlicaterd moves in arrangements, but still enjoyble for sure. I like this first Ark album, very pleasent vocal parts sung by Anthony Short, not at all like Fish, more like Peter Gabriel in some parts, what he done in the '80's. The band and album generaly is totaly unnoticed , even by neo prog lovers, is nothing very impressive overall but belive me, has that special atmosphere of the neo prog of the '80's I realy like, sincere band in my opinion. Some members from here, among others John Jowitt on bass , he will meet him in Jadis couple of years later, doing what he know best neo prog. All pieces from here stands as good, not a weak moment IMO, the arangements are up tempo with little mellower parts, as a whole ok towards great, even the album is short in lenght almost 30 min, but better less and good then a lot and weak. 3 stars easy , realy one of the unfairly unnoticed band from the '80's neo prog movement, they were light behind in popularity , Pendragon, IQ, not to mention Marillion were already by this album issue 1988 gods in the field. The neo fans who wants to discover a sincere band with pleasent and enjoyble moments give this album atrey worth it.
 Wild Untamed Imaginings by ARK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.12 | 29 ratings

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Wild Untamed Imaginings
Ark Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars So they've finally made it?

Ark (not to be confused with the Norwegian Prog Metal band of the same name or the Swedish Glam Rock band The Ark) is a band that started already in the mid 80's and released several cassettes and EP's in the late 80's and early 90's. But they never really "made it". The present album consists of newly recorded versions of songs originally written throughout the band's career, some of which were previously released and others who hitherto existed only in demo form. As such it is a middle ground between a best of compilation and a brand new studio album. The sound of Ark comes close to that of fellow Brits It Bites (whom they also supported on tour) and in my opinion Crossover Prog would perhaps be a more accurate categorization than Neo-Prog. However, in terms of the band's history and its personnel, their place in Neo-Prog is fully understandable; they toured with IQ on their Are You Sitting Comfortably? tour and one of the members of Ark is John Jowitt of IQ, Jadis and Arena fame. In addition to Jowitt on bass, the current line-up of the band included original members Tony Short on vocals and flute, Pete Wheatley on lead guitar and Steve Harris on guitar synth. Drums are handled by one Tim Churchman.

All of the 11 songs on Wild Untamed Imaginings are around five minutes in length and features some catchy choruses. For me, nothing really stands out in either direction, meaning that there are no bad tracks as such but also no great ones. The presence of flute on several tracks gives a slight folky atmosphere to the proceedings that occasionally brings to mind (the much better band) Haze. The guitars do not have that clean sound usually associated with Neo-Prog, but rather a more rough sound that gives a slight punky feel and the drums and vocals go well along with that.

Three of the tracks here, Gaia, Kaleidoscope and Nowhere's Ark, were previously released on the band's 1988 debut album The Dreams Of Mr. Jones, but I cannot say if the present versions are improvements or not. Yet other tracks apparently have an even longer history to them, originally appearing on old demos and EP's. I occasionally get the feeling that they were scraping the barrel to find enough material for this album.

Overall, Wild Untamed Imaginings is a pleasant listen that is worth hearing. But it is hardly essential listening for anyone apart from those who might have followed the band since their early days.

 Wild Untamed Imaginings by ARK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.12 | 29 ratings

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Wild Untamed Imaginings
Ark Neo-Prog

Review by devox

4 stars Here's a hidden Gem of an album, Broadly speaking it only just scrapes into the "Prog" category as the songs are shorter and not overly complicated. The songs are all self contained stories & vignettes. Stand outs include the day trip to the beach of Boudicaas Chariot, the disturbing little tale of New Scientist and the closing track Nowheres Ark. Ant Shorts vocals are distinctive and fit the music well. The playing tight and focused and the production is excellent. Well worth checking out if you like the poppier output of the Neo Prog bands of the 80's (Pendragons Kowtow, IQs Nomzamo & Are you sitting spring to mind).
 Wild Untamed Imaginings by ARK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.12 | 29 ratings

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Wild Untamed Imaginings
Ark Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars UK outfit ARK was formed in the mid 80's, and established themselves as a second tier Neo-Prog band in the decade or so they were active. Constantly changing line-ups was at least partially responsible for the band never managing to really get going though, and in 1995 the last incarnation of arK called it a day. Come 2009 and former member John Jowitt, now a household name in the Neo-Progressive scene, decided to revive his old band after being in contact with guitarist Steve Harris. They were promptly signed to US label Progrock Records, who issued their new album "Wild Untamed Imaginings" in the fall of 2010.

"Wild Untamed Imaginings" might not contain too many compositions adhering to standard progressive rock formulas, but the blend of hard rock, stadium rock and art rock should most likely go down well with quite a few fans of all these genres, with fans of artists like Magnum and Uriah Heep among the ones I'd imagine would enjoy this material. Dedicated neo progressive fans might want to approach this one with a bit of caution though, especially those amongst them that doesn't care too much about harder edged material.

 Cover Me With Rain by ARK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
1.56 | 5 ratings

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Cover Me With Rain
Ark Neo-Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

1 stars ARK sounds like OZZY doing AOR songs on rehearsal. The ugliset here is "Celebrate", very stupid and derivative. This is not Neo-prog, not even related - this is simply a number of pop-rock songs without any signs of talent or taste. "OK, if this is pop-rock there must be catchy tunes?" No, buddy, read above - "no talent and taste". The singer sometimes tries to sound a-la Gabriel, and it creates strange impression of Gabriel stuck inside Ozzy...or Ozzy stuck inside Gabriel...anyway, I wished it would end soon - and halleluyah, that was only a EP! Recommended for those who wants kill themself with pseudo-Neo-prog. Not recommended for others, even collectors.
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