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THIEVES' KITCHEN

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Thieves' Kitchen biography
Founded in Swindon, UK in 1999 - Still active as of 2019

THIEVES' KITCHEN is a modern British line-up that is special because they could get away from the neo progressive influences that his mentor had (with a lot of talent), developed in GREY LADY DOWN. The sound has neo influences put also with strong and fully orchestrated arrangements. The musicianship is complicated but very much in the band spirit. This is a very good blend of traditional prog and newer prog. Recorded in 1999, "Head" sees in "Argot" an excellent second part.

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THIEVES' KITCHEN discography


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THIEVES' KITCHEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 45 ratings
Head
2000
3.40 | 61 ratings
Argot
2001
3.40 | 59 ratings
Shibboleth
2003
3.63 | 89 ratings
The Water Road
2008
3.81 | 122 ratings
One For Sorrow, Two For Joy
2013
3.85 | 151 ratings
The Clockwork Universe
2015
3.71 | 82 ratings
Genius Loci
2019

THIEVES' KITCHEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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THIEVES' KITCHEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Water Road by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.63 | 89 ratings

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The Water Road
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

5 stars Honestly, Thieves' Kitchen's first album ("Head") was kind of ordinary - some great guitar and keyboard interplay (from Phil Mercy and Wolfgang Kindl respectively), but Simon Boys' vocals were never anything special, and there seemed to be a lack of variety in the songwriting. Things improved somewhat with "Argot". But when they added singer Amy Darby (fantastic vocals) with the album "Shibboleth", and started writing in a more unique and diverse style, I became a HUGE fan. "The Water Road" follows the formula of Shibboleth, and is another big winner for the band.

The sound of TK is sort of difficult to pin down. There is certainly a bit of a Canterbury feel, while the presence here of two former members of Anglagard gives that band reference some validity too. The fiery guitar work is reminiscent of Allan Holdsworth, especially in the jazzier moments; yet there is also a ton of mellotron (some of the best I've ever heard! - surprise: Thomas Johnson from Anglagard...) and soft piano along with some near-orchestral moments that include instruments like flute, oboe, violin and cello. And still, there is a cohesiveness to the overall sound of this album!

There's a serious tone to the music on this cd - very atmospheric with great melodies that shift moods from complex to dreamy. There is a certain melancholy that pervades the music; I'm not sure if I was unduly influenced by the cd cover art, but I felt the flow of isolated Asian waterways during listening. While there are certainly moments where the band rocks out and flexes their jazz fusion muscles, more often the pace is sort of plodding (but not boring!) and thoughtful. In fact, there are so many musical nuances and clever ideas throughout the cd that the listener is always rewarded with repeated listens.

Over the course of 73 minutes, this music will take you on some nice mind journeys with fully developed symphonic and jazz rock ideas, excellent and mysterious lyrics, all beautifully sung and masterly performed. Standout tracks for me include the 21-minute opening epic "The Long Fianchetto", the shorter "Returglas", "Chameleon"....ahhhhh, they're ALL great! ;-)

Settle into your canal boat and let the current carry you down this very interesting water road....

 Genius Loci by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.71 | 82 ratings

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Genius Loci
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars THIEVE'S KITCHEN is a band half-English, half-Swedish, taking his compositions as different adventures to explore their curiosity dinosaur sounds of the 1st period. His mentor worked on GRAY LADY DOWN, his music is both progressive, alternative and imaginative. The groups will referents KING CRIMSON to GENTLE GIANT, GENESIS to van der Graaf and YES to ANGLAGARD. Some directors label will place it in its "Eclectic prog", if you will. The musicians come from groups such BLOOD HUM ANGLAGARD precisely and the recent ALL TRAPS ON EARTH. I have struggled with their 5th album 'with pies', but' The Clockwork Universe "sounding more concise and more structured, had seduced me; what about their seventh, it's gone.

"Eilmer" begins with a song witness, throwing both sounds jazzy prog canterburyennes and purely in this musical maelstrom of the 70's: the female voice of Amy sets the tone of the ballad sound with various instrumental versions rather than solos; bass Johan shoots that Chris SQUIRE while various synths Thomas flirt with those of Tony BANKS; Phil guitar reminds me at times those of Steve Howe and Steve Hackett. The air is monolithic and playful at once, although in the cold style, austere and fruity ANGLAGARD. "Uffington" by Anna flute and drums immerse you in the first tremors génésisiens and that most of the spirit Canterbury with an airy guitar and jazz-rock on the edge of improvisation in rock art of creative madness.

The various titles derive from fussed engineering LOCI, spirit of nature; that title in three movements you can listen smoothly and without waves, I wonder if I do not age faster than expected because my ear begins to appreciate these notes tormented timeless; Ah yes, the Hammond organ on "Seven Stones" must be something to do. "The Poison Garden" follows, ephemeral little rhyme minutes with minimalist piano and voice whispered that one would see in a piano bar; it's simple, but it also worked very well for introspection midterm.

"The Voice of The Lar" and as more than 20 minutes perfectly orchestrated, a title that looks straight out of GENTLE GIANT, YES, KING CRIMSON also the go, the first PINK FLOYD, some VAN DER GRAAF and first GENESIS; sound, complex melodies, instruments highlighted as and measure the rise of the song, you will need several listenings to guess or discern the many musical drawers; festival achieved between the guitar and synthesizer, all supported by a forceful rhythmic base avoiding any trouble; solo me back even a title soundtrack "HEAVY METAL" I let you up! Some breaks are moving from a dinosaur group to another without transition, quite hilarious. One thing is sure, we move away from jazz influences to enter the convolutions of ANGLAGARD or ANEKDOTEN but with a softer look, more balanced, more cold too, almost melancholy; must be the voice of Amy to restore an almost festive tone to YES. The end off again on a more introspective movement. "Mirie It Is" with clean air, clear, almost magical piano and flute, comes as the latest title as there bringing an almost archaic musical research worthy of the first titles like GENESIS "stagnation"; one can feel the influence of Chick COREA, instruments giving into emotion and complexity, the beauty and innovation, not content to copy what the ancients were able to create there are only about fifty years, the last guitar solo is characteristic of a controlled mastery. more weighted, colder too, almost melancholy; must be the voice of Amy to restore an almost festive tone to YES. The end off again on a more introspective movement. "Mirie It Is" with clean air, clear, almost magical piano and flute, comes as the latest title as there bringing an almost archaic musical research worthy of the first titles like GENESIS "stagnation"; one can feel the influence of Chick COREA, instruments giving into emotion and complexity, the beauty and innovation, not content to copy what the ancients were able to create there are only about fifty years, the last guitar solo is characteristic of a controlled mastery. more weighted, colder too, almost melancholy; must be the voice of Amy to restore an almost festive tone to YES. The end off again on a more introspective movement. "Mirie It Is" with clean air, clear, almost magical piano and flute, comes as the latest title as there bringing an almost archaic musical research worthy of the first titles like GENESIS "stagnation"; one can feel the influence of Chick COREA, instruments giving into emotion and complexity, the beauty and innovation, not content to copy what the ancients were able to create there are only about fifty years, the last guitar solo is characteristic of a controlled mastery. The end off again on a more introspective movement. "Mirie It Is" with clean air, clear, almost magical piano and flute, comes as the latest title as there bringing an almost archaic musical research worthy of the first titles like GENESIS "stagnation"; one can feel the influence of Chick COREA, instruments giving into emotion and complexity, the beauty and innovation, not content to copy what the ancients were able to create there are only about fifty years, the last guitar solo is characteristic of a controlled mastery. The end off again on a more introspective movement. "Mirie It Is" with clean air, clear, almost magical piano and flute, comes as the latest title as there bringing an almost archaic musical research worthy of the first titles like GENESIS "stagnation"; one can feel the influence of Chick COREA, instruments giving into emotion and complexity, the beauty and innovation, not content to copy what the ancients were able to create there are only about fifty years, the last guitar solo is characteristic of a controlled mastery.

There it's finished! A journey to the depths of the Cold music, one that does not let itself be tamed easily, a journey for those who still dream of dinosaurs, travel smooth as in an eclectic kind that achieves a high mastery simply . This latest album thieve'S KITCHEN is worth the trip just to remember the good time deciphering pieces.

 Genius Loci by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.71 | 82 ratings

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Genius Loci
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars One of the most talented and accomplished lineups in progressive rock music, these artists seem to be getting better as they age, mellowing and not requiring the intense complexities, expressing a rarely encountered mastery of space and understatement--accomplishing more with less. Though these songs feel so easy and smooth, the note-by-note renderings are quite complex and rarely predictable.

1. "Eilmer" (9:33) jumping right into story telling with Amy singing from the opening note, she is supported by a spacious, almost jazzy arrangement of chunky bass, dirty guitar, distant electric piano, and syncopatedly accented drums. The weave is steady and rather bucolic despite its electric bass, while Amy's nontraditional melody lines and poetic imagery kind of lull us into comfort and melancholy. (Words from previous generations often seem much more appropriate for trying to capture the essence of TK's songs. Class and literacy ooze from their work.) The guitar solo in the sixth minute sounds so much like something that one would find on a STEELY DAN album! Wow! I am speechless! That was so sublime and mature! The build up and climax in the second half is so subtle yet insistent that I find myself shocked when it's over. Great song! Great construction and admirable restraint in its abridgement. (19/20)

2. "Uffington" (11:35) Sublime beauty with that "simple complexity" of which I wrote in the lead paragraph above. There is such a wonderful Becker-Fagen-Katz feel to this music! The band definitely feels more likely to play in a jazz house than a rock stadium. There is an important element--an expression or emulation of reverence for Nature--in this music, one might go so far as to claim that it is in fact essential. (18.25/20)

3. "The Poison Garden" (3:50) piano intro, gorgeous and contemplative, soon joined by the pastoral imagery of Amy's lyrics sung in her usual unpredictable melodies. Beautiful, poignant, timeless. Another one best performed in the intimate, smoky darkness of the jazz lounge. (9/10)

4. "The Voice of the Lar" (20:06) opens up sounding like the jazzy side of YES: early Steve Howe, Tony, Kaye, Bill Bruford, and Chris Squire. At 6:53 there is an interesting shift into a Mellotron-and-organ-based almost Jean-Luc Ponty/Weather Report feel. At 8:30 Amy makes her first appearance with very simple and sparse accompaniment from electric piano, Mellotron, sparse bass, and cymbal play. A minute later the Yes-sound has returned while Amy continues singing. Definitely an old Time and a Word feel to the music--especially in the guitar play as this section continues. At 11:15 there is another jazzy bridge before we enter into another instrumental section--this one more a set up for some TONY BANKS-like electronic keyboard soloing. Amy returns at 12:55 while the band plays the same early YES weave. Thanks to Johan Brand and Thomas Johnson, this never gets old or boring. In the fifteenth minute there is a switch to piano base and more odd tempo constructs and accents, then to swirling organ, chunky bass, and complex PETE TOWNSEND-like guitar chord strums. Paul Mallyon is brilliant here! Amy returns to sing over the final couple minutes as the 'tron-led YES-musicians build up to their finale. Flawless composition and performances only rated down for lack of super-refreshing surprises, a little lack of diversity. It's not often bands pay tribute to early YES! (36.25/40)

5. "Mirie It Is" (8:52) opens like a a Rickie Lee Jones piano song before Amy enters singing in an ancient language. Flute bridges the first verse to the second, opens the way for bass, percussions, and electronic keyboards to join in. What a masterful, beautiful construct! Three minutes in and Amy's only sung that initial verse: it's all been instrumental since then! Masterful performances from Anna Holmgren on the flute, Johan Brand on the chunky, forward-mixed bass, Thomas Johnson on keys, and Paul Mallyon on the drums. What 'nglag'rd would have sounded like if they had slowed it down and played with space and time more. When Phil finally joins in with two guitar tracks in the sixth minute, it's like the king has arrived! The simple and yet numerous keyboard contributions made by Thomas Johnson are so perfect! Like listening to Mike Oldfield slowed down for effect. It's not until the final minute that the music d back to the simple piano accompaniment with which Amy sings her second and final verse (same as the first). Perfection! One of my favorite songs of the year! (20/20)

Total Time 53:56

Five stars; a veritable masterpiece of mature and impressive progressive rock compositions. Definitely my vote for Album of the Year (... so far).

 The Water Road by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.63 | 89 ratings

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The Water Road
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This is one of those classic cases, along with Echolyn's As the World and Discipline's Unfolded like Staircase in that it really left me cold and I can't understand the fuss behind it. This was a British band but the first to bring in Thomas Johnson of Änglagård, which means I should be totally blown away but instead it just seems stiff and over-long. A lot of the Mellotron passages are unsurprisingly Änglagård- like, but unfortunately the music overall is without the inspiration. I noticed Anna Holmgren and Mattias Olsson are on this as guests but really doesn't help here. I know many will enjoy this but the sterile production and stiff performance doesn't help. Luckily Thomas Johnson redeemed himself big time with the Änglagård reunion that gave us Viljans Öga, and the truly wonderful All Traps on Earth with A Drop of Light (featuring himself, Johan Brand, his daughter Miranda Brand and current Änglagård drummer Erik Hammarström). That stuff totally leaves The Water Road in the dust. As for The Water Road it just isn't for me.
 The Clockwork Universe by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 151 ratings

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The Clockwork Universe
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars

Whilst the core line-up of Amy Darby (vocals), Phil Mercy (guitars) and Thomas Johnson (keyboards, ex-'nglag'rd) were still here from the previous album, this 2015 album saw a few changes in the guests. Anna Holmgren (flute, 'nglag'rd) and Paul Mallyon (drums, ex-Sanguine Hum) have now been joined by Johan Brand (bass, 'nglag'rd), and this time there is no trumpet or cello. Although this is a Thieves Kitchen album, it means that of the six involved, half of them recorded the 2012 'nglag'rd album 'Viljans 'ga'. I have heard all of the TK albums, but it was 2008's 'The Water Road' where they made a significant musical leap, which is where Thomas joined the band. 2013's 'One For Sorrow, One For Joy' saw a continuation of that, so what would the 2015 release bring?

The one word that shines throughout this album is quite simple, 'confidence'. Here are a group of musicians who have been working together in one form or another for quite a few years now (Anna was involved as long ago as 'The Water Road' with Amy, Phil and Thomas), and they know what they want to achieve and trust each other implicitly. This is all about producing complex progressive music, but always allowing Amy to shine with strong clear vocals. She is at the forefront of everything they are doing, with everyone else combining to provide a suitable backdrop. This could mean acoustic guitars, or classic organ sounds, complex drumming, striking repetitive bass or clear flute. This is progressive music that can be incredibly complex, or simple almost to an extreme, melodic or discordant, languid or rapid, whatever is the right setting for the arrangement. They can be King Crimson, or Gentle Giant, Renaissance or 'nglag'rd, but first and foremost they will always be Thieves' Kitchen.

This is type of music that got me interested in progressive rock in the first place: I want to hear music that is complex and complicated, where the mind and ears wonder where they are going to be taken to next on a journey of musical adventure and exploration. At the same time, I want it to make total musical sense so that I don't get lost along the way but feel that I am being taken on a circuitous route to ensure that I don't miss any of the wonders that are available. This is yet another stunning album from Thieves' Kitchen, and I can't believe that it has taken me so long to write about it. But, I know that they are currently recording the next one, so hopefully there will be even more to hear soon.

 One For Sorrow, Two For Joy by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.81 | 122 ratings

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One For Sorrow, Two For Joy
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I actually wanted to get "The Water Road". It was in my Amazon stand by cart for nearly two years. Then "One for Sorrow, Two for Joy" came out and they both sat in my cart. Finally I decided to get "The Water Road" and it was gone, no longer available except as an expensive import. So I quickly snatched up this album.

I first heard about Thieves' Kitchen back in 2012 when I was seeking out new prog bands and stumbled across them on iTunes. At the time I liked only some songs but not enough to want to buy an album. Their mention in the book "Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock" by Stephen Lambe made me change my mind. But "One for Sorrow" seems not like the best place to start with this band.

After a brief child's rhyme, the music begins and sounds promising enough. There's the usual electric guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. It's when the vocals come in that things start to go the opposite direction from which I'd hoped. Now it's not that Amy Darby is a bad singer. At first I thought she was good but unremarkable. However, listening more carefully I have come to think that the vocals lines for this song were just not meant for most singers. She has to sing low and throw in an occasional higher note and hold these low notes. It feels more like someone trying to sing over a prog instrumental. The next song doesn't fair any better and here I feel the lyrics sound as forced as the singing: "The cosmos in its scale / Like Isis unveiled / To the all-seeing eye". There's a pleasant bit of flute followed by some nice piano, the only redeeming virtues of this song for me.

"A Fool's Journey" is a surprise because of the heavy riff. As I had Black Sabbath's "13" in my iPhone music library at the time I first heard this song, I was for a moment puzzled as to why Black Sabbath suddenly got cued up. Yet despite the heavy riff, the production of this album is not like a metal one, and the song can no longer be confused with the metal legends. It's a powerful track musically and in some ways a good change at least as far as the singing goes. But in the end I feel something was missing to make it a successful hit with me.

"Germander Speedwell" is the longest track and it's the instrumental parts that save it as the vocal tracks again follow a similar stretched out and almost tiresome style. I don't think even Janis Joplin could have made these vocal lines work.

It's not until "The Weaver", a short acoustic folk piece, that at last Darby seems to have been able to capture her voice in the song. For that matter, it's only here where I first find myself really enjoying listening to the music. Prior to this, a lot if not most of it, sounds like a colour-by-numbers attempt to create a modern prog feeling but even though the bass and drums are working, they don't seem to manage anything inspiring. At times pretty good; at other times rather generic.

The final track is also a longer one, just over 12 minutes, and it's here at last that I feel the band found its inspiration. The music has energy and purposefulness. The band seem to know what they are doing and why at last and there's feeling in the playing. It's too bad that a couple of more songs on this album didn't have that energy.

I'm afraid that I can't get excited about this album. I've listened to it a few times and added songs to mixed playlists hoping to find something outstanding but I can't. I've read other reviews that say "One for Sorrow, Two for Joy" is a weaker album in TK's discography, so it seems I'm not the only one to feel something is lacking. It's not a huge disappointment but worthy only of a flat three stars and nothing more.

 The Clockwork Universe by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 151 ratings

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The Clockwork Universe
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Thieves' Kitchen, a trio of Phil Mercy, Amy Darby, and Thomas Johanson (ex-Anglagard), with adjunct members Anna Holmgren (Anglagard), Johan Brand (Anglagard) and Paul Mallyon (ex-Sanguine Hum), have created a collection of meticulously crafted and expertly performed songs in the vein of the most complex Canterbury scene and symphonic Yes demanding the highest degrees of difficulty from its musicians. Vocalist Amy Darby's stylings are similar to the palette-clearing effects of a superlative red wine--the backbone upon which each song rests, despite the fact that it is a "lead" instrument. She could be singing about chainsaw massacres but it would feel like walks on the soft floor of a pine forest to me.

1. "The Library Song" (6:47) is a jazzy exploration held strong and fast by Amy's solid vocal--which is oddly mirrored by the lead guitar. Great keyboard play from Thomas Johanson throughout but Paul Mallyon's drumming and Johan Brand's bass play are stellar! (9/10)

2. "Railway Time" (7:38) begins with quite a "smokey lounge" bluesy keyboard and guitar duet before evolving into a bass-anchored expose for Amy's most diverse and adventurous vocal of the album (less sustained notes, more scatting around the scales). Nice shift away from the blues foundation after the mid-song flute solo. The most accessible song I've ever heard from TK and my favorite melody of theirs. (10/10)

3. "Astrolabe" (3:17) is a slow duet that puts the wonderful sympathy of guitarist and founding band member Phil Mercy and pianist Thomas Johnson on full display. (9/10)

4. "Prodigy" (9:07) is full-scale prog song construction on display (a la 1970s YES) with the absolute highest caliber musicianship possible. Classic! (10/10)

5. "The Scientist's Wife" (19:58) An obvious attempt at the more sophisticated Canterbury sound, this is my least favorite song on the album--and it's still an 8 out of 10! The five-minute opening instrumental section is quite impressive for the excellent play of its interwoven parts--not unlike a KING CRIMSON "Discipline" display--but it then mysteriously disappears in order to give way to a soft acoustic guitar foundation behind Amy's storytelling. A pleasant enough section blessed with Amy's crystalline vocal warmth, but then, though the song builds layers around and with Amy's story line, the song never seems to take off and fly--and feels much the homogenous single movement of what is promised to be a Yes symphony. Impeccable performances on what feels like an under-developed song. A lot of unrealized potential. (8/10)

6. "Orrery" (4:41) is another slowed down, scaled down song of mostly gentle piano play, though Thomas's work is beautifully embellished by ethereal flutes, intermittent guitar and bass flourishes and Mellotron, no drums. On a par with Francesco Zago's EMPTY DAYS work of 2013. (9/10)

Stellar musicianship, remarkable sound engineering (instrumental clarity), and quite beautifully sophisticated compositions that impress and engage. Like Anglagard albums, this one has taken several listens for the songs to start to weave their way into my psyche, into my heart. So, I recommend that you give this one some time. If you do, you'll be very, very thankful. An incredibly well-polished masterpiece from a dedicated and deserving group of musicians. Definitely a Top 20 Album of 2015!

 The Clockwork Universe by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 151 ratings

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The Clockwork Universe
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by cirrusbay

5 stars Wow! Okay, I will try to limit my gushing here. All gushing does is tell people the reviewer really likes the album, which doesn't mean anyone else will. So I'll try to comment on specifics of the music and keep emotion out of it. Even though this album is really, really good. For the sake of references, musically, the 6th Thieves' Kitchen album reminds me a little of 'Hatfield & The North'. Much more so than previous releases. The composition, and even the sound of the keyboards remind me of Dave Stewart. The beautiful first track, 'The Library Song' opens with piano chords that call to mind the intro to 'Mumps', from 'The Rotters' Club'. The continual change of complex chords is pure ear candy to these ears, and when Amy Darby's voice arrives, it's like chocolate mousse. Amy has never sounded sweeter, with beautiful vibrato that holds notes over changing chords and superb melodies for her to sing her meaningful and compelling lyrics with obvious passion. When this track ended I was left with the impression that this was the finest piece of music in the entire TK catalogue. But it didn't stop there. 'Railway Time' continued this quality with a 'chorus', I'll call it, that echoed in my mind after the album was over, still giving me chills. Each track, in fact, is brilliantly crafted past the point of 98% of today's music, to a place where it becomes fine art. I would be amiss not to mention the album's opus, 'The Scientist's Wife'. The uber-tight instrumental climax to this 20-minute epic really has to be heard to fully appreciate. As usual, Thieves' Kitchen's musicianship is top-notch here. Phil Mercy's fluid crescendos, especially in the aforementioned climax display a rare talent that is undeniable. But again, where Phil and Thomas Johnson have really cranked things up a notch or three, is in the composition, making this, in this reviewers opinion, their strongest album to date without question. I remember when Dave Stewart wrote music like this.
 Argot by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.40 | 61 ratings

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Argot
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Immediately after the release of ''Head'' Thieve's Kitchen were about to compose new material for a second album.Midway through this decision though Paul Beecham was somewhat forced to quit due to family commitments.The band welcome new bassist Andy Bonham, who came up with the idea of providing some fretless bass lines into the sound.Recordings started in January 2001, Beecham was not totally absent, adding some woodwind lines into the material, and two months later ''Argot'' was set for release.As with the first album, this one was independently launched by the band.

A longer album but a reduced number of tracks meant that Thieve's Kitchen were quite ambitious to deliver epic compositions all the way through, none of the four cuts clocked at less than 13 minutes!The music is on par with the first album, basically an affair between Neo/Symphonic Prog and different echoes coming from Jazz and even Canterbury Fusion.They did this though by offering a strong amount of powerful keyboards, including synths, organ and Mellotron, often in duplicate deliveries, and some really serious guitar work by Mercy, which draws influences from both the classic Prog heroes (STEVE HOWE, STEVE HACKETT) and jazzier executors (ALAN HOLDSWORTH, TONY SPADA).The arrangements are trully complex and often chaotic with endless time signatures, tempo variations and a huge atmospheric variety, passing from Classic 70's Prog and Fusion to modern Neo Prog with comfort.They remind me a bit of MR. SIRIUS, although in a rather more complex approach, swirling around symphonic and light jazzy elements, but prooving to be fairly consistent throughout the whole album.First and last track are the best in my opinion, very good Sympho Prog with Fusion and Canterbury orientations and loads of vintage keyboards, the other two pieces are more into Neo/Symphonic Prog with some dreamy climates, but also captivating and demanding instrumental exercises.

File next to Germans ARGOS and compatriots THE TANGENT.Simon Boys' voice maybe leads to more Neo-styled paths, but the music is far more than this, featuring some tremendous jazzy torturing among the standard symphonic echoes.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 The Water Road by THIEVES' KITCHEN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.63 | 89 ratings

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The Water Road
Thieves' Kitchen Eclectic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I was actually quite surprise that finally Thieve's Kitchen has transformed their music into something truly a progressive rock music after I was quite disappointed with their previous album "argot" and I did not give high rating on it. This one is really different as the music, composition-wise, is quite mature even though it moves quite slow in tempo. But it does not matter at all as prog music not necessary a dynamic one or energetic. You might not be patient listening to for example the opening track The Long Fianchetto (21:01) as it has a slow movement at the start> But in my case I really love the piano solo at the beginning of the track which sends a strong message about the classical nuances of the music. But actually I was wrong thinking like this as when the guitar enters the scene it indicates me another style of music that is different with what I previously expected. I enjoy the guitar work, really. The female vocal by Amy Darby makes the song fulfills its role nicely throughout the long duration.

On thing unique about this album is that the fact that I am not aware how changes have happened from one track to another as the second and third track happen naturally as they are part of the already very long opening track. So basically in a total of 34 minutes I enjoy the flow of the music in its entirety without any intention to stop it at all.

I finally only realized that I reach track four Om Tare (7:44) as musically and energy-wise it's totally different from the previous three tracks. This one is really a killer as it moves in relatively fast tempo in the vein of Finneus Gauge music. You might put this fourth track as your best track as it has very strong in composition and it's dynamic and energetic and it has many tempo changes. You won't believe this one is featured in this album by Thieve's Kitchen. It then moves beautifully to the fifth track Tacenda for You (9:34) through nice female vocal and wonderful combined work of keyboard / mellotron and guitar with some flutework as well. Oh this is beautiful really!

As for lineup, I knew the man behind this band: Mark Robotham from his tenure in neo prog band called as Grey Lady Down, as well as Anglagard's Thomas Johnson who plays keyboards with mellotron-like sounds throughout the album.

To me this is an excellent prog music that blends nicely many elements like folks, symphonic prog as well as jazz-rock fusion. It's basically a blend of many kinds of music and overall it's really an excellent result. I highly recommend this prog album. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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