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THE TANGENT

Eclectic Prog • Multi-National


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The Tangent biography
Formed in 2002 in Northern England, UK

THE TANGENT is a project originally formed by Andy Tillison, Guy Manning and Sam Baine of PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES [Po90] as well as half of THE FLOWER KINGS including Jonas Reingold, Zoltan Csorsz and guitar virtuoso and former KAIPA member Roine Stolt. Of course to put further icing on the cake David Jackson of VAN DER GRAFF GENERATOR would lend his legendary sax to the band for their debut album. This started out as a mere project and was actually intended to be a Tillison solo effort before it became a full fledged band as Tillison felt the need to produce something more typically 'prog' than he'd been doing in Po90. Of course it has to be noted that this really is Andy Tillison's affair since over the years the entire roster (spare Tillison and Manning) has been changed due to many different circumstances, which has really not affected the supergroup as many would expect. Often asked about his changing line up, Tillison responds by saying that it's all part of a prog band's life and fans of the genre know all about line-up changes by now. THE TANGENT is quite a dynamic band in terms of line up even now as they recruit several members of BEARDFISH onto their team, having been impressed by them on the "Not As Good As The Book" tour. This does make for a very dynamic sound which leaves the band with a fresh angle for each album. Often touted as a 'retro' band thanks to their old school sound, the band does have a very 'classic' prog feel to them with Tillison's prominent synths. THE TANGENT has often been compared to YES and KING CRIMSON in style because of the mixture of Light and Dark with Stolt and Tillison (respectively) at the helm of the project. Highly melodic and very inclined to write sprawling epics THE TANGENT should satisfy the tastes of any prog listener who wants to go back to the roots of the genre while maintaining a contemporary message and feel.

Their music is often cynical as Tillison has often been seen as 'the dark horse' of the modern progressive scene, his lyrics often poking fun at modern music and tendencies as shown in every one of their albums, but especially "The Music That Died Alone" and their newest effort to date, "Not As Good As The Book", which is a largely sarcastic and cynical look at the world that turned out to be not as good as we thought it would be. heir second effort, "The World That We Drive Through" continued t...
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THE TANGENT discography


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

3.99 | 402 ratings
The Music That Died Alone
2003
3.75 | 297 ratings
The World That We Drive Through
2004
3.85 | 387 ratings
A Place In The Queue
2006
3.87 | 411 ratings
Not as Good as the Book
2008
3.73 | 302 ratings
Down And Out In Paris And London
2009
3.86 | 350 ratings
COMM
2011
4.00 | 394 ratings
Le Sacre du Travail
2013
3.84 | 315 ratings
A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
2015
3.97 | 334 ratings
The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
2017
4.01 | 291 ratings
Proxy
2018
3.83 | 143 ratings
Auto Reconnaissance
2020
3.99 | 92 ratings
Songs from the Hard Shoulder
2022

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

4.05 | 44 ratings
Pyramids and Stars
2005
4.39 | 84 ratings
Going Off On One
2007
4.29 | 17 ratings
Hotel Cantaffordit (as TangeKanic (Tangent & Karmakanic))
2018
4.00 | 2 ratings
London or Paris, Berlin or Southend on Sea
2020

THE TANGENT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.18 | 56 ratings
Going Off On One
2007
4.71 | 47 ratings
Going Off on Two
2011

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

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

4.19 | 44 ratings
A Place On The Shelf
2009
4.21 | 38 ratings
L'Étagère du Travail
2013

THE TANGENT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.99 | 92 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 2022 sees The Tangent release their twelfth studio album, the really nice 'Songs From the Hard Shoulder' - this one consists of four new songs and a very interesting bonus track, all making up a total of 75 minutes worth of music, filled up with the usual Tangential goodness - a lot of jazzy pieces, shifting moods, menacing synths, and a Canterbury/Van der Graaf Generator-ish nod, all intertwined within Andy Tillison's quite recognizable musical vocabulary. Following up the not so impressive 'Auto Reconnaissance', this album is a definite improvement; However, something is missing and I do believe it is the bombastic lush side of the band's music that one can appreciate on the debut or on 'A Place In The Queue', or maybe it is the focus displayed on 'Proxy' not being too prevalent here, could also be the exuberant excellence of something like 'Le Sacre du Travail', but whatever it is, there is this overarching feeling of incompleteness.

Opening up the album is the 17-minute 'The Changes', a pretty good song for The Tangent's standards, but up until the middle; After that, it gets a little washed. Fine riffs and pleasing jazzy playing are all over this one, but it becomes quite forgettable at a certain moment, making a little too challenging to go though the whole thing. Next up is the 17-minute instrumental fusion-y explosion of 'GPS Vultures', perhaps the best track on the album, which also holds up pretty well for what it is, it also keeps the listener engaged as it is harder to predict where the band will go next. The big 20-minute epic 'The Lady Tied to the Lamp Post' is slightly disappointing, despite the fact that the playing on this one is mostly very minimalistic and intelligent, it suffers from the same problem mentioned for track one - it becomes repetitive and directionless after the first quarter. 'Waster Soul' is too strange to be deemed exquisite, not a big fan of this song. The bonus track is an interesting cover of 'In the Dead of Night' by U.K. mixed up with one of Andy Tillison's electronic pieces, which are scattered all over The Tangent discography, as we know. A good album but not one that betters, for example, the fantastic 'Proxy'. The band get a little too distracted at times and go playing in no-man's land, which ultimately leads to several disposable instrumental moments, at least to my taste.

Nevertheless, when good, 'Songs From the Hard Shoulder' is really good! Its pessimistic tone, however, is not what some of us necessarily need to absorb all the time, and this is way too 'in-your-face' on tracks one and three.

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.99 | 92 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by bartymj

5 stars Could easily end up being my album of the year this. And I'll start by saying that somehow, this is the first work from The Tangent / Andy Tillison I've actually listened to. Somehow.

At first I thought lyrically things were a bit too simplistic and mundane. But the longer you listen, the more it resonates. Songs from the Hard Shoulder is one of many recent albums that shines a light on life in the modern world, but it is different in that it does so by putting a positive spin on life during Covid (The Changes), and the feelings of alienation and exclusion (The Lady Tied to the Lamp Post). Neither sound too preachy, a common flaw of today's prog music, mainly due to the fact that Tillison regularly turns the spotlight on himself and his own mistakes. With the latter track, you can build up a strong mental image of what's going on, as the lyrics are very descriptive and "cinematic", but not so blunt that they just seem like a story put to music - still plenty of room for abstract and metaphor. Its the more sombre of the tracks, but as it is highly relatable and spins the story into one with a 'lesson' rather than just being miserable. In between those two lengthy tracks is another, The GPS Vultures, mainly instrumental and taking you on a journey through a fantastic blend of prog sub-genres, which are mixed together in some surprising and brilliant ways.

Highly recommend.

 Proxy by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.01 | 291 ratings

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Proxy
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars I have talked about The Tangent before, so I don't need to give them an introduction at this point. This album is their follow-up to 2017, highly political and poetic, The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery. Up until that point, this band has been relatively playing it a bit safe with their Prog convictions, sometimes dipping their toes in other styles, but mostly stayed true to a more symphonic and jazzy style of prog rock. However, with Slow Rust, we got some experimentation with the lyricism. It was extremely politically charged, and where other albums have dived into politics, they had more talking points included, only using politics for their bigger epics. This lyrical experimentation led the band to a new understanding of what they wanted to create, and in this album, we have experimentation in sound and style.

This is probably their most jazzy album yet. Proxy, the titular first track on the album, is dripping with jazz influence on it. I am getting flavors of Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and even a tiny bit of Herbie Hancock, mixed with the band's retro Prog nature. You know they have that really fun experimental jazz to them on this song. It switches up a lot going from a more fusion sound to a funk jazz sound to stuff that is a little more soulful. I gotta say I love how things feel very fresh on this record. Past albums have been good, but everything felt sort of similar, but here we get stuff that shows off the band's progressive nature. I also really think that this being a 16-minute track allows the band to try new things, and where most bands might get lost and confused with no direction, here we can see that these boys have a knack for finding the style they want to find, most likely because they are all pretty substantial Prog musicians who've been in bands before. Overall this is great.

This whole new direction continues in The Melting Andalusian Skies. So where the last song had that sort of experimentation in their style, here we can see them taking some influence off of more well-known Prog bands such as Yes or King Crimson. This has a very Relayeresque sound to it, with a lot of more improv and classically focused music, but in a more tightly knit and stylized sound. I do think, however, that while this song is good, it is pretty weak all things considered. I do not find the whole style they have here to be all that original, and retro Prog isn't that original, to begin with, but here I feel like they are sort of ripping off bands from the past more than just taking influence from them. It's rather lukewarm in that regard. I cannot say it is a bad song, but whenever I hear it, I sort of just want to listen to Yes instead.

However, things do get better with A Case of Misplaced Optimism. This song is funky. Like really funky. It has that smooth foot-tapping beat with a nice bass line, and a cool piano in the back leading the song forward. It's very fun, and honestly, I do think The Tangent benefits heavily from jazz Prog more than they do with symphonic Prog. They can make great suites with very beautiful endings, but they feel very safe in terms of Prog standards. Here, we are getting styles of funk, jazz, R&B, and many more polyrhythmic music genres. This song is great, it just helps the band move forward in this journey of finding interesting ways of continuing their Prog sound.

The last track on the album, minus the two bonus tracks Supper's Off and Excerpt From Exo Oceans, The Adulthood Lie is the band's peak in their stylistic journey. This is them diving deep into not just jazz but a boatload of different types of mediums. I can hear distinct sounds of space rock, metal, experimental music, heck I think, with the drums and the melody played on the synths, I can even hear a little bit of inspiration from video game soundtracks. It feels like a track you'd hear from like a Sonic game, but obviously with a proggy flair. Honestly, I think this combination of styles works. This album feels like a journey through finding a new clear style, and their pinnacle being their last track, one filled with plenty of variations of music, really helps. You know I think The Tangent works best without the need of retreading old ground and judging from the albums afterward, Auto Reconnaissance and Songs From The Hard Shoulder, we got just that in terms of sound, quality, and styles.

I do think this album is great, not a masterpiece, but it's one that I highly encourage you to check out. I suggest that if you might not liked their previous efforts then this album is worth a try since it holds some of the most experimental, and deeply enriched music they have created so far. This is a very great record and one that I do appreciate in the long run.

 Down And Out In Paris And London by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.73 | 302 ratings

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Down And Out In Paris And London
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

3 stars Retro Progressive Rock is one of my favorite modern Prog staples. As someone who was born and lived in a modern age, I love my fair share of old music like Yes and Pink Floyd, but nothing hits me as well as that very same type of music revolutionized into a modern time period. It's still the same fun and whimsical sounding stuff you'd hear in the 70s, but definitely in a modern climate. It is apparent that there will be bands however that have a sort of a mixed discography, whether it be from newer or older fans of Progressive rock. One such band is The Tangent.

The Tangent is a fairly eclectic band that is very much inspired by some of the greats like Yes, Van Der Graaf Generator, and King Crimson, but they also have a pretty divisive album catalog. I have reviewed an album by them before, heck Songs From The Hard Shoulder was my very first album I heard from this band, so of course with an album I really liked I obviously had to check more of their stuff out. To me surprise their work is very interesting with some very technical and fun stuff mixed with some politics and worldviews that give me a sort of Pink Floyd like vibe to the songs with how their structured and how they are less about a rise and a climax and more about making longer songs to fully develop what they want their listeners to hear. So for no reason other than the fact I feel like it, I am reviewing another album by The Tangent, or EP as the band likes to call it even though it's 57 minutes so calling it an EP is kinda weird, but ok. Sure why not go ham.

The album begins with the 19 minute long track, Where Are They Now? This track definitely holds its own in terms of its stylization and progression. It has a layer of fun and free form jazz with a very good heaping of some expertly crafted technical skill. Things flow seamlessly from one point to the other so that everything feels smooth like butter. However with that being said, this is probably one of their weaker long songs since it never really screams out about anything of note, besides maybe gambling in the modern age, it comes off a little weak on the lyrics side of things, and the whole song never really made me want to hear it again, and again, and again like so many other epics have done for me. It is a perfectly fine song, but not one I'd go back on anytime soon.

Next up is Paroxetine 20mg, and this song takes a different approach into a more early Neo Prog-esque sound with a good deal of synths and a number of moments that make me feel as if I am going back in time to a period where the general senses thought Progressive Rock was dead. Added onto this change of sound is a good use of the band's signature sax playing skills, which was provided by Theo Travis of Soft Machine. This has such a joyful jazz fusion aspect to it that it makes for a unique and unparalleled sound. It also has some much better lyricism that is different from the last song since it doesn't feel like a totally nothing experience, but rather something a little more interesting about how much the modern day and age relies to heavily on traffic and how boring a traffic jam can be, showcasing a clear disdain for a more machinery driven world, which I find rather interesting. Overall a great song.

Next up is Perdu Dan Paris. If I had to give this song a descriptor, I'd probably say it is 'slow'. Now I am not saying it is slow in a bad sense, it is just that it takes its time before really revving its gears. It allows the song to really develop, to really showcase its softer, ballad-like approach rather than something like a fun jazz rock song like the previous tunes were. But while the instrumentation gets to develop, the lyricism feels a bit too'boomer like. The boomer mindset is sort of a problem in most music communities, and this goes for all ages. People sometimes really think that the old times were much better and that they wish to go back to the 'good old days' or that they are 'born in the wrong generation' and I think this song's lyrics represent that perfectly because it's basically saying that the old Paris was better than the one in the modern day, even though I bet you like 5 bucks that is not true. It's a little pretentious and a bit blinded by nostalgia. I am not saying you cannot look on the past fondly, but I rather look towards the future than be stuck in the past. Good song instrumentally, not so great lyrically.

That tangent (Heh) aside, we come into the next track on the album, The Company Car. This is like the last song where it starts off pretty slow but where it allows itself to really breathe and stretch, but to less of a ballad approach and more of a usual Prog rock song with some good old synths and keyboard playing. Like the last song though, it still has that same stuck in the past mentality, this time about phones instead of the past of a city. I already went off on how I dislike this. Again, a good song instrumentally, but not so good lyrically.

And lastly, The Canterbury Sequence Volume 2: Ethanol That Nail. As the name suggests, this is basically a tribute to Canterbury Scene bands. I hear a lot of Soft Machine and Caravan with that fusion-like playing mixed with some nicely done improvinization to really make this track shine a ton. It still retains the roots of The Tangent's sound, but does so in a way that it kinda crosses the feelings I have for the Canterbury Scene and The Tangent's music, which in this case is nothing but positivity, aside from a few hiccups. This is definitely a good closing for this album, even if it's a instrumental track, which I think from what I said about the lyrics to these songs, I'd definitely would probably prefer this over something with rather poor lyricism in my honest opinion.

This album is fairly good yet I do feel as though there is a huge unbalancing act with the song writing and the instrumentation that this album has. Only one song really interested me lyrically and the other I found no problems with was an instrumental track. This album has a lot of fun and interesting moments, but it is bogged down by half- assed and old man sounding lyricism. I recommend checking this out but check out other Tangent albums first so you can at least get a better grasp on what the album has going for it.

 The Music That Died Alone by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.99 | 402 ratings

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The Music That Died Alone
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Mark-P

4 stars I am a fan of Flower Kings, and particularly Roine Stolt's works. I discovered The Tangent only recently ? say past three years and they have been becoming one of my favourite bands in present progressive music ? even after Stolt left the band.

This first album consists of three suites and a track. The first suite 'In Darkest Dreams' is opened by a fast-paced notable grand prelude, very dynamic with a lot of heavy riffs and complex drum works. The saxophone sound blends beautifully with the keyboard and drums, and almost sound like early King Crimson. 'The Midnight Watershed' has very nice guitar and bass duet with mood is switched abruptly to a bit jazzy when the piano solo enters. The inclusion of jazz element in The Tangent's music is one of main reasons of my liking to this band. This 20-minute suite is in my opinion the main (and best) part of the album.

The second suite : "The Canterbury Sequence" has even stronger jazz feel, mainly from the rhythm and David Jackson's flute. The second part 'Chaos at the Greasy Spoon' is almost a jazz track with great keyboard improvisation. I personally do not feel much of Canterbury Scene flavour as I expected from the title, except in the intro of 'Cantermemorabilia'.

The title suite 'The Music That Died Alone' is a bit of anti-climax (or perhaps it is intentional) with most of the tracks in slower pace. Anyway the middle part 'Playing On' and 'Pre-History' are quite uplifting with great guitar (with Stolt's signature sound) and sax fills.

'Up Hill from Here' is a track secluded from the suites, with more rock feel. Great guitar riffs and solo, but less progressive element.

This first album with original line up is a very good album. The blending of jazz element into progressive music, the rich timbre from the use of flute and sax, changes in mood and time signatures and well composed suites are wonderful outcomes from this group of well known musicians in prog scene. A truly unique kind of progressive music.

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.99 | 92 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by CeeJayGee

5 stars Over the decades that I have been listening to prog rock I have come across many albums that are so good that I regularly return to them and play them from beginning to end. The Tangent are unique in that almost their entire body of work is of such quality that I never tire of listening to their albums in their entirety. The music has such complexity and variety in structure that I return repeatedly for the experience. And Songs From The Hard Shoulder has delivered in exactly the same way. It is already, by a long way, my most listened to album of 2022 and I think it unlikely that there will be a better release this year.

Assuming that Songs From The Hard Shoulder will be my album of the year, then this will be their fourth in a row. Two others came a close second, Comm in 2011, and Le Sacre Du Travail in 2013, both pipped by exceptional Steven Wilson albums in those years. Remarkable consistency.

The mystery for me is that too few others feel the same way. I have read others complaining about mundane and politically charged lyrics. Others make observations about Andy Tillison's vocals. For me, the music speaks for itself. What is the point in finding something trivial to criticise and thereby missing the experience of appreciating the quality of the music and the musicianship?

The melodies and the lyrics mean everything to Andy and no one can deliver the words as emotionally and powerfully as Andy. The way that he delivers the words may initially appear unusual but it is all part of the uniqueness of The Tangent. Andy's music is inspired by what is going on around him. As an example, you have only got to listen to The First Day Of School on the Special Edition release of A Place In The Queue to appreciate the exquisite music that was inspired by the tragic events of the Beslan School Siege.

Songs From The Hard Shoulder is the twelfth studio release by the band. Four of the five tracks (which included the bonus track) are over 15 minutes with the fifth track a short but fun foot tapper. The bonus track is a cover of U. K.'s In The Dead Of Night, brilliantly performed and developed over sixteen minutes rather than the original five or six minutes.

The musicianship on the album is exceptional. I particularly enjoyed Luke Machin's excellent guitar solos. I am certain that I shall keep returning to listen to this album from beginning to end in the same way that I do for all The Tangent's studio albums. For that reason, I have to give the album a five-star rating.

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.99 | 92 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Soul2Create

4 stars I am really starting to think that I just can't go wrong with The Tangent. Each and every album has something memorable to keep. This time, three mostly instrumental long suites that showcase how easy is for these guys to fuse Canterbury, rock (even metal), latin, oriental and electronic elements and yet sound coherent, interesting and catchy. I am so happy of having discovered them years ago.

1. The changes - Groovy, jazzy, soft yet powerful. Love the guitar work throughout. a great way of starting the album - 8.75/10.

2. The GPS vultures - Reminds me of Soft Machine with latin rythms and a bit of Oldfield's Incantations. The bass lines are amazing. Some free jazz in the middle kind of drives me out of the song, but soon this latin canterburian groove returns mixed with oriental tunes and even a flamenco interlude. Very good - 9/10.

3. The lady tied to the lamp post - The whole song is a crecendo, starting very subtle and gaining energy, emotion and variation until reaching an impressive peak of creativity at 10.01, my favourite moment on the album. The ending is pure bliss too!. My favourite song here - 9.5/10.

4. Wasted soul - Sadly, this track does not do it for me. Sounds too much like a broadway musical extract - 4.75

5. In the Dead of Night / Tangential Aura / Reprise - A great version of the UK song with some extra experimentation, A bit overlong in some parts though - 6.5/10

Four stars. Highly recommended.

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.99 | 92 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars I have been looking forward to this album for a long while. I haven't heard any songs by The Tangent, but I was excited to get into them through this album when I heard of its release date this year. I heard a ton of good things about the band and I was very interested to check them out, so I am pretty stoked to hear what they sound like with this new release.

The album begins with a 17 minute epic called The Changes. When I first heard this song I was really interested in the sound. It was unique to my ears honestly cause I couldn't really pinpoint what exactly made it sound very much like other Prog bands I have listened to but with something different. I do not think it is jazz, but it is definitely something of the same vein. I'll go out on a limb and say that the song uses the swing genre as somewhat of a basis of sorts. The sound is very nicely done, super rhythmic, super enjoyable, and dare I say danceable in some way? I don't know, I just feel like I kinda wanna boogie you know? Looking at it critically it definitely does leave a bit of a weaker impression on me rather due to the fact the song, while changing a lot, definitely doesn't use a sort of suite like song structure and more like a long continuous part with some spiciness sprinkled in for good measure every couple minutes. It's different, and I like that, but it can do a little more woodwork though. Although I think this song has a great payoff with a guitar solo near the end playing the main motif of the song, which is a really neat and interesting way of closing out an epic, with less of a grand spanking epic finale, and more of a awesome little number to tie the song with a neat bow. I also gotta talk about the lyrics cause they are pretty interesting. The vocals are clear as day, and pretty understandable too, which is a plus. The lyrics are about our future and how we can go further from the hardships that came about with 2020 and 2021, plus the changes the band has had since then. Honestly I think this is the song we kinda need at the moment, to show that we can still create a future for ourselves if we just buckle up and move forward and try to not give the world to such bad people next time. It is hopeful without being too grand about it, which I think definitely gives this song some extra value.

Next up is another 17 minute epic, an instrumental piece called The GPS Vultures. I'd say if you like Wobbler, Moon Safari, Flower Kings, Echolyn, or any sorta modern Prog band that takes influence on 70s Prog bands then imagine if they all played together in a room to come up with a piece. This is that song, sorta in a nutshell but I am not downplaying the song, in fact I really enjoy this sorta style. How the band can really create something structurally sound with very nice flowing is just super nice to the ears, plus the use of the keyboards are just golden. Also that part at 11:47 is just ear candy. I love when guitars go wobbly and hard hitting that it just creates this trippy effect on the listener that it's just serotonin in musical form. Although I do find the ending weak, it definitely feels like it less wraps up and tries to create a destination worth the journey and more like a standard ending, a payoff of sorts. To me a long song, especially in this style, needs to have a strong finish that makes you love the whole experience. This, while there are definitely other qualities in the song that makes it great, does not have that, which I find rather disappointing.

Now we get into sort of the signature track on this album being The Lady Tied to the Lamp Post. Unlike the last two songs that felt like a single song that continuously played and added, here this feels more like a standard epic, still without any parts, but still a sort of flow to where you can see some kind of suite being formed in a way. The sound is sort of a mix between The Changes and The GPS Vulture. Very rhythmic and swinging while also being pretty symphonic and complex in nature. However I think this song delivers in a different department, and that is the lyrics. I already praised the lyrics from The Changes but I feel like here it is a lot more clear cut and expanded upon with its themes. The story is of a homeless woman from the UK who gets abandoned by society and ties herself with a bungee cord to a lamppost as a way to protest against her country's handling of the homeless. Obviously this song is a way to showcase that homelessness is a very huge problem in the UK and how the government treats the homeless too, said to play annoying music in stations, put bars on benches, and give people one way train tickets to try and deter homeless people away from sleeping and living in the not so Great Britain. Songs are definitely a good way to showcase a problem in the world in hopes to bring awareness, and if it worked with many other artists like John Lennon with a lot of his songs or Pink Floyd with basically the entirety of their Animals album, then I hope The Tangent gets the same recognition with this song.

Next up is the shortest song on the album, a four minute and a half song called Wasted Soul. I never expected the band to go from Prog to jazzy disco, but they surprisingly pull it off really well, like it's fun, danceable, and just a very enjoyable tune. The beat is swinging and very fluent, and those saxes and horns just go super well in tandem with the guitar. Overall this song, while poppy in nature, definitely has some great aspects to it that I say is probably my favorite song on the album due to how they seemed to master the disco genre perfectly. The lyrics are also nicely done, with the perspective of someone who is hopeful about what'll happen when Covid 19 restrictions stop. It is meant to be a hopeful piece, much like The Changes and looks at the good of humanity, especially after the rather sad song that was The Lady Tied to the Lamp Post. Not bad, not bad one bit.

And lastly, a bonus track on the album but it is practically a fifth track because they gotta have something for I am guessing a vinyl release, In the Dead of Night / Tangential Aura / Reprise. It is a 16 minute song that takes you on a journey through a ton of jammy instrumentals where the band plays their heart out. It is not completely instrumental though, it does have its fair share of lyrics as well, but they are pretty much a second thought to the instrumentation. Every little note, beat, strum of the guitar, the pressing of the keyboards, the doodles of the horns, it leaves a fulfilled feeling in the listener, knowing they went this far and are rewarded with one bonus song that wraps things nicely, though I do feel like the lyrics should've been more fleshed out and or changed to fit with the album's narrative on the world right now. Just something minor but definitely a bit noticeable especially after the songs before it.

This is a great album, like I am kinda surprised at how wonderfully done it is. Maybe with more time I might find this to be my favorite album of this year, but only time will tell. I love the themes, the instrumentation, and how it all flows, but it obviously has some weaker sore spots that make it a little bit wobbly if you look at it with a crystal clear magnifying glass. Other than that, it is definitely an album I say you should definitely check out.

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.99 | 92 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars When listening to The Tangent, I almost always get that strong Van Der Graaf Generator vibe, which is also irradiating from this album. And it's a good irradiation, if you don't mind people wearing their influences so openly on the sleeve.

The Changes, a 17 minutes plus epic, opens the proceedings with a minor key jazzy mood, great splashes of flute and then sax, and good vocals delivering the story of a gig that went bad for the band, turning more and more extravagant by the minute, also in the musical sense, with recurring choral arrangements (excellent, and of course, very VDGG inflected). Nearing the end, we get one of the sweetest treats in the album, which is a truly fantastic electric guitar solo with a very Holdsworth-type kind of flow linking the brilliant notes. This track, and The Lady Tied to the Lamp Post (with the best and more personal set of lyrics in the album) are the highlights for me, with the short track Wasted Soul (a weak attempt to emulate the "white soul" sound of the mid eighties, don't ask me why) being the lowest point.

Anyway, this only misstep cannot spoil the general brilliance of the music, specially when the two remaining tracks are pieces of real class: The GPS Vultures, an instrumental showcasing all the muscle and the subtlety in the band, and the bonus track In the Dead of Night / Tangential Aura / Reprise, which is, of course, a cover of the UK song, with their own aura interpolated. And if you guess that there may be another Holdsworthian surge here, you won't be wrong.

Excellent, but, why didn't they just drop the poppy track and make the bonus part of the regular album?

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.99 | 92 ratings

BUY
Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by emisan

4 stars The Tangent simply can not disappoint their fans. The newest album it is as good as you can expect, a step up over their 2020 " Auto Reconnaissance", in the line with their most recent albums like "The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery" or "Proxy", but maybe a little weaker than "The Music That Died Alone" "A Place In The Queue" or "Le Sacre du Travail". First three tracks are nearly perfect: a mixture of modern prog with some jazzy parts, "The GPS Vultures" being one of the best instrumental tracks in years. Its a shame that the last two song lowers the bar a little. Highly recommended and a great contender for the prog album of the 2022. THE MUSIC WILL NEVER DIE ALONE!

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

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