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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)

3.98 | 421 ratings
The Music That Died Alone
2003
3.75 | 310 ratings
The World That We Drive Through
2004
3.85 | 400 ratings
A Place in the Queue
2006
3.87 | 423 ratings
Not as Good as the Book
2008
3.72 | 312 ratings
Down and Out in Paris and London
2009
3.86 | 358 ratings
COMM
2011
4.00 | 405 ratings
Le Sacre du Travail
2013
3.84 | 324 ratings
A Spark in the Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
2015
3.97 | 346 ratings
The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery
2017
4.01 | 307 ratings
Proxy
2018
3.85 | 160 ratings
Auto Reconnaissance
2020
3.90 | 146 ratings
Songs from the Hard Shoulder
2022
0.00 | 0 ratings
To Follow Polaris (as The Tangent for One)
2024

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

4.06 | 45 ratings
Pyramids and Stars
2005
4.38 | 86 ratings
Going Off On One
2007
4.22 | 18 ratings
Hotel Cantaffordit (as TangeKanic (Tangent & Karmakanic))
2018
4.00 | 2 ratings
London or Paris, Berlin or Southend on Sea
2020
4.08 | 6 ratings
Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017
2023

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

4.19 | 57 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)

4.17 | 45 ratings
A Place On The Shelf
2009
4.18 | 39 ratings
L'Étagère du Travail
2013

THE TANGENT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Auto Reconnaissance by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.85 | 160 ratings

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Auto Reconnaissance
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I just recently found out that THE TANGENT are releasing a new album in 2024 and for the first time it's Andy Tillison all by himself, doing it all. The five piece lineup of Tillison, Travis, Machin, Reingold and Roberts stayed in place from 2018's "Proxy" and included this 2020 record as well as 2022's "Tales From The Hard Shoulder". A nice 3 album run and I am not surprised at the lineup change in 2024 just at how far reaching the shakedown has been. I'm already curious about the album to come after that one to see where Andy goes with the lineup.

"Auto Reconnaissance" was a complete surprise that I did not see coming in any way. First spin revealed a word heavy album with Tillison at his story-telling best, but I was on the fence until that third spin when I realized this one is special. I have never felt the emotion I experienced here ever on a THE TANGENT album or the power. Both of these are brief moments of time but it has been a long time since water has risen in my eyes like this while listening to my music. Specifically during the 28 1/2 minute "Lie Back & Think Of England".

In the liner notes Tillison mentions that this album was composed before the 2020 outbreak but recorded during it and mastered, mixed etc. during lockdown. This album has Andy's visit to New Jersey/ New York as the main theme to this record. And Andy should be really proud of what has has done here. Charming, fun, sentimental there is a lot of emotion on this one, the lyrics are so meaningful. The instrumental work is so impressive, a lot of lighter jazzy stuff but as I said earlier they can get heavy as well. This album has it all even some space rock stuff on the bonus track that had me quite excited the first time I heard it.

And while I'm raving about this one it's not perfect by any means but I get it, the lighter stuff like "Under Your Spell" a love song that I doubt Tillison would have used in the past, but he is sentimental here. "The Tower Of Babel" is too catchy but the lyrics are brilliant. A classic rant from Mr. Tillison this time about technology. The opener "Life On Hold" would be the third track that I consider Andy's warm blankets as it were, written while in lockdown. His happy places you could say. An energetic start to this record. The final tune with a lot of optimism is "The Midas Touch" the closer. "For all of us who lived through covid-19 and in memory of those who didn't" is the sub-title. Light and jazzy with synths. Upbeat with pleasant vocals. "Welcome back my winter sun" is a repeated line.

I don't usually mention bonus tracks and certainly don't even consider them with my final rating because they aren't part of the main album but this is a rare one that is incredible and truly a bonus to this meaningful album. I mentioned earlier there's a space rock groove here that is awesome. A spacey soundscape to start until around 4 minutes in when it turns more powerful. It settles back around 8 minutes to spacey and jazzy motifs. A 12 1/2 minute ride. There are two epic tracks on here. The 16 minute "Jinxed In Jersey" that is like following Andy as he takes the long journey by foot to the Statue of Liberty and so on. The man can write a song. Jazzy with almost spoken words early. Lots of organ and Theo adding the wind instruments. It turns almost reverential when he visits the statue.

The "Lie Back & Think Of England" at close to a half hour in length introduces us once again to a character named Earnest who was first brought up on 2006's "A Place In The Queue" a WWII pilot fighting for freedom for England. This is what he fought for? Is kind of the idea here. Incredible emotion like I've never heard from Andy. The emotion and the power after 18 minutes is moving to say the least.

This is presently my fourth favourite album by this band after "The Music That Died Alone", "Down And Out In Paris And London" and "The Rust Of Forgotten Machinery", the fifth one is debatable between a few records right now. Peter Hammill would be proud of you Andy, the lyrics you write are right up there with your hero.

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 146 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. I've been spending some time of late with some of my favourite THE TANGENT albums and would rate the debut "The Music That Died Alone", "Down And Out In Paris And London" and "The Rust Of Forgotten Machinery" as my top three from this band. That Second one "The World That We Drive Through" is right up there as well.

This is studio album number 12 from 2022 and the only one they did created completely during the lockdown. I thought this might be a concept album in the line of "Brave" by the cover art and title but really that's just a part of it. Of the three tracks with lyrics two deal with the lockdown and "The Lady Tied To The Lamp Post" is the theme for the cover art and the centre piece at over 21 minutes.

This is a lyric heavy album and cynical as only Andy can be but it really is a somewhat depressing record. Even that bouncy, fun closer at less than 5 minutes "Wasted Soul" is negative with the lyrics, but it's the instrumental part of it that I really don't like at all. The highlight is the 17 minute instrumental "The GPS Vultures" with some surprising bluesy guitar at one point. I like this track. "The Changes" at over 17 minutes opens the album and dealing with the covid here. Personal stuff included which is cool.

This is one of the few THE TANGENT albums that I couldn't get into. It's also one of their higher rated albums by fans so there's that. Not my scene. So grateful for all the amazing music Andy and Jonas have brought us since 2003.

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 146 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Celebrating 20 years in the business, The Tangent returned in 2022 with their twelfth studio album, and although they historically suffered with line-up changes this one has been together for some time now so band leader/singer/keyboard player Andy Tillison is again joined by Jonas Reingold (bass), who also plays with the Steve Hackett Band, Luke Machin (guitar - Francis Dunnery's It Bites), Theo Travis (sax & flute - Soft Machine, Dave Gilmour, Robert Fripp) and Steve Roberts (drums - David Cross). Although the UK edition has an additional track, more of that later, the main album comprises four songs, of which three are 17-minute plus epics, all quite different from each other, while the last is 4-minute bouncy Motown-style track, "Wasted Soul".

For the most part there is no doubt this is an excellent album, but in some ways it seems strange that The Tangent started life with musicians from The Flower Kings as there are times I am reminded of them, and not necessarily in a good way. Although the songs have great structures and wonderful playing there are times when it feels as if they are searching for ideas. In opener "The Changes", which is about COVID times there is one instance where we get a line from "Eleanor Rigby", another when they start playing what sounded like the old advertising music one used to hear in cinemas, and another when the harmony vocals are all going "la la la". That probably makes it seem as if I did not enjoy the album, but that is not the case at all as there is a great deal going for it here with wonderful intricacy and melodic themes which come and go from a band who adamantly refuse to set themselves any boundaries. When it comes off, which it does for the most part, with "GPS Vultures" being a case in point (a 17 minute long Canterbury style instrumental) it is a masterpiece, but one wishes there had been a few instances when someone from outside had asked why they were going down a certain path.

Early editions and the vinyl version include a bonus track, a cover of UK's "In The Dead Of Night". I believe that UK have in many ways become one of the forgotten bands of the prog scene, which is nothing short of criminal as they were stunning, and I hope this extended and changed version gets newer proggers into their music. For all its faults this is still an incredibly solid album showing that even after two decades The Tangent continue to show many others what needs to be done. One for all progheads to enjoy.

 Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017 by TANGENT, THE album cover Live, 2023
4.08 | 6 ratings

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Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Apparently, Andy Tillison has dreamed of releasing a triple live album since he was a kid, and he has now achieved just that with this, which includes recordings from 2004-2017 and if you have the CDs (which contain two more tracks) then it lasts an astonishing 2:23. Included in its entirety is the 2004 'Pyramids And Stars' concert in Germany featuring the 'Roine Stolt" line-up of The Tangent playing its way through the majority of the debut 'Music That Died Alone' album along with (then) new material from their second album 'The World That We Drive Through', although Guy Manning is not involved for some reason. Added to that, there are tracks from the 'COMM' era line-up of the band at a concert in the UK - plus music recorded in the USA in 2017 by the band's current line-up. These originally appeared on the 'Southend On Sea' and 'Hotel Cantaffordit' fan releases respectively.

I first came across Andy more than 25 years ago when he was a young Hamill-infatuated progger with Parallel or 90 Degrees, and over the years I have followed his career with interest as he is a musician who always follows what he wants to do, and who he wants to do it with, and the result is always fascinating. With material from the first album all the way through the career up to this point, it is interesting to hear Andy is at the heart of everything, and that there are different line-ups involved does not really matter, as realistically it is all about him. If he wants to sing 'Lucky Man' and get the crowd singing along with him then that's fine, and if he wants to put in a snippet of 'Do It Again' in another song then that is fine as well. They can be sentimental, or they can blast in an almost neo prog manner on 'A Spark In The Aether', always with a multi-layered approach which is guaranteed to keep any progger smiling throughout.

Of course, there are epics, and the twin keyboard approach for the earlier material allows the band to do things the later line-ups cannot, and there is an exuberance throughout this which is hard to match. There is a spark here which does not always come through on studio recordings, and the result is music which is a wonderful introduction to one of our great prog bands/composers, as Andy continues to drive them on to create moments of real magic.

 The Music That Died Alone by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.98 | 421 ratings

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The Music That Died Alone
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Argentinfonico

3 stars How can this music be dead?

"The Music that Died Alone" is the recording debut of this ambitious "supergroup" project that combines members of The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Van der Graaf Generator and other groups. The line-up of this band changes almost every time they release a new album, but this one is a serious contender to be the strongest they've ever had, and the proof, of course, is this album.

The album's signature suite is the one that kicks it off. "In Darkest Dreams" is divided into 8 parts and starts with frenzy and with the energy charged to the max, already squandering it from the start. "Prelude - Time for You" has an 8/8 tempo that makes the most of its space and charges the listener's ear with electricity in a matter of seconds. Very dynamic and potent, at times similar to the powerful instrumental sections of Dream Theater's previous albums - great start! The eclectic character is more than presented right from the start, changing style and atmosphere every few moments. Since the prelude is all instrumental, the second part of this suite "Night Terrors" features Roine Stolt, consistent as always, singing already embedded in his nocturnal demons from disgrace and loss of direction, as if he is close to death or already inside it. All of this exaggerated by the inherent drama of the night's hours close to sleep and heightened loneliness. The song drops down a gear but is still very rhythmic and leaves no room for respite. The instrumentation shines second by second and there is really nothing to put down. There are albums that require a gigantic predisposition from the listener, and this is certainly one of them. The third section "The Midnight Watershed" is again instrumental and faithfully continues the idea and purpose of the album, but doesn't stand out as a particular section. "In Dark Dreams" does. It enters from a fretless bass with calmer, more melodic melodies, and introduces Andy Tillison on vocals. With a spectacular, deep, and leading saxophone, the lyrics seem to connect with those of the second section, but in a very special way: Andy Tillison represents a sort of counsellor/angel who speaks to the protagonist of the second section from understanding and wisdom, while an airy instrumentation reflects on the skies of the auditory world the listener lives and flies over. "The Half-Light Watershed" is the fifth section, an instrumental that continues the end of the fourth section without a jolt. The sixth brick of this suite is entitled "On Returning (0:50)" and brings the third vocalist into the ring: Guy Manning (but very briefly as it only consists of one verse and lasts no longer than a minute). "A Sax in the Dark" is the seventh part and I don't think I need to explain what this sounds like. Just let yourself be guided by the visual image that the section title wants to create. The eighth and final section entitled "Night Terrors Reprise" brings Roine back, with his character of impaired vision at night and unbearable nightmares from which he tries to draw some strength. A wonderful (in the grand sense of the word) and fanciful suite, despite the darkness of the lyrics.

The second song is called "The Canterbury Sequence" and consists of 3 parts. The first, "Cantermemorabilia", begins with a keyboard riff that seems to be taken from a Gentle Giant song. This resemblance fades as soon as the other instruments enter. It sounds like light jazz, but it's weird, because at times it sounds like an Emerson, Lake & Palmer song. Andy's voice on this song is a perfect mix between Lake's and Sinclair's (Caravan). This album has serious influences from many great bands: Yes, TFK, Hatfield... A very particular section that works perfectly as a particular song, very volatile and creative! You can question some things about this album, but there is one thing you can't: the fluidity of its course. It glides as if oiled by some magical and unknown elixir. The second section "Chaos at the Greasy Spoon" is instrumental and flows over an equally jazzy and light 13/8. Great cover evolved from the very short song originally released by Hatfield. It's almost miraculous how successful the mix of styles is on this album. There is more than composition and theory here.... The melodies were given birth through a very particular and very musical inspiration. "Captain Manning's Mandolin" is the last section, and it is short and "cinematic". As if to relax a little after the concentration used in all the previous sections.

The third song is entitled "Up-Hill From Here" and is the only song on the album that is not divided into parts. Completely different from what you hear before. This album simply leaves no moment without surprises. The energy that inhabits this song (which for me is the lowest level) is similar to that of the first sections of side 1. It sounds like a jam where the solos seem to be improvised. It's another "rocking" piece, I just don't find the same essence as the others, and it seems to be a bit of a filler. I'm not saying it's bad! The truth is that the rest of the album sets the bar too high. It is also the least progressive song on the album.

The closing is provided by the 4-part suite named after the album: "The Music That Died Alone". The leap in quality is remarkable! The first part "A Serenade" is simply piano shimmering alongside ethereal arrangements. Again some jazz combined with symphonic rock. Andy again takes on the power of poetry in the second section "Playing On...", with lovely melodies. The character speaks as if he has little time left to die (or retire from his plane), remembering the good times and criticising the enormous amount of time human beings waste in life. "Pre-history" is a rather simple, funky instrumental section that closes the album. It's great to connect the composition with the sense of the end. Difficult to grasp as well. Sam Baine does a superb job here and throughout the album. The last section "Reprise" brings some scat singing from Andy and a repeat of lyrics from "Playing On...", as the name suggests. This works well as a closing to an imaginary and intense album. The instruments seem to say goodbye, giving the last of their strength and fading into an empyrean setting.

This album is a must for fans of eclectic progressive. Lots of interesting novelties. It falls short of being essential, but it is still spectacular and worthy of many listens and much enjoyment. Undoubtedly one of the greatest triumphs in each member's career!

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 146 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by BBKron

3 stars The Tangent are a jazz-oriented progressive rock band, started in 2002, with an ever-changing roster of players surrounding the consistent presence and guiding force of songwriter-keyboardist -vocalist Andy Tillson. This is the band's 12th album, and contains 3 long-form tracks (17-20 min each) and final short track, each in an entirely different style. The opener, The Changes, deals with life during the pandemic lockdown, and is a fine example of The Tangent's multi-part compositional structure, a very nice track. The next track, GPS Vultures, is a jazz fusion instrumental jam that highlights the jazz instrumental prowess of the band, and is for me, the best track on the album. That is followed by the longest track (at over 20 minutes), The Lady Tied to a Lamp Post, which was the weak spot of the album, as it is repetitive and not musically or lyrically satisfying, and just drags on, bringing down the album. It deals with the homeless, is quite preachy, but doesn't provide much in the way of insight or inspiration. It could have worked as a much shorter song, but at 20 minutes it just becomes annoying. The album closes with a brief soul, R& B number, which is quite different and refreshing after the bummer that precedes it. There is also a bonus track that is available on some versions, a cover and extended version of U.K.'s classic 'In The Dead of Night', which is quite wonderful, as it expands upon and adds some new dimensions and directions to this already great track. If they would have cut down the length of 'Lady' to a reasonable and justifiable length (6-8 minutes) and included the bonus track on the actual album, this would have been a really great album. As it is presented, it is still very good, certainly worth checking out, just be forewarned about that one unworthy track. Best tracks: GPS Vultures, In the Dead of Night. Weak track: The Lady Tied To a Lamp Post. rating: 3.5
 Proxy by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.01 | 307 ratings

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Proxy
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I have been doing a lot of reminiscing today thinking about Tillison's first band PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES and how much I enjoyed them back in the day. "Proxy" is the 10th studio album released by THE TANGENT and Andy's sound has evolved from that VDGG/ Peter Hammill style on PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES to more of a jazzy/ Canterbury vibe with THE TANGENT but one thing that hasn't changed is Tillison's incredible song writing. Yes even his vocal style was influenced by Hammill in a big way, more so in the early days. Heck they even got Hugh Banton of VDGG to guest on organ on their debut in 1996. But the lyrics continue to be very relevant and the man is one of us, a fan, and he's not afraid to sing about the things we all can relate to. I still remember his story about meeting Roger Waters on a plane and having a very interesting conversation with him and he actually thanked him in the liner notes of "Unbranded" for "The shoe factory in Tawain".

That relevancy certainly continues on 2018's "Proxy" another outstanding release by this five piece band. Andy writes in the liner notes "This record is for my dad". He also says "This was our 10th album made in the 25th year of our record label's history. We thank them as one, for belief, trust and dedication and wish them well for the future". There's a lot of rants on here, and I think Andy has earned the right to this and I can relate to most of them. "Proxy" and "The Adult Lie" are both over 16 minutes and they certainly scratch that Prog itch in a big way. The closer "Supper's Off" contains three more rants along with some very thoughtful lyrics. There's one instrumental "The Melting Andalusian Skies" where Theo Travis adds some nice sax.

This album is more about the keyboards and bass than guitar and drums and I always appreciate the jazzy elements of this band's music. This is more fun than "The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery" but not as good in my opinion. I need to check out their two 2020's albums as well. This was a pleasure to spend time with this past week, like revisiting an old friend. The collaborators here voted this as the 6th best album of 2018, a lot of respect obviously.

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 146 ratings

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Songs from the Hard Shoulder
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Another massive album of millions of musical ideas, many borrowed, many from the workaday life of Andy Tillison and his merry little band of merry virtuosos, all smashed together this way and that (and sometimes other ways) into five songs.

1. "The Changes (17:06) after a rather moving reflective opening couple of verses, we get to Andy's view of life on the road. It sounds very nostalgic, though not as much fun since COVID-19 for these career musicians. The hooks are good, especially in the first five minutes, but then they become too fleeting: as if the band finds them but then gives them up for the next greatest idea. The musicianship is above excellent, but oft-times (as usual in Tangent work), it seems so for questionable reasons (I mean: does every musician always have to be performing at their top speed and with their most flashy stylings?) (30.75/35)

2. "The GPS Vultures" (17:01) Latin grooves to support a prog-jazz blend (aka: Jonas is busy!). Again, do these musicians, excellent each and everyone, really have to be soloing, showing off their flashiest chops, at every moment of these epic songs? Can't repeating motifs be established to allow the listener something to anchor one's self in? As usual, Andy (& Co.) flirt with imitation/borrowing other well known classic riffs, sounds, and themes to build upon, only oft-times they're too close for comfort--too much like the original. Then, how do you explain passages like the sixth and seventh minutes when it "appears" as if the band has broken down--where nothing flows, gels, or works. I suppose that's part of the "genius" of virtuosi: they can make any structure work ? even chaos. Then they can fall into holes of such sappy styles like the blues-rock-by numbers passage in the tenth and eleventh minute, or the acoustic John McLaughlin jazz passage in the fourteenth. Again, the execution and performances are top notch (amphetamines included) just, kind of, over the top. And it's all instrumental! (30.25/35)

3. "The Lady Tied to the Lamp Post" (20:52) a very nice, melodic and emotional opening leads to a lot of choatic noodling. As much as the heart-string-pulling music and lyrics seem to come from Mark Johnson's THE THE sound and chordal palettes, this start is, for me, the most engaging and enjoyable part of the album. Unfortunately, in the second quarter of the song the composition strays from melodic niceties until the soft instrumental passage in the tenth minute. This is then broken up by an abrasive screaming saw-synth solo in the eleventh (which does get better over time, with repetition). A stripped down jazz-rock section is then peppered with space synth and spacey electric guitar bent-note play. Good section as delicate piano and hard snare hits move the song forward into more delicate, airy music over which Andy sings quite sensitively. At 14:10 we're back to full force and more of Andy's narrative singing of current events in his surroundings. (35.5/40)

4. "Wasted Soul" (4:40) a kind of Neo-R&B pop songs à la The Style Council or The Blow Monkeys with plenty of hits from the banks of computer horns. The chord progressions and melody line kind of follows the Keith Jagger David Bowie collaboration for the remake of "Dancing in the Streets." It seems as if old age is hitting Andy hard. (8/10)

5." In the Dead of Night / Tangential Aura / Reprise" (16:11) * (a cover of the classic UK song from 1978 plus the Andy Tillison touch.) (I can see that some of these musicians might have tried making a living covering songs like this in their younger days.) I like the "Tangential Aura" jam all right (except for the drum machine sound of Steve's programmed drums). Then, in the Reprise, Luke has his best (most Allan Holdsworth-like) runs. (26.25/30)

Total Time 75:50

* bonus track on limited edition (U.K. cover)

B/four stars; an album of excellent musicianship with a busyness that is sometimes off-putting. At the same time, there is no denying the infectious charm of Mr. Andy Tillison's world perspective as well as my respect for his very sincere passion for music (and high standard of musicianship).

 Songs from the Hard Shoulder by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 146 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
3.90 | 146 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.

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

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