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Colin Tench Project - Hair In A G-String (Unfinished But Sweet) CD (album) cover


Colin Tench Project


Crossover Prog

4.06 | 260 ratings

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Symphonic Team
5 stars Ed Sheehan once said "I can't tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone" but that is not the case for Colin Tench Project (CTP). Rather than trying to please everyone the band take detours into a vast variety of musical styles and this culminates in an album with surprises around every corner on HAIR IN A G STRING (UNFINISHED BUT SWEET). There are Samba and Latin rhythms mixed with extended keyboard and lead breaks, sporadic passages of jumpy beats and dissonance merged in among beautiful pastoral ballads. One song might sound like The Beatles and then the next launches into a full blown progressive instrumental. This is the type of album that grows slowly on the listener. It's adorned in an attractive artistic cover and booklet illustrated by Sonia Mota always capturing life perfectly at the stroke of a brush.

The real highlights are found in the songs with lyrics so well sung by Peter Jones. However the instrumental tracks are musical ear candy especially the Hair in a G String segments. Tench is masterful on lead guitar making it soar and dive at every opportunity. He is joined by a plethora of musical geniuses each adding their own quirky intervention.

The album opens with a symphonic space suite sounding like Star Trek and as soon as we hear the chimes, a wonderful acoustic accompaniment vibrates into a romantic sonnet. The harp glissando signifies a new movement and the lead guitars layer across the soundscape. This is beauty in a musical format. The vocals implores us to throw off some clothes so we can begin. It sounds as theatrical as Peter Gabriel. Peter Jones has a sweet timber in his voice and it's magnified by the cacophony of sounds including a gorgeous sax sound. A great start to the album.

The next track proves that CTP are capable of radio friendly commercial excellence. They are not People pleasers: for such people take most criticism personally; and Feel an extraordinary fear of rejection. The lyrics of Can't See it any other Way speak of making decisions and not allowing one to surrender their lives to the opinions of others. I love that Beatles sound on the song; melodic and calm.

Furthermore people pleasers would find it hard to express their true feelings. CTP certainly know how to express themselves in musical terms. On the Hairy Part of the title track they begin to channel Santana especially the sound of the early years. I love this and how the band sound like they are partying. It's a sexy sound with a ton of tom tom and Latin rhythms.

The Mad Yeti is an acoustic piece beautifully played with a very relaxed feel. Though I would not have a chance of getting such a gorgeous sound from my old axe.

The Sad Brazilian is a masterpiece. The piano rings with a melancholy sound and an orchestral sunset hovers over the keys. The hyper relaxed atmosphere is a dreamscape of symphonic majesty. A colourama of dark and light augmented by Psycho strings and cinematic breadth. The loud guitar crashes through at the right moment. Absolutely deliriously brilliant.

And So Today I rediscovered from the film clip scattered on social media. The ballad is sung with heartfelt emotion by Peter Jones in a graveyard. It signifies the passing of musical legends such as Lemmy. A very emotional detour in the album.

I'm Going Down is the third segment of the title track. It's a multi tracked song that becomes an instrumental. This one veers into all sorts of directions from Gentle Giant madness to Pink Floyd to Captain Pugwash accordion then into Because by The Beatles. It's as if a musical shop exploded and the instruments took off by themselves to play their own private gig. It's surreal in places, backmasking at one point, and is the band in an experimental mood. When they're unleashed they are at their best. A ten minute mini epic and one of the highlights of the album - its goodity goodity good.

Another instrumental follows with Lisa Waltzes in with no G String. This Lisa has appeared on past Tench albums so it's a familiar thing. A lot of fun as we are treated to a cinematic waltz with a Tarantino western feel.

Lisa's Entrance Unplugged is a medieval Elizabethan melody. This is followed by Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Screwed, an instrumental that encompasses a variety of musical styles that are striking when you hear them. There's a tribute to The Wall era Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Eagles, and others less obvious. Tench's lead guitar is wonderful on this track and the harmonies blend perfectly in.

We venture into Spain next as if Red Dwarf's Riviera Kid were about to make an appearance. This is followed by a song sounding as radio friendly as The Eagles Lying Eyes. It's actually a dang good song and well sung. I reckon Peter Jones would be a good lead singer for an Eagles tribute band.

Where to from here? An acoustic instrumental that is a glorified sped up version of Hotel California. But it's fun, short and I love the chord structure so I'll let them get away with it.

Part 4b opens with a nautical feel then really powerful lead guitar tones and a proggy song, with theatrical touches and extreme humour a bit like a Monty Python satire. It makes me laugh so I'm okay with the downright silliness. Where did these violins come from? Good question guys. The nonsense lyrics is a send up of the medium and why not? Zappa would approve. The Bathory death metal roar is killer but is soon ended with a Fishermans Friend. I'm not kidding. The odd time signature follows and the music spreads out into a nice piece. They still need to close off the show and impress the fans so it's time for some more arguments before a brilliant lead break with a Wah Wah pedal. It soars heavenly and launches into the stratosphere. I'm already sold by it all but then it takes me on a speed metal detour but it's damned too short. Back to the medium pace melody and duel lead break showcase. What a nutty and enjoyable romp.

The redux to follow is like Devo got hold of the album and added their own quirkiness.

Contentment doesn't come when we have everything we want but it comes When we want everything we have. TCTP absolutely nail every track on this album. We want to hear these tracks even though we don't realise it till the album is playing so we become content with it. Every time I put it on I am surprised at its diversity and how it manages to deliver so many pleasant musical experiences. It's a new approach to prog, ambitious and daring, but when it's played to perfection and with such passion it leaves little room for us to critique; on the contrary we can only sit back and bathe in the instrumental pool of delights.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |


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