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The Tangent - The World That We Drive Through CD (album) cover


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.75 | 287 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars In a recent Prog Archives poll (as of May, 2008) people were asked which album by the Tangent featuring Roine Stolt they preferred, and virtually all votes went to THE MUSIC THAT DIED ALONE, probably because Stolt is that album's dominant vocalist. Could it be that most Tangent albums are bought by Flower Kings fans? If so, I'm afraid I disagree with them; I find it a big turn-off when the band's second album, THE WORLD WE DRIVE THROUGH, opens and we're confronted with Stolt's overpowering, mid-Atlantic, quasi-dramatic vocals. 'In her heart there's an empty spaze.' 'Our planet's in a mezz.' No thanks, Roine - I prefer Andy Tillison's singing!

At least when Andy writes himself a proper melody, which he certainly did for the 13-minute title tune (the fourth track on THE WORLD...): this sounds very tender, features sensitive sax playing by Theo Travis, and has a splendid instrumental middle section with solos on moog, sax and guitar... it's easily one of the loveliest symphonic prog songs to come out of anywhere in the past ten years.

For me, the problem lies with the remainder of this album. Once you can get past Roine's lead vocals, that opening track ('The Winning Game') is not too terrible really, with its Wakemanesque Moog and Hammond organ solos, and with the truly gorgeous guitar solo Stolt provides for the finale (even if that same finale gets spoiled by a totally superfluous Burt Bacharach quotation). The second tune ('Skipping the Distance') opens heavy-handedly, but to my delight it features Jimmy Hastings-style flute, as well as wordless vocals inspired by the Northettes. The third track, 'Photosynthesis', is a charming ballad with elegant piano playing, some mellotron and sax.

But 'A Gap in the Night', the album's most ambitious track (an 18 minute 'epic') totally spoils the mood by being virtually tuneless and, above all, WHINY. It seems virtually any Tangent album you can think of is about somebody's midlife crisis. Once we had dreams but we lost them in the dull daily grind, switch on the television and you see nothing but greed, we're totally lost in the Scary Big City... O.K., I get the picture, but why bang on about such things for a full eighteen minutes, with plenty of tempo changes but a horrible dearth of tunes? When the Tangent's like THIS, I just pray for Andy T. to shut up... It's true that his keyboard solos and Guy Manning's acoustic guitar bring occasional relief, but no! This is no way to write an epic!

As a bonus, the band offer us a 14-minute synthesizer improv in the vein of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. I'm afraid I never fell for this kind of music, so in my view these are 14 minutes wasted.

Final verdict: A mixed bag. Let's give it three and half stars, since they tried hard, and the good tunes (particularly tracks 3 and 4) deserve it.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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