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Grand Stand - Tricks Of Time CD (album) cover

TRICKS OF TIME

Grand Stand

 

Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 68 ratings

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Makntak
3 stars 'Tricks Of Time' is a pretty simple album by Symphonic Prog standards. None of the songs are particularly challenging and rarely do they rise above average for my tastes The album is characterised by generally slow to mid-tempo pieces that are very keyboard driven. Largely the keys are creating synth-string arrangements to fill the sound whilst Michael Jensen's guitar has a free role to embellish and highlight the strong melodies. The rhythm section is unspectacular but fairly tight and Hansi Cross' production has done a marvelous job on mastering the drum sound which is detailed and spacious in the final mix. I can't say I'm over enamoured with Goran Johsson's singing. He's tuneful enough, but he sounds like he's chewing marshmallows, such is the muffled quality of his voice.

'Words Are Not Enough' (which is instrumental) and 'Waiting For Water' are the two most appealing tracks for me. The former has a 'smooth jazz' feel and a lovely melodic, jazzy solo from Jensen which is echoed by a similarly sweet lead synth, whilst 'Waiting For Water' is a very gentle and mellow piece with lovely melodies in the verse and some majestic settings created by the keys, including a brief moment that recalls 10cc's 'Im Not In Love'. Elsewhere, 'Jurassic Spark' is a decent opener with good Steve Hackett-like guitar solos and the epic 'Old Man's Tale' serves as a stamp of the all-round musicianship of Grand Stand. However, it is not a particularly coherent piece, sounding too often like disparate musical ideas stitched together to form a 'suite'. Not good enough in my book. My biggest gripe is with the overuse of some of the musical ideas in each song. Grand Stand are treading water and stretching their musical ideas to the very limit of interest.

Overall I found this a charming and very polite album to listen to. It's the sort of album you bring home to meet your grandparents secure in the knowledge that it would not offend, but that's also it's problem for me because it doesn't really excite either. Nevertheless with their songs bearing the hallmarks of many neo-prog acts from the '90s, it's as if Grand Stand were unable to see an alternative direction for their own compositions, and if you're a fan of of Late-GENESIS, late-CAMEL, PALLAS, SAGA and maybe IQ, I think you'll find plenty to enjoy in this

Almost a three - 2.75

Makntak | 3/5 |

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