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Jump - Living In A Promised Land CD (album) cover





3.01 | 16 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars 'Will I be the bones at the top of the hill? 'Cause I was a pressed man.'

After having found out that I write music reviews on this website, an acquaintance once asked me which of my reviews that I enjoyed the most to write. Unreflectively I answered that it is my five and one star reviews. I now know that this was the wrong answer. The correct answer would have been two-pronged: (1) reviews of albums on which my opinion differs markedly from most others, and (2) reviews of overlooked gems. The present album certainly fits the latter category and perhaps also the first? With Living In A Promised Land, their fifth studio album, Jump had developed a sound of their own only superficially similar to your typical British Neo-Prog band. Equal parts Strawbs and Marillion with touches of Queen and Thin Lizzy is perhaps a tolerable approximation to the sound of this album. Bands similar to Jump include Haze, Grace, and Red Jasper, all four of which inject Folk influences into a Neo-Prog framework, all in their own special ways. Compared to these other bands, the Folk influences in Jump are more subtle. All of the four bands are great and frightfully overlooked. Like both Haze and Grace, Jump too released albums on the Cyclops label (including the present album).

As the name of the band indicates, Jump never stayed in the same place for long and Living In A Promised Land is somewhat different from both earlier and later albums of the band. In my opinion, this is their best and most accomplished album. We get here excellent vocals, intelligent lyrics, strong melodies, potent twin lead guitars, wonderful keyboards, and a driving rhythm section. The music is full of energy and passion and there is a solid Rock edge not common to Neo-Prog bands. John Dexter Jones is a vocalist in the typical Neo-Prog style exemplified by Marrilion's Fish, Galahad's Stuart Nicolson, and many others, but Jones has his own take on the style and he is one of the best in the genre with a distinct quality. The dual guitars of Steve Hayes and Pete Davies is another distinguishing feature of the sound of Jump. Often combining acoustic and electric guitars with the strong keyboards of Mo (one of few female keyboard players in Prog), they create a full sound. Andy Barker and Hugh Gascoyne play drums and bass. The whole band sound confident and full of attitude.

On Living In A Promised Land Jump hits the ground running with The Man Who Worked and don't stop until the end of the last track. By this I don't mean to say that it is all up-tempo and that the band cannot be subtle, instead that there is an appealing sense of 'urgency' in these tracks. The band knows exactly what they want to say and no time is wasted. The album clocks in at 48 minutes which is exactly how long it should be, it never outstays its welcome and when it is over you want to start it all over again. Don't be fooled by the relatively short tracks into thinking that this is not progressive. Some of these tracks are 'mini-epics' the prime example of which is the brilliant The Pressed Man. Not every track is as good as that one, but there is a definite consistency to this album.

I didn't always intend to give this album the full five stars, but after having listened to this terrific album almost on a daily basis for months I can say that it has proved its staying power to me. Also, I think that it is in a category above all the band's other albums. For me, this album is something special. It is also a much underrated album by a shockingly overlooked band.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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