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Grand Tour - Heavy On The Beach CD (album) cover

HEAVY ON THE BEACH

Grand Tour

 

Neo-Prog

3.84 | 214 ratings

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PH
5 stars The idea to form GRAND TOUR sprang from a Hollywood film, apocalyptic 'On The Beach' (feat. Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Anthony Perkins). Briefly recalling the plot: 'nuclear war has wiped out all life in Northern Hemisphere, and several last survivors spend their final days in Australia - awaiting the deadly radiation that should reach them too''... The new band consists of Hew Montgomery (known as a founder for Abel Ganz), Joe Cairney (Comedy Of Errors), Bruce Levick (Comedy Of Errors) and Mark Spalding (ex- Comedy of Errors). They combine their talents to create a superbly executed prog-release. The songs range from almost 5 minutes to around 14:30 - which opens and closes CD ''Heavy On The Beach' respectively. Putting aside the lyrical concept, I wanna concentrate only on the music here. The album begins with a threatening sound of the wind augmented by church organs. Pretty short intro fades out into the enticing beauty of approach what is the suitable vessel for incredible vocals. The shimmering Mellotron, Stratocaster's light tones and gentle drums accompany 'It's Come To This', reflecting a miraculous blend of Pink Floyd and Genesis. After an overture-type song, we hear 'The Grand Tour part 1'. Towards the middle, in proper place, the flowing melody speeds up in a captivating way. Methinks, each half of composition has its own identity. Next up, 'Time Runs Out'. Initially impulsive, possessing an energy, the musical palette suddenly changes for a mellow part, where faultless singing starts to roam. As the song progresses, accents revert to up-tempo groove. Inheritor - 'The Horn Of Plenty', moves along at a sedate pace, allied to fantastic guitar work from Mark Spalding. The voice of Joe Cairney perfectly compliments the music's heady atmosphere with heart and emotion, while the software synths from Hew Montgomery and elegant drumming from Bruce Levick are fairly restrained. An instrumental track 'Little Boy And The Fatman' displays a harder edge for the sonic landscape, to cause me think of IQ. In contrast, 'On the Radio' unfolds like a touching chapter that contains wonderfully deep sentiments. The character of this cohesive whole gradually builds up, leading up to the fabulous crescendo. Again, staggeringly passionate voice of Joe Cairney soars above a variety of dramatic instrumental changes, thus increasing the scale. The title track kicks off in vintage fashion, where grandiose Korg and beefy Hammond exhibit the trademarked symphonic overtones. Being in the limelight, Hew Montgomery guides us through the territory full of bent notes. Woven around spectacular key-based foundation, the guitar manipulations on Ibanez RG4570 contribute in the mix, providing a mild decor for the vocal melodies. The smooth percussion-fills from Bruce Levick can be compared to the nimble style of Phil Collins. The singer Joe Cairney does a great job amid the instruments. It's safe to say, Grand Tour are divine! The album concludes with an intoxicating brew, 'The Grand Tour, part 2'. A long duration allows more exploration to take place, and which the quartet have fulfilled to the maximum. It's a pinnacle of the set culminating, where subtle flavours are easy to follow thanks to some switching perspectives. The music contained therein, envelops and caresses. Stylistically, now it resembles Pendragon with a veiled hint at Yes. Each element is carefully developed to enhance the substance of the story. This magnum opus fluidly ends with a coda. All the sounds fade away, leaving the listener in the silence... WOW! I bet 'Heavy On The Beach' will be in my personal top-ten list for 2015.
PH | 5/5 |

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