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ESP - Three CD (album) cover

THREE

ESP

 

Crossover Prog

3.34 | 10 ratings

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TCat
3 stars ESP is a musical project started by Tony Lowe, who has played in the past for "Fripp & Cross", "Simon Townsend", and "Bram Stoker". He has released 2 LPs and several EPs since 2015 with differing band lineups, or guests. This time around, he has released a 4 track EP that has a duration of just over 30 minutes. Each track lasts around 7 - 8 minutes. Tony has said this EP is released in advance of a new album that will be released hopefully this autumn (2019). Joining Tony, who plays keyboards and guitars, is vocalist Damien Child, Greg Pringle on drums, and bassist Pete Clark.

"Before the Fall" starts off the EP with some lush keyboards and a nice mid-tempo song. Damien's vocals start quickly, and he has a full, emotional voice which reminds me a little bit of Tim Bowness from "No-man". The keyboards are quite prominent on this track supported with guitars adding atmosphere. There is a symphonic edge to the music. Later, a passage led by guitars give things a slight Floydian feel.

"All the Way to Heaven" feels a bit darker, but continues with the overall lushness of the first track. The chorus is a bit brighter and more solid feeling and this alternates with the soft, darkness of the verses. A nice bass break leads the way for a atmospheric guitar solo followed by fluttering synths. But, even at 7 minutes, nothing really stands out.

"Wings to Fly" has that Alan Parsons vibe to it, pop/progressive, but the melody doesn't lend itself to anything catchy or emotional until it gets to the bridge at which point it starts to soar and is followed up with a much better guitar solo, but things don't build off of that as it loses it's steam with a somewhat meaningless section that goes nowhere other than to add time to the track. Even when things slow and the drums and bass drop off signaling what could have been an emotional guitar solo, we only get a substandard solo and then more pointless wandering. The guitar acts like it wants to go somewhere, but it doesn't.

"Coming Back" is the last track, and it has a heavy plodding beat with solidness in both the guitar and keys. Damien returns to the Tim Bowness feel again and you get a more emotional delivery here. There is a longer instrumental break here, with some guitar passages that seem to want to rise above the overall average-ness of the songs, but nothing really pays off here. It's all stuff we've heard many times before.

The songs here pretty much come across as being mostly average. Many times they threaten to become something greater, but seem to be restrained keeping them from advancing to being what they aspire to be. Everytime you think you are building up to something, nothing much happens. The music is pleasant enough, but doesn't really rise above anything other than being symphonic-lite, making sure it stays accessible and mediocre.

TCat | 3/5 |

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