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DeeExpus - Half Way Home CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.15 | 117 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "They're the new (new) Pink Floyd apparently, yeah that and some more"

DeeExpus is the brainchild of the multi-talented Andy Ditchfield. Originally a solo project, this their debut album really began to take shape when Ditchfield was re-acquainted with vocalist Tony Wright in 2007. The two set to work in Ditchfield's recently complete home studio writing and recording what would become "Half way home". The result is a quite astonishing debut, full of confidence and quality.

Ditchfield makes no secret of his admiration for Steve Wilson and his love of the music of Porcupine Tree. Indeed, one of the tracks here called "PTtee" tells how Ditchfield's attendance at a Porcupine Tree gig (including references to the set list!) inspired him at a time when he was becoming disillusioned with his own involvement music. While the results bear clear influences of Wilson's band, this is no clone project by any means. The band's website talks of diverse influences ranging from Joe Jackson through to Marillion via Iron Maiden, but in the end this is an album to be savoured for its own merits.

Apart from the brief link piece "One day", the seven tracks here are all fully developed epics, cumulating in the sublime 17 minute "Half way home". We open with "Greed", a highly melodic number with a heavy rhythm base supporting some fine guitar and keyboards. The song would have fitted in well on Porcupine Tree's "Deadwing" album, but while the guitar riffs are highly reminiscent of those of Steve Wilson, the keyboard sounds offer a distinct differentiation from the mood of that fine album.

Wright's vocal talents come through on the slightly softer "Pointless child". The lyrics offer a cynical view on a soured relationship ("What you need is therapy"), with Ditchfield adding some superb lead guitar as the anger builds. The aforementioned "PTtee" again features Wilson like guitar riffs, the alliterate story actually conveying itself rather well. The track features some pleasing piano over the striking riffs. At over 12 minutes, this magnificent piece forms one of the (many) highlights of the album.

"One eight" includes a highly original concept, where eight friends are referred to simply by the numbers one through to eight. The story of an event involving the octet is told rather cryptically, against another supremely melodic backdrop climaxing in a frantic guitar solo. The brief instrumental "One day" is a pleasant, mainly acoustic link number leading to "Seven nights", another fine, well developed song which appears to tell the tale of a holiday romance (or not!).

The 17 minute title track closes the album. The lyrics paint a picture of a relationship through the years from schooldays, through marriage, to a (possibly) tragic ending. The song draws in the various styles and sounds which have made up the album thus far, creating a composition of true depth and maturity. The expanded track length facilitates greater development of the piece, but the results remain tight and focused.

"Half way home" is a magnificent statement of intent from Andy Ditchfield and indeed DeeExpus. The album projects a quality and completeness which other bands may strive for for many years. Highly recommended.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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