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




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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The contract with Cyclops Records really pushed Jump's fame, who by mid-90's had become a live beast, supporting almost all famous UK Neo Prog acts.The band took some three years of break between the recording sessions of a new album, eventually coming up with their sophomore album on Cyclops in 1998, entitled ''Living in a Promised Land'', which also meant to be the last one with the classic Barker/ Mo/ Gascoyne/ Hayes/ Davies/ Dexter Jones line-up.

And it seemed actually like the band certainly needed some new blood in the process, as with ''Living in a Promised Land'' Jump returned to the weak sound of their first albums, although more polished and refined.The band seems to take the direction JADIS would take a few years later, a simple-structured guitar-driven mix of straightforward Rock and Neo Prog with adventurous passages being totally absent and heavily relying on Jones' impressive vocal lines.And the man prooves to be Jump's trademark, with his voice being expressive, theatrical and romantic at the same time.But the musicianship has little to offer, some ideas on the guitar department and a few keyboard flashed are really interesting, but the majority of the tracks contain cliche choruses, simple grooves and typical song structures with no risks at all, making Jump one of the lowest values among the genre's list of bands.

''Living in a Promised Land'' was rather a step backwards for the band than just the slightest of a development, still Neo Prog fanatics will find something to like among these cliche tunes with Jones' being the most reasonable reason to buy the album.

Report this review (#651133)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#956793)
Posted Friday, May 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars "Living in a Promised Land" demonstrates marked maturity over the prior pair of JUMP releases. As per normal, the concepts and lyrics are almost as outstanding as the vocalist JOHN DEXTER JONES, but here we can actually tell what Jones is saying. This raises the caliber of basic rockers like the opener "The Man Who Worked". The messages affirm the band's identification with the commoner, consistent with the prevailing attitudes of folk music. However, as before, this JUMP album only flicks folk tints into the palette and remains primarily a crossover prog work rich in rockers and ballads, often on the same track.

Unfortunately, there are still times when the lyrics cannot save the musical concept from executing a mini Titanic. The ABACAB like "December's Moon", the hackneyed "Promised Land Blues", and the dreadful closer "Used to the Taste" all suffer from self inflicted wounds. But otherwise this is a pretty strong effort, even if only "Dreaming of Angels" and "The Pressed Man" might qualify as excellent. For instance, "April Day" begins as a sumptuous semi acoustic ballad before transforming into a rocker that succeeds in spite of a rather cliché chorus. The choice to eliminate pauses between tracks enhances their connectivity. Another favorite is "My Magic Touch" in which Jones dons a particularly pronounced Scottish inflection, but again a few of the similes verge on embarrassing, and not just, or even primarily because of their sexual references.

JUMP is a band that developed its own intriguing sound on the periphery of prog. In "Living in a Promised Land" they continue to sputter in efforts to balance their attack and refine their musical and lyrical message. Still, they know how to rock with conviction far better than most of the neo prog brethren with whom they are often compared, and remain a worthwhile listen as we wait for them to deliver on promises made or perceived.

Report this review (#1019693)
Posted Friday, August 16, 2013 | Review Permalink

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