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The Urbane

Crossover Prog

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The Urbane Neon album cover
3.08 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Quietly (4:21)
2. Mary Jane (3:31)
3. Aeroplanes (4:41)
4. Fading Out (5:19)
5. Loop (5:16)
6. Immaculate (6:06)
7. Wide Awake (3:54)
8. Staring At The Sun (6:02)
9. Neon (4:58)
10. Static (5:09)
11. Try (letter To A Friend) (5:49)
12. The Tide (7:31)

Total Time: 62:37

Line-up / Musicians

- John Mitchell / guitar, keyboards, lead & backing vocals
- Martin Raggett / bass
- Paul Cooper "Scooby" / drums, backing vocals

- Guy Haskell / violins (11)
- Barbara Wagner / backing vocals (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Matt Goodluck

CD Verglas Music ‎- VGCD002 (1999, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy THE URBANE Neon Music

THE URBANE Neon ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(10%)
Good, but non-essential (60%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE URBANE Neon reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
3 stars My first impression of this new group fronted by ARENA guitarist John Mitchell was that this was nothing for me. I usually don't like this kind of noisy guitar pop a la RADIOHEAD and U2. I listened to it a couple of times though, and to my surprise I started to like it more and more. I recognised that some of the songs such as "Quietly", "Mary Jane", "Aeroplane", "Immaculate", "Staring At The Sun", "Static" and "The Tide", contained really good catchy melodies with hit-potential that you can't refuse to sing-a-long to.

This is their debut album and John is responsible for the main part of the song writing. Of course he plays the guitars and he is also handling the lead vocals really well. Besides this he is also participating in the producing and mixing of this album. Even though this is a band production it could easily be a solo album from John Mitchell. This is far away from the progressive symphonic music he is playing in ARENA though.

If you like progressive and symphonic rock and wants some contrast to that music, I suggest that you buy this album. It's a good choice if you're open minded to alternative rock.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars John Mitchell has left the Arena (but he'll be back)

The Urbane's main claim to fame is that they are led by Arena guitarist John Mitchell. Since Mitchell is now a key player in the Kino supergroup project, the future of the Urbane (if indeed it has one) is somewhat unclear.

Those expecting to hear Mitchell play soaring guitar solos similar to his magnificent work with Arena, should approach The Urbane with caution. The music here is generally straight ahead guitar rock, with little prog influence. It is far more Kino than Arena. That said, as the album develops so does the music, some of the later tracks being reasonably progressive.

There is a punk pop or power pop feel to several of the tracks, often with similarities to bands such as the Foo Fighters, "Aeroplanes" being particularly reminiscent of that band. Mitchell's guitar is always present, but any solos are kept brief, the vocals being dominant throughout. "Mary Jane" and "Try" are average punk pop songs, with little to distinguish them. Things improve markedly with the melodic pop rock of "Fading out" and "Neon" both of which have catchy choruses and strong melodies.

The prog elements develop on "Staring at the sun" which has a Porcupine Tree feel, and reach their peak on the final track "The tide". The guitar work on "The tide" has a similar feel to Genesis "Firth of fifth". It is hardly challenging technically, yet it has an atmospheric beauty and is enhanced by some effective key changes making it utterly compelling. This is easily the best track on the album.

Elsewhere, "Static" is enhanced by some effective female vocal backing by Barbara Wagner, while the longer "Immaculate" sees Mitchell's guitar work being afforded greater exposure.

In all, a slightly uneven album with some fine moments, and some rather average material.

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