We've come to not expect much from bass players' solo albums. That's because when they make those kind of records, so much of the music tends to sound exactly like what it is: extra, second-rate material that didn't fit into the context of their main band. That usually makes for an average listening experience. But along comes Lee Abraham, bass player for English proggers Galahad. Turns out that Abraham also is a decent guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist, and he makes Black & White a celebration of accessible, passionate and melodic progressive rock that embraces major elements of Pink Floyd and Spock's Beard without losing its own identity.
Black & White opens with "And Speaking of Which… ," a pulse-quickening instrumental that easily could be the first cut on a post-Roger Waters Pink Floyd album. Abraham keeps the Floyd vibe going on "The Mirror," an eight-and-a-half-minute song dominated by Simon Nixon's David Gilmour-like soloing. And the punchy "Celebrity Status" sounds like a mid-period Spock's song. Guest vocalists such as Sean Filkins (Big Big Train), Simon Godfrey (Tinyfish), Gary Chandler (Jadis) and Steve Thorne add great variety to an album that's already not lacking in diversity. Jem Godfrey (Frost*) and John Mitchell (It Bites) also show up.
As good as the first four tracks are, though, the album closes with two monumental pieces — companion title tracks called "Black" and "White" — that each contain enough musical ideas to form complete albums on their own.
The more I listen, the more I like.
1) And Speaking of Which…
2) Face the Crowd
3) The Mirror
4) Celebrity Status