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Exhibit A: Make Mine A Lobster

The oddly titled Make Mine A Lobster is the third album from UK progressive rock band Exhibit A, but considering it has been sixteen years since their second effort, don't feel too bad if they have completely passed you by up until now. That said, if they have evaded your notice (as they have mine), then I advise that you rectify that situation soon. Bringing bands such as Pallas, 80's era IQ and Arena to mind, as well as the merest hint of Saga, Exhibit A have produced an excellent collection of reasonably short and considerably snappy songs that hit the right blend of progressive workouts and catchy melodies. Think a more overtly progressive and rocked up Asia and you won't be a million miles away from the type of thing that Exhibit A serve up.

"Touch The Star" kicks things off in a tremendously upbeat fashion, with percussive flurries punctuating an incisive riff and keyboard stabs, while Dave Foss' charismatic vocals hit home with a fragile power. Add to that a great haunting keyboard line and an impressive guitar solo from Nick Hampson and you have a stylishly accessible song that makes you desperate to hear if Exhibit A can maintain such a high standard. The quick one-two of "Carousel", which continues in a similar vein to the opener and "First To Last", where the gentle, but equally effective guitar and keyboard interplay add a touch more refinement, leaves you in no doubt that this is a classy, if not hugely original album. There's no denying that there is a slight whiff of familiarity to what Exhibit A produce, but not in a way that is "heard it all before", in fact it is more a case of feeling immediately comfortable with the songs and wanting to hear more.

The other six tracks on the disc continue to deliver the same welcome marriage of melody, interesting structures, tasteful musicianship and skilful arrangements. "Rush Of Blood" lives up to its title, providing a very Rush influenced rhythm and staccato guitar bursts which are broken up by surges of Neil Foss' keyboards, while Steve Watts roaming bass work keeps everything flowing along nicely. The skilful time changes of "Wake Up To Reality" gives drummer Paul Caswell the opportunity to show his chops, but in a way that compliments the dramatic musical surroundings rather than dominating them.

There's little new on Make Mine A Lobster, but few bands are playing this catchy, sharp, yet intricate style of prog with the class and precision that Exhibit A illustrate with ease and if this style of music appeals to you, then you really don't want to miss out.

Track Listing
1. Touch the Stars
2. Carousel
3. First to Last
4. A Far Cry
5. Rush of Blood
6. Darker Sun
7. Wake Up to Reality
8. Missing Years
9. Scenario

Added: March 4th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Exhibit A Official Web Site
Hits: 4958
Language: english

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