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Exhibit A: A Different Dimension

These days it's not often that you get a prog based album that genuinely feels a little different to most of the other bands out there in that genre. However when I was lucky enough to review Exhibit A's excellent third album Make Mine A Lobster at the tail end of last year, the blend of prog, neo-prog and catchy melodies that it contains was exactly that. The songs made for something strangely familiar, with welcome and impressive reference points, but still it never exactly sounded like any other band in particular and definitely wasn't scared to see Exhibit A go off into directions not usually covered by prog.

So impressed was I with Make Mine A Lobster, that I immediately sought out Exhibit A's other two albums, of which A Different Dimension is the first, being released back in 1991 and I have to say that I've rather enjoyed what I found, even if it wasn't quite what I was expecting. Due to a lack of budget at the time that A Different Dimension was recorded, sound wise this album is more like a top notch demo and while Make Mine... is a wonderful blend of prog and melodic rock in a way that brings to mind Saga or eighties era IQ, this earlier work leans more heavily on the neo-prog of the time, with the likes of the Fish led Marillion, Pallas, or Arena (as well as IQ), being more potently brought to mind. Pleasingly things still aren't that straight forward though, with David Foss' excellent vocals and the keyboards of his brother Neil adding a poppier, almost New Romantic edge to the songs that really does suggest that with a better production and a little promotion, that the likes of the atmospheric "The Pie" or the very Peter Gabriel "Make Believe World" could have made an impact on the charts.

There is a sort of naive youthfulness about some of the songs on A Different Dimension, with "Forgive Me Now" veering too far into "pop", while "After Hours" is slightly too earnest for its own good. However the good far outweighs the bad, with the fantastic catchy chorus of "Never The Same" proving to be hugely memorable and the up tempo "Decision Day", where Gabriel is once more brought to mind hinting at the glorious prog meets melodic rock that made Make Mine A Lobster one of the albums I was most impressed with last year.

This isn't a highly polished album in terms of sound and Exhibit A sure have worked hard in the near twenty years between releases one and three on the song arrangements, but nonetheless A Different Dimension is an extremely enjoyable blast from the past.

Track Listing
1. After Hours
2. Never The Same
3. No Compromise
4. The Pie
5. Make Believe World
6. Forgive Me Now
7. Decision Day

Added: January 15th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Exhibit A Official Web Site
Hits: 1823
Language: english

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