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Mabel Greer's Toyshop: New Way Of Life

Trading heavily on their strong links to the formative days of Yes and also having two ex-Yes members (but not of that time - Tony Kaye and the almost omnipresent Billy Sherwood) on board, Mabel Greer's Toyshop return some 49 years after they morphed from MGT into Yes. What started out as a "bit of fun" for ex-Mabelers Clive Bayley (guitar) and Robert Hagger (drums) slowly evolved into a full on reformation, and one which Sherwood was so impressed with, he wanted onboard.

For the life of me, I can't imagine why, for the results are so lacklustre that the paint I was watching simply refused to dry. Bayley also sings, yet his voice is so lifeless that at times you wish he wouldn't; yet his efforts are indicative of an album that sounds like it's trying so hard, that nothing actually comes off for it. I get that MGT are born of the 60s and that they dearly wish to show that through every note they vintagely squeeze out, yet with perfunctory drums clicking and tapping away, obvious guitar lines filling the blanks you knew they would and the pace refusing to actually pick up at all, the fact that (some of) these guys were there when this type of music (but better) was paving the way for some of Prog's movers and shakers to give birth to a genre still going strong today, doesn't excuse them nodding so reverentially that we fall asleep.

There's no spark here at all, no hook, no passion. Instead New Way Of Life, as it's called, barely has a heart beat. That early Yes compositions are given this polite treatment merely compounds things, for if Yes had delivered a set of songs this one dimensional all those years ago, well we'd never have trooped on starships, gone for the one, or sailed a topographic ocean. For not even can "Beyond And Before", or "Sweetness", which both made the debut Yes album infuse a sense of urgency or guile. To be fair, a production which attempts to shout VINTAGE, but actually whispers muted, barely gives any of the songs a chance, however even given that fact, there's not one track here which even threatens to jostle free of its "honestly, this is how it used to sound" slumber.

A less apt name for an album you could barely hope to find, for the one thing that's sure and certain here, is that New Way Of Life, shows very little sign of life at all.

Track Listing
1. Electric Funeral
2. Get Yourself Together
3. New Way Of Life
4. Beyond And Before
5. Sweetness
6. Images Of You And Me
7. My Only Light
8. King And Country
9. Oceans
10. Singing To Your Heart
11. Jeanetta

Added: March 28th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Mabel Greer's Toyshop online
Hits: 2082
Language: english

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