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Preacher: Signals

The ABC in Glasgow is a place I've spent many an evening, acts as wide and varied as Fish, Europe, The Feeling, Fightstar, The Wildhearts, Mastadon, Down, Saxon and so the list goes on, having headlined the venue. Something that makes it all the more impressive that Scotland's Preacher had the popularity to successfully launch their debut, self released album Signals in that very place by playing a headline show. For a band out there all alone, without a label to back them, to even have the balls to book a hall that size for such an event shows an amazing level of confidence. However with Signals now out in the open for us all to hear, it's not really as shocking as first thought. For this album is a progressive delight, an album to savour and a release to knock socks not just off, but into next week's laundry! All that said, the only elephant in the room is just how easy it is to spot Preacher's main reference point a certain Pink Floyd. In places the likeness is on the frightening scale and yet there are points where that thought couldn't be further from your mind.

"Time" gets us under way, plaintive piano and guitar a sedate introduction, the melody line an immediate nod to a moon with a dark side, while roaming, lush female vocals and banked male voices only heighten the Floyd-feel. Damn fine it is though, the easy rhythms swaying you along as pinpricks of keyboards and restrained guitar solos roll along with relaxed urgency. "Jupiter To Mars" continues along a similar path and if anything it's an even stronger example of why anyone taken by the music of a band who haven't offered us anything genuinely new for over two decades will be twisting in their knickers over Preacher.

However there are more strings to this band's bow than mere copycatness, "The Sea" illustrating that if Gerry Rafferty of "Baker Street" fame had ever wanted to try his hand at Prog, he would have come up trumps, while "First Contact" utilises busy guitars to bring an unexpected Neo-Prog slant to proceedings. "The Factor" or "Friends Of My Dreams" could easily slip into the middle era of Fish's back catalogue, the formers rolling drums setting the scene for understated guitars to build the song into a mid paced shuffle of some force, while the latter adds a theatrical threat to proceedings.

It may all sound like heard it all before stuff, oft sited influences raided once more and yet Preacher have two things going for them that many others often don't firstly the ability to turn in genuinely scintillating performances which grab the ear, whether through a well placed guitar solo, a precise burst of keys, a deadly drum fill or vivacious vocal. And secondly by simply writing and arranging a set of excellent songs and having the control to let them speak for themselves. It would have been easy to dress "Destiny" up in flash riffs and yet a Payne era Asia-like chorus is allowed to stand tall and proud on its own merits, or to take the crafted harmonies and melodies of "Signals" and clatter them with deft drums, or bass boogie-ings. Yet Preacher avoid all these pitfalls to simply say, here's a great song, enjoy. That on its own is a real skill.

The journey for Preacher to deliver this message has been a long one, fraught with mishaps, health issues and line-up alterations. However the end results have been well worth every drop of sweat and every wiped away tear, for Signals may well end up being the best debut album 2015 sees fit to deliver.

Track Listing
1. Time
2. Jupiter To Mars
3. The Sea
4. Fat Cats
5. Cry For Help
6. Signals
7. Arrival
8. First Contact
9. The Factor
10. Friends Of My Dreams
11. Destiny
12. I Will Be There

Added: May 25th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Preacher online
Hits: 5692
Language: english

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