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The Scaramanga Six: The Terrifying Dream

Using words like power-pop, or pop-rock conjures up very specific images and bands, so let's call The Scaramanga Six something else, shall we? Popant-garde anyone? Or simply quirky rock with hooks, progressive passages and off the wall tangents…? Hmmm…. maybe not quite as catchy.

Whatever we call them (actually, bloody good will suffice), The Terrifying Dream is a mighty statement and one which is as multifaceted as it is seductive and as unsettling as it is pointedly crackers! Amazingly this band debuted in 1999 with The Lion The Bitch And The Wardrobe (you're getting their dark humour now) and TTD (…no not Terence Trent D'Arby…) is their eight full length opus, a host of singles, EPs and live albums also tumbling forth over the years. Hence experiencing just how rounded and accomplished this album is shouldn't necessarily be the pleasant surprise it is and yet I can think of few outfits this capable of being as "out of the box" as TheScarSix, yet as simple and straight forward in their approach. Prog this isn't but progressive? Well we could discuss that one for many a night…

The approach bounces all over the place but with a loose theme of, well, terrifying dreams tying everything together and a clear musical vision travelling through the eleven tracks on show, this release is much more cohesive than most sets of songs thrown together to make an album. Here the flow and ebb of mood and atmosphere seems as important from song to song as it does from verse to chorus (for we are talking verse, chorus, verse and so on), with the slow tuneful trudge of "Be Nothing" all brass, bold and as likely to hold you spellbound as "Seven Chances" and its chiming melody is to cause you to attempt three part harmonies all on your own. "Staring At The Accident" perfectly illustrates the observational commentary behind TSS's lyrics and yet never does the album feel like a finger wagging, this is how the world should be lecture, or indeed an English lesson. That it starts with a casual whistle and lackadaisical pace also goes to show how comfortable The Scaramanga's are simply letting their ideas play out at their natural, unforced pace. If, however, the mood takes them - and it does - don't be fooled into thinking that this lot can't be forceful agitators; boy can they! Sample the considered build of "Tempest", tumultuously melodic "Blood On My Hands" and the unavoidably memorable "The Man Who Couldn't Sing" (which, ironically you'll be singing for days after) for proof. In fact the latter of those three isn't just The Scaramanga Six near their imperious best, it's simply a cracking corker of chorus led capers that you'll want to coax from this album again and again.

What The Scaramanga Six have conjured here may well be The Terrifying Dream, but it sure makes for a wonderful reality!

Track Listing
1. Rules
2. The Man Who Couldn't Sing
3. Out Of My Tiny Mind
4. The Outsider
5. Arabella
6. Citadel
7. Seven Chances
8. Staring At The Accident
9. Tempest
10. Blood On My Hands
11. Be Nothing

Added: August 5th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Scaramanga Six online
Hits: 1950
Language: english

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