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McKechnie, Simon: From My Head To My Feet

Born in Malta and now based out of London, Simon McKechnie made quite the splash in the progressive rock scene with the release of his second album Clocks and Dark Clouds released in 2013. I became familiar with his music after reviewing his third album Newton's Alchemy, a wonderful slice of quirky progressive rock. His latest release From My Head To My Feet is the subject of this review.

McKechnie is a very talented musician as he handles most instruments himself. Helping him out on this occasion is returning drummer Adam Riley, Richard Exall (saxes, clarinet) and Imogen Small (harmony vocals).

I have to say McKechnie has really stepped up his game on this one. The guitar work is so varied and imaginative, it gives these tracks an incredible amount of depth as his playing creates layers of sound which adds to the quirky nature of the music. McKechnie also has an excellent voice which is a huge plus. The harmony vocals are also well done and add an element of melodicism to most of these tracks. Special kudos must also be given to Adam Riley as his drumming is both challenging and rhythmic, offering fantastic fills and changes of tempo but also delivering some great grooves.

"Hymn of Apollo" begins the album with a cinematic feel, very quirky progressive rock yet quite melodic in its own right. The tempo gathers momentum then slows with the guitar work adding some nice bite. Clarinet and sax is also used effectively giving the song added variety and complexity. On "Jane Wenham's Trial" the vibe is pure quirky pop prog, think Andy Partridge and XTC although this is much more eclectic where numerous changes in tempo and unconventional song structure is the norm. The riffs become much heavier as McKechnie weaves another interesting yarn, this one about the early days of witchcraft. With the title track, the sound is more straight forward rock but with an excellent sax solo and fuzzy guitar tones. The instrumental "Year of Light" is another angular smorgasbord of varying tempos, multiple guitar layers and cool use of piano and keys. The groove settles in quickly with off kilter musicianship adding impressive sonic details to the soundscape.

From My Head To My Feet is an excellent progressive rock album that will appeal to music fans looking for something a little different. Especially those who appreciate the quirkier side of the rock spectrum.

Track Listing:
1. Hymn of Apollo (6:30)
2. Jane Wenham's Trial (6:28)
3. Year of Light (7:45)
4. From My Head to My Feet (4:06)
5. Melita (6:41)
6. Once Upon a Time (12:25)
7. The Harpist's Song (8:41)

Added: April 22nd 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2013
Language: english

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