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Galahad: Seas Of Change

No matter where you turn politics has taken on a new domination in people's minds. Leave? Remain? Trump? Russia? Korea – North or South? What's it all about? Lines have been drawn, barricades built. Conclusions created, arguments hurled as abuse. And this is only the political classes. Here in Great Britain – a name beginning to feel like an oxymoron in so many ways – it's all about the B-word. And it's that Brexit nettle Galahad are grasping, the searing pain of the sting being transferred into anger on Seas Of Change. If you're looking for debate you won't find it here, Stuart Nicholson's lyrics biting, acerbic, anti-government, anti-Brexit. Yet across the single forty-two minute song this album contains, the charismatic singer delves deeper. Yes he's pissed off about the close minded self destruction button his nation appears to have pressed, but Galahad aren't here to judge the masses, they're here to shine a light on the UK's broken, unfit, self absorbed, redundant political system. You may, or may not agree with the political starting point of Seas Of Change, but disagreeing with its killer observations, well that's a much more difficult proposition.

Musically the whole song/album was written, orchestrated and arranged by keyboard player Dean Baker and it's an astounding achievement. There's a vast amount to fully take in but how Baker has combined many of the eclectic sides of Galahad into one cohesive whole is quite breathtaking. With the band welcoming back Lee Abraham – their bassist of old formulating an acclaimed solo career in between tenures – but this time on guitars, don't get the impression that SoC is the play thing of just the keyboard maestro and man behind the mic. Nothing could be further from the truth, the snarling guitars that have come to the fore on more recent Galahad releases often the driving force behind much of the startlingly captivating progressive rock on display. With the guest flute of Sarah Bolter also leading on occasion, the early pastoral style this band purveyed is also back in evidence. However with sound clips, newscasts and scene setting sounds also adding to the conceptual feel, the deeper you dig, the more Seas Of Change repays your faith.

Also reappearing is bassist Tim Ashton, making his first return to the band since 1991's Nothing Is Written, who slots in alongside drummer Spencer Luckman so perfectly it's as though he's never been away. The resultant rhythm section is so tight that it allows the different sections of Seas Of Change to slide by seamlessly and make the whole experience one that you're desperate to relive over and over. That all said, if you don't like to mix your music with politics – or indeed if you strongly disagree with the stance this album takes – there may be a mighty hurdle to overcome. Lyrics such as 'It's all got very un-English up in the smoke, oops it seems the politics is broke, All the leavers have left and the remainers are all in a tiz…, What on earth is going on in the hallowed corridors of Westminster?' (as a Scotsman I appreciate the differential made between nations) or the album opening narration from 'Toastmaster' Peter Watson of 'My Lords ladies and gentlemen I respectfully request that you be upstanding…, For I give you total confusion served up with a healthy smattering of understated incredulity', leaving these very literal interpretations with little ambiguity. That said, for those not invested in the UK's inward looking 'outlook', Nicholson does paint an enigmatic, wordy picture and one that can be thoroughly enjoyed as a more straight up conceptual piece and crucially the manner in which these lyrics are married to the stunning musical vistas is nothing short of masterful.

Never a band to stand still, or afraid to look to their past, with this bold statement Galahad have delivered one of their defining statements. It's also one that's sure to outlast the short sighted politics that fuelled it… I hope.

Track Listing
1. Seas of Change 
2. Dust (Extended Edit)  
3. Smoke (Extended Edit)

Added: January 20th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Galahad online
Hits: 3383
Language: english

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