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Downes Braide Association: Skyscraper Souls

At first glance the pairing of Geoff Downes (The Buggles, Asia, Yes) and English singer/songwriter/producer Chris Braide (has worked with numerous pop divas like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera) might seem like an unlikely meeting of the minds. One known for his exploits in the progressive rock genre, the other in a decided pop realm. However, upon further examination Downes has always been drawn to the poppier side of prog so really the formation of this duo isn’t that much of a stretch and in fact each caters to the others strength in quite a delightful way.

The duo formed in 2012, marked with the release of their debut album Pictures Of You followed by the excellent Suburban Ghosts in 2015. Besides Downes (vocoder, piano, keyboards, programming) and Braide (lead vocals, piano, keyboards, programming) the album features a number of guest musicians including Marc Almond (Soft Cell), Kate Pierson (The B-52s), Tim Bowness (No-Man), David Longdon (Big Big Train) and Andy Partridge (XTC).

The soothing and mellow “Prelude” begins the disc in a subdued and thoughtful way, a very melodic and soul warming tune. The eighteen minute title track is a real treat for the ears. Brimming with wonderful vocal melodies, tasteful guitar and keyboards and rich orchestrations. It’s a very smooth ride, not traditional prog but certainly with its share of changing themes, moods and tasty musicianship. A classy song through and through with a vocal arrangement reminiscent of Yes. A delicious guitar solo from Dave Colquhoun is the icing on the cake. Other highlights include the beautifully orchestrated “Glacier Girl”, the Asia inspired earworm that is “Angel On Your Shoulder”, the catchy “Lighthouse with the unmistakable backing vocals of Tim Bowness and the lovely “Tomorrow” featuring the vocals and flute of David Longdon.

Skyscraper Souls is an album bursting with superb melodies and songwriting. It’s not a progressive rock album but that doesn’t matter, at least for me. I get more than enough prog in my diet so there is always a little room for some very well done pop rock music.

Track Listing:
1. Prelude
2. Skyscraper Souls
3. Glacier Girl
4. Angel On Your Shoulder
5. Tomorrow
6. Lighthouse
7. Skin Deep
8. Darker Times
9. Finale

Added: May 22nd 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1109
Language: english

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