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Tangent, The: Proxy

One of prog’s most prolific bands in recent times, Proxy is The Tangent’s fifth album already this decade, with their previous outing, The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery, arriving just last year. What seems to have switched on the band’s turbo-chargers is a steady, invigorated line-up, with band leader, song writer, keyboard player and singer Andy Tillison joined once again by guitarist Luke Machin, bassist Jonas Reingold, horns and flute man Theo Travis, drummer Steve Roberts and backing singer Goran Edman. With the band recently out on the road with Edman (and Reingold’s) Karmakanic, the songs on Proxy came into being during that time and it has to be said that the energy of live performance finds itself deeply ensconced into the heart of this album.

Even for a wordsmith as renowned and topical as Tillison, TSROFM was a political step too far for some, the composer’s anti-brexit sloganeering not always finding favour - but then that’s more a consequence of a polarising political product than the man writing about it - and again similar themes are explored here (along with others) while maybe not being presented in such a forceful manner. This time we also get a track like “The Adulthood Lie”, where Tillison explores his own preconceived ideas regarding the Ibiza Dance scene; something which has obviously fascinated him for quite some time, as he decries how aloof and dismissive he was of it all before, while now realising he might just have missed out on something special. It’s not a sentiment I share, not even vaguely, but the lesson of keeping an open mind and allowing new ideas and generations to flow into your life is one it’s hard to argue against. Cleverly, the piece still contains some striking guitars and glorious keyboards alongside an enigmatic vocal, however that it’s married to a dancey breakdown and wash of off-beat hi-hat allows it to nod to the song’s inspiration without ever moving it too far out of The Tanget’s world. “Supper’s Off” expands on the theme, looking at the average music fan’s unwillingness to move on from the music of their youth and keep an open mind to new bands and new music. Although it is all revealed through the eye of exploration; examining how Tillison’s generation moved from being an age of opportunity into being an enclosed, selfish group only interested in self preservation and closed mindedness. As the song’s title suggests, the flavour of Genesis runs throughout this one and it might well be the most enticing selection on show, and the semi-spoken vocals here are a triumph.

However, “Proxy”, which is a long sprawl of a piece, darts from jazz to avant-garde and back to the prog that always informs The Tangent’s sound. As ever, this album moves the band’s outlook ever further forward and yet there could be no mistaking exactly who this is. With each track lengthy and involved, there are only two selections left to discuss, “The Melting Andalusian Skies” a meandering musical interlude that beautifully stretches its legs out to nearly nine minutes, while “A Case Of Misplaced Optimism” is a fizzing, popping, Steely Dan like shuffle and shout about staying true to yourself and those around you.

As the lyrics to this album suggest, there’s a huge amount of new, fresh, hard working prog out there waiting to be discovered and bands like The Tangent are right at that scene’s forefront. If you haven’t taken the plunge, then Proxy is a glorious, rewarding place to start and one that will keep you coming back for more and more.

Track Listing
1. Proxy
2. The Melting Andalusian Skies
3. A Case Of Misplaced Optimism
4. The Adulthood Lie
5. Supper’s Off

Added: December 2nd 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Tangent online
Hits: 1333
Language: english

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