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Deckchair Poets: A Bit Of Pottery

If you don’t know, Deckchair Poets are something of an evolving, underground, supergroup, with Lynden Williams (Jerusalem), Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia) and Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard/Big Big Train) being joined by, this time, the likes of Sue Lord, Ollie Hannifan, Dave Meros, Rachel Hawnt and Rob Aubrey. A Bit Of Pottery is the third album from the humour-proggers who can often be found looking at serious subjects through a more abstract lens, although if I’m not mistaken, what with the oft references to the likes of Muggles and Dementors, the Pottery nodded to in this album title is one of a Harry variety.

Now, cards on the table, I’ve heard both previous albums from this outfit and refrained from reviewing either because my own personal stance on the band is one of those uncomfortable times when it’s undeniable that what’s going on with Deckchair Poets is sublimely executed and carefully crafted and yet it leaves me colder than a discarded Fab Lolly in the middle of winter on a remote outpost of Siberia. A Bit Of Pottery, in all honesty, still finds my teeth chitter-chattering in the cold as I frantically hug myself and rub my arms in the hope of keeping out the chill.

Firstly, special mention for the artwork of Sarah-Jane Szikora, whose magnificently playful scenes and figures are just wonderful and it’s to the band’s credit that she gets equal billing in the beautiful booklet along with all the musicians involved.

Comprising four tracks that all land in around the 12 minute mark, rather than write prog epics, what the DC have a predilection for is jaunty upbeat, if intricate, happy clappy passages that seem to about face and head in another direction, before revisiting places we’ve been before. To me it all feels a little like “Anniversary Waltz” era Status Quo playing nursery rhymes and then adding in some cracking keyboard solos, guitar asides and nifty time-signatures. What really doesn’t help lower my own hurdles to be vaulted is that lead vocalist Lynden Williams’ delivering is displayed in a way that cheerfully chirpy Kids TV presenters used to back in the day (maybe they still do?) and when combined with the luscious layers of Rachel Hawnt’s unquestionably cultured contributions, causes a real disconnect for me. All four tracks follow this similar pattern, leaving me in the excruciating situation of absolutely knowing that Deckchair Poets are incredibly good at what they do and a lot of people seem to like them. However, no matter how hard I try I personally find it all to be twee, forced and, truth be told, a little cringey. Plenty other opinions are available on this band, so if you like upbeat, clever, happy-happy pop-prog, give Deckchair Poets a whirl. I however will still be sitting on the ground with my beach towel scowl.


Track Listing
1. Part One
2. Part Two
3. Part Three
4. Part Four

Added: July 21st 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: A Bit Of Pottery @ Angel Air
Hits: 815
Language: english

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Deckchair Poets: A Bit Of Pottery
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-07-21 17:56:07
My Score:

I have to say Deckchair Poets have evolved into a very good pop rock band. The core of the band features Lynden Williams (Jerusalem) on vocals, Geoff Downes (Asia, Yes) on keyboards and Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard, Big Big Train) on drums & percussion. Also on board are guest musicians Dave Meros (bass guitar), Sue Lord (violin, viola), Ollie Hannifan (guitars, mandolin), Rachel Hawnt (vocals) and Rob Aubrey (additional percussion, noises and effects).

Now Deckchair Poets have never delved into complex progressive rock, their music is much more in the proggy pop vein but I really think they are onto something with their latest album titled A Bit Of Pottery. The disc is divided into four parts with a total of thirty-one individual tracks but really, you can take each individual part as a whole as the songs flow together is a seamless way. The musicianship is very good, as one would expect from such a veteran cast of musicians and the lead vocals of Williams are indeed excellent, very melodic and on point.

“Part One” features some tasty builds, dramatic flair in the proggy bits, lots of change ups and punchy rhythms with excellent guitar work throughout. Beatles-like moments can also be heard in the more poppy sections. A real nice mix of pop and rock. The lilting English pop of “Part Two” is a real melodic gem with catchy male and female vocals and a head sticking arrangement. Some ‘50s/’60s style rock and roll will get the blood flowing with tongue firmly planted in cheek. As with “Part One” the twists and turns are frequent. With “Part Three” the band really get into their English pop rock roots making for a really infectious fifteen minute ditty. The violin work of Sue Lord is worth a mention. “Part Four” continues the album’s heavy rock and lighter pop sounds with more nice melodies to be had.

The Deckchair Poets have made a charming, varied and fun album that is quintessentially English. It’s not full on prog so all I can say is come in with an open mind and enjoy it for what it is. Another fine release courtesy of Angel Air Records.



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