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Jennings, Ross: A Shadow Of My Future Self

An integral member of UK prog rock/metal masters Haken, singer Ross Jennings appears to be making the breakthrough into mainstream prog consciousness, what with a forthcoming project with a certain Neal Morse and Nick D’Virgilio set to be unleashed before long, as well as a guest star appearance with Arjen Lucassen’s Star One - and a side-project in the shape of Novena to take care of any extracurricular hankerings you would think. Hence with all of that on the go it was, as with so many, lockdowns and a pandemic which resulted in the singer truly stretching out on his own with a solo album, A Shadow Of My Future Self.

Surrounding himself with a serious collection of musicians was the first step - well, after writing a whole host of tracks and failing to hone them into a planned for country based album - with Simen Sandnes (drums), Nathan Navarro (bass), Vikram Shankar (piano/keyboards/orchestral arrangement) and Jørgen Lund Karlsen (sax) all enlisted to the cause. As with all good solo albums, what Jennings has put together here merely hints at the day job, a mainly pop-based collection of songs allowed to bounce from prog excess to country twang, acoustic meanderings and chorus based sing alongs. What hits you first is the sound itself, being immaculate as “Better Times” opens with an accessible acoustic, almost multi-layered singer songwriter vibe. From there the journey really begins, “Word We Can’t Unsay” proving that all serious proggers seem to have a pop fixation within them somewhere, a hugely memorable chorus sitting atop brass and hooks aplenty. But with “Violet” pulsating with a powering riff and a much more complex construction that includes ever so slightly electro edges, only three songs in and we’ve already touched numerous bases.

And so it continues, “Rocket Science” fusing an 80s pop sheen to an acoustic strum and huge chorus, before “Catcher In The Rye” contemplates the notion that Jennings might just one day become Harry Nilsson! Mad, I know, but it works. “Feelings” wouldn’t be a million miles out of place on an a-ha album, but then “Phoenix” adds a dramatic, string infused grandeur that, again, you simply hadn’t been expecting. Factor in the closing slap of bonus track “Be The One”, which might just be the most hook laden romp on show, and really, this album becomes quite some accomplishment. Even with its immediacy, or maybe because of it, it may take Haken devotees a spin or two to truly take in what’s been herded together on A Shadow Of My Future Self, but once you get over that initial shock, it really is a cracking album from start to finish.

Track Listing
1. Better Times

2. Words We Can’t Unsay

3. Violet

4. The Apologist

5. Rocket Science

6. Catcher in the Rye 

7. Since That Day

8. Young At Heart

9. Feelings

10. Third Degree 

11. Phoenix 

12. Grounded

13. Year

14. Be The One (Bonus Track)

Added: December 25th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Ross Jennings online
Hits: 222
Language: english

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