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mobiUS: Make The Promise

There are many bands out their with the moniker Mobius, so best to reiterate that the difference here appears to be that this four piece of Tim Newcombe (keyboards, piano), Andy Hughes (guitar, vocals), Andy Clifton (drums, percussion) and Alistair McCaig (bass) are stylised under the banner mobiUS. Musically, however, it’s not quite so easy to stick a tag on this outfit, straight up symphonic prog comes to mind in places, but then so do Pink Floyd, jazz-fusion-lite, rock and even 80s pop. Some sources seem to have them filed under neo-prog, but if you’re expecting Marillion meets Arena from that description then you’ll fall far wide of the mark.

Unusually for a debut album, Make The Promise doesn’t only open with this release’s longest track at over 19 minutes, it’s also the only instrumental. For me it is also head and shoulders the best thing on display. Confident in execution, varied in approach across that lengthy running time and both confident enough to have passages that push boundaries and some which strongly suggest of other specific bands from years gone by, it’s quite the statement. Some of the riffs hit like early Queen and yet there are gently meandering piano pieces that pull in Pink Floyd at their most dreamingly remorseful. This really is quite some way to introduce a band and it impresses hugely.

Therefore it’s a little disappointing that those heady heights are never quite matched again. On a personal level that often comes down to the slightly over zealous vocals from guitarist Andy Hughes. As a six-string master, this chap is a talent of taste and distinction, but as a vocalist, I have to say that his looser than loose style makes the already dangerously schmoozing “Rain Another Day” just a little more lightweight than it should be - and I can’t help but wonder that if someone asked Toto to write music for a Yes album, would it sound like this? Frustratingly, the musicianship on show remains ridiculously high, but the heft and grandeur of what came before now feels as though it’s been left on the sidelines, especially when the ‘poom-poom!’ of electronic drums punctuate proceedings. “So They Tell Me” adds some more jazzy flavours to the bright sounds that take the lead and some passages on this ten minute piece are hugely uplifting as a result. Whereas I must admit that the much more straight forward - but which again leaves me really rather cold vocally - “Spider”, does feel a little like it’s been tacked on to the end of the three main pieces here to nudge this collection to just over the 40 minute mark. In terms of style it’s not particularly connected to the two previous tracks, while it’s a hundred miles or so away from “Odyssey”.

When Make The Promise is good, it really is drop-dead awesome, but for me that only really applies to the magnificent opening track on this debut release. None of the other pieces could be described as poor, but then neither do they come all that close to replicating the high standards the introductory cut leaves little doubt that mobiUS can attain. That said, the promise shown is, at times, off the charts, so what comes next could be very intriguing indeed.

Track Listing
1. Odyssey
2. Rain Another Day
3. So They Tell Me
4. Spider

Added: May 8th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: mobiUS @ bandcamp
Hits: 345
Language: english

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