Tangent, The: A Place In The Queue
The music world was completely taken by surprise in 2003 by The Tangent. The Music That Died Alone was so well written and so strongly performed, by musicians that had not even been in the same room together, that listeners were completely surprised. That is a tough thing to repeat. A Place In The Queue, the third release of The Tangent now comes with hype and expectations, two things that can stall any new release. But thankfully, Andy Tillison delivers the goods.
Unlike the many part format (partially caused by writing credits) of The Music That Died Alone, the two epics on this CD are recorded in whole. "In Earnest" kicks off the CD, setting the lyrical tone of following direction, with a full out assault that proves that even with out Roine Stolt this CD was going to rock. Of course any time Jonas Reingold is involved with any CD, you know it is going to groove. "In Earnest" sounds the most like prior Tangent releases, although all of these songs give a nod to the Canterbury sound. The twists that come in at the halfway mark, have Krister Jonsson and Tillison exchanging riffs, while Reingold goes wild. This may be one of the best moments in prog-rock in years, although like many Flower King moments, it is hard to keep that awe when spinning through 20 minutes of creativeness. A good song that probably could have been a little shorter.
"DIY Surgery", a Travis/Middleton song, not only proves that The Tangent are becoming a true band, but provides the jazziest piece they have ever done. It is a nice interlude to break up the CD and leads nicely into "GPS Counter". It and "Follow Your Leaders", which reminds me a little of the last Planet P Project release, are the most forward in regards to preaching against the current world leadership. "GPS Culture" is a keyboard extreme piece of music that (if you ratcheted up the vocals a full octave) could have been on a late 70s Yes album.
"Lost In London" and "The Sun In My Eyes" are the most accessible songs on A Place In The Queue. The former contains excellent flute counter melodies while the former almost sounds like it could get airtime on a rock station. Don't get me wrong, "The Sun In My Eyes" is a fantastic song, it just sounds a little out of place in the same way that "Up-Hill From Here" did.
Of course, in the true tradition of rock, the most ambitious song is saved for last. "A Place In The Queue" starts off dark and haunting with a soprano-sax line that is golden. An interesting trio of keyboard, guitar, and saxophone all play through with a unique sax sound. Guy Manning takes over the vocals temporarily, building the song on, until a tasteful guitar and then keyboard solo brings us back to the opening saxophone line. Once again, Reingold is outstanding throughout. The Tangent will never again be the wonderful surprise that shocked us 3 years ago, but as they continue to grow as a band and explore their combined sounds, they will still wow us. Highly recommended.
1. In Earnest (20:03)
2. Lost In London (8:08)
3. DIY Surgery (2:16)
4. GPS Culture (10:07)
5. Follow Your Leaders (9:21)
6. The Sun In My Eyes (3:44)
7. A Place In The Queue (25:19)
Added: December 26th 2006
Reviewer: Steve Ambrosius
Related Link: The Tangent
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|Tangent, The: A Place In The Queue
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-12-26 09:01:29
Third time's a charm? That is surely the case with A Place In the Queue from The Tangent. The band's debut The Music That Died Alone a few years back was a surprisingly stellar release from this virtual supergroup, and while their sophomore outing The World That We Drive Through was solid, many of the expectations weren't fully met. Well, The Tangent how sound like a fully realized band on A Place In the Queue, seamlessly integrating their Canterbury fusion and symphonic prog styles into one confident attack that works wonders throughout this CD. The epic opener "In Earnest" is a perfect example of this, a song filled with tasty jazz nuggets and plenty of prog bombast. The dueling keyboards of leader Andy Tillison and Sam Baine (who are quickly becoming the most lethal keyboard combo in prog) on organ, Moog, piano, and various other instruments, create plenty of sonic landscapes and raging lead breaks, while the newcomer on guitar, Krister Jonsson, offers up plenty of fusiony solos. Of course, when you have bassist Jonas Reingold and drummer Jaime Salazar on board, expect rhythms of the highest quality, which they deliver on this piece and throughout the album.
"Lost in London" contains some lovely flute melodies from Theo Travis, and coupled with Jonsson's crunchy guitar riffs and Tillison's charming vocals, brings to mind modern day Jethro Tull. "D.I.Y. Surgery" is a raging Canterbury fusion piece, with complex sax/keys/guitar arrangements, and will instantly appeal to fans of Soft Machine, Hatfield & the North, National Health, and perhaps even Gentle Giant. At just over 2-minutes long it ends way too quickly, and we can only hope the band offers up more in this style on future releases. "GPS Culture" is up next, a bouncy prog number with muscular bass grooves from Reingold, driving Hammond licks, and melodic flute. Heavier, almost Deep Purple inspired arrangements follow on the rocking "Follow Your Leaders", a Hammond driven number that also features some crafty vocals from Tillison and jazzy sax breaks & smooth flute solos from Travis. Towards the end of the piece Jonsson delivers a stunning guitar solo, which will quickly will make you forget that Roine Stolt no longer plays in this band.
After the funky & symphonic "The Sun In My Eyes" (a real catchy, radio friendly number), the band launches into the 25-minute title track, a dark and symphonic number showing all the influences of the band. Starting off with some jazzy sax from Travis, lovely acoustic guitar from Guy Manning, and Tillison's gentle vocals, the song slowly starts to build. Before long waves of keyboards and guitars kick in, led by Theo's raging yet smoky sax. Around the mid-way point the band kicks into some lean & mean progressive funk, featuring wicked Hammond, wild Clavinet sounds, wah-wah guitars, and intricate rhythms. Throughout the rest of the way the song morphs and undulates into many different beasts, allowing the jazz, prog, hard rock, and fusion heads all time to pop out and show their colors, but it all works. Again, the keyboard synergy between Tillison and Baine is just stunning, and when Jonsson decides to drop in on the fun and duel with them, look out!
The deluxe edition of A Place In the Queue includes a bonus CD containing three other songs not included on the regular album, "Promises Were Made", "The First Day At School", and "Forsaken Cathedrals", all three being solid pieces and could have warranted this release originally being a double album. In fact, if you add in the two instrumental ambient pieces also on this bonus disc, "Grooving On Mars" and "Kartoffelsalat Im Unterseeboot", there is plenty of material on this special edition that basically makes this a fully realized double album. The artwork by Ed Unitsky that adorns the album is simply marvelous, and quite frankly the booklet that comes with this CD is one of the best I have seen in quite some time, as it's filled with artwork, photographs, commentary from Tillison, and lyrics.
Simply a mandatory release for fans of modern progressive rock-'nuff said.
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