With a little help from Classic Rock Announces Prog magazine (OK, that’s not precisely the title but we like the acronym better), and carefully avoiding ITV in the evenings, we finally found some decent music.
- Touchstone do that cheesy 80s retro-rock thing, but they do it very well. Especially the bit in the middle where the drummer thumps the toms while the crowd roars. Hear more on their MySpace page; “Strange Days” and “Being Hannah” are both excellent. (We assume their songs are mixed by the guitarist, or the guitarist’s mother, or someone else who really, really loves the guitarist.)
- Astra sound exactly like ‘71-period Floyd with a mellotron loaned from Crimson. Spacey noodling with a decent melody for the choruses.
- We should have mentioned Riverside before now; one of the few neo-prog bands that is genuinely talented, rather than being merely poor imitators, and can marry their undeniable technical skill to a true understanding of the musical form. “I turned you down” is Floyd for the 21st century, while the arrangement of “Second Life Syndrome” is certified genius, with the final section suggesting that they enjoyed playing it too much to finish. Lead track off their next album, “Egoist Hedonist”, sees the clever buggers start to swing too. Like most traditional crafts in Britain these days, if you want it done decently, you have to get a gang of Poles in.
- Not much to do with the above, but VAST have a download mini album out called Bang Band SiXXX that marks a definite return to form after the rather underwhelming “April”. Jon Crosby: he knows how to love, you know. Now open the swarfega and put the gloves on.
- We wanted to mention bands like Magenta, The Reasoning, Mostly Autumn and Panic Room, especially as three of them are Welsh. But unfortunately, they’re a bit Tim Henman so far. a) Write some proper songs. b) Don’t let the blokes sing. You know, like All About Eve actually did it.