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The Tangent – Auto Reconnaissance

The Tangent
Auto Reconnaissance
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 24 July 2020, 2:27 PM

In the past 15 years or so, the world of contemporary progressive rock music has seemed to solidify on bands who either tow the expected traditional lines of the genre, and those who spend a lot of their time denying that they play "Prog" at all. And then there's THE TANGENT.
Wearing the badge of Progressive Rock proudly on their sleeves the band have never been afraid to show their wide ranging 70’s Progressive influences from ELP through to HATFIELD & THE NORTH and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, never been ashamed to celebrate fantasy artwork album sleeves - yet never been content to do just those things. “Auto Reconnaissance” contains six tracks, plus a bonus song.

“Life on Hold” leads off the album. It definitely rocks with that old 70’s style feeling, with vocal harmonies and bass guitar parts brought to life. Weird, eccentric, and with the use of unconventional instruments, it belongs to THE TANGENT alone. “Jinxed in Jersey” is just under sixteen-minutes in length, and it sounds like a very personal story. The tale stays easy listening at first, then it gets a little heavier. The tale is told in the first person, as a story. The instruments echo the story but man this is some odd stuff here. “Under your Spell” has a gentle sway, with some psychedelic elements, along with some light sax. The instruments are very light as are the vocals.

“The Tower of Babel” is another shorter song, that moves forward with a funky groove. You toe starts tapping and the positive tones come through strong. This song has a little more structures as well…it’s much more linear. “Lie Back and Think of England” is one of the longest song I have ever heard; at just under 29 minutes in length. As expected, it’s a bit of a free jam, as it has to be. A few minutes in, angry, spoken words come in. This song for me really borders on the Jazz genre. I think I heard a chorus tucked in there somewhere. It waxes and waned throughout, and is such a personal sound.

“The Midas Touch” is another linear song with some structure, talking about memories of summer and finer things. The vocals and lyrics are playful, and an energy radiates from the music. “Welcome back my winter sun, you give the Midas touch to everyone.” “Proxima” closes the album; a 12-minute bonus track. It takes a while to get going, opening with soft but tense tones. Around the four-minute mark, it picks up, still with those tense tones. The keyboards were set loose here, as the dominate much of the latter half of the song. It’s an interesting song, but seems out of place with the earlier ones. But then again, when you’re a Prog band, expect anything.

Overall, I found the album pleasing, but odd at times. As a long time Prog fan, I always gravitate to things out of the ordinary. What we have here is just that. The songs are so personal, that you are either going to connect with them and love them, or not be able to connect with them. It was somewhere in between for me. I think the basic lack of connection was the free-flowing jazz approach that the band took on much of the album. But hey, like what you like and don’t care about what others think.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Life on Hold
2. Jinxed in Jersey
3. Under your Spell
4. The Tower of Babel
5. Lie Back and Think of England
6. The Midas Touch
7. Proxima
Andy Tillison – Vocals, Lyrics, Keyboards, Composer
Jonas Reingold – Bass Guitar
Theo Travis – Sax & Flute
Luke Machin – Guitar
Steve Roberts – Drums
Record Label: Inside Out Music


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