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The Tangent - Proxy Award winner

The Tangent
Proxy
by Martin Knap at 24 December 2018, 8:07 AM

You don’t see a Jazz/Rock fusion album reviewed every day on Metal Temple, but variety is the spice of life, so I think many will appreciate that we review non-Metal albums as well. Although a lot of Prog Rock hasn’t aged very well, there are lots of timeless classics and the music created in England in the 70s serves as a inspiration to many musicians to this day. And ironically KING CRIMSON or PINK FLOYD sound less dated to me then Punk music that was a musical “F you” to Prog.

THE TANGENT are a band from the UK formed in 2002 erstwhile as a side project by members of a UK band called PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES and the Swedish Prog band THE FLOWER KINGS, but then became a full-fledged band and now releasing their eleventh studio album – quite an impressive output. To me THE TANGENT do Prog exactly right: they avoid some of the cheesiness and pomp that became associated with Prog Rock (in other words they sound like the cool bands: the CRIMSONS, GENTLE GIANTS, etc.); they add a hefty dose of Jazz to their Rock and display mad musical skills while not sounding overblown; they are progressive in the true sense of the word, i.e. they don’t limit themselves to what’s been “codified” as Prog in the past; and they have fantastic lyrics – a level of lyricism that I would compare to PORCUPINE TREE or MARILLION ex-singer Fish’s solo-work.

The album consists of five songs, two of which are 16 minutes long. The first song “Proxy” – the title song – has a long instrumental opening, the verse doesn’t even start until the fourth minute, and of course there are other compositional shifts and extended instrumental sections. The lyrics have a social-critical message, but are not annoying or preachy. This is one of two social-critical songs on the album, other songs are more personal or intimate, so there is a nice balance. The second song with the beautiful poetic title “The Melting Andalusian Sky” is a circa 9 minutes long instrumental piece. The song is built on a nice contrast between a kind of mellow Pat Metheny-esque Pop-Jazz and a heavier Prog-Rock groove.

A Case Of Misplaced” optimism is the shortest piece on the album, the song has a nice groove and witty lyrics. “The Adulthood Lie” is the most adventurous song on the album, and it’s lovely. The beginning is very upbeat, with a vocal hook repeated over a kind of jazzy break-beat. Many parts of the song have an electronica vibe to them, like the squiggly synth line in the verse and chorus in the main body of the song, that comes only in the sixth minute. There are even moments that remind of some softer House Music. The album closes with the song “Supper’s Off”, which is one of the more straight-forward Prog-Rock songs on “Proxy". It rails against the absurdities and hypocrisy of modern society and does so in a refreshingly direct way.

This album was very pleasant surprise to me, I could almost play it on repeat. The world might be going to hell, but with grade-A Prog coming out in 2018 it feels like music isn’t.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Proxy
2.  The Melting Andalusian Skies
3.  A Case Of Misplaced Optimism
4.  The Adulthood Lie
5.  Supper’s Off
Lineup:
Andy Tillison – Vocals, Keyboards
Jonas Reingold – Bass Guitar
Theo Travis – Sax & Flute
Luke Machin – Guitar
Steve Roberts – Drums
Goran Edman (Special Guest) – Vocals
Record Label: Inside Out Music
     


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Edited 19 January 2021
 

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