Public Service Broadcasting – The War Room (2012)

Public Service Broadcasting - The War Room

I saw this band in concert on the BBC a few weeks ago and I was severely impressed. They were a trio playing various guitars, drums, keyboards and DJ type stuff.

The only ‘vocals’, if you could call it that, were to be found in the spoken word samples from old public service broadcasting reels.

Anyway, it was all very effective: penning a sound somewhere between Kraftwerk and early Porcupine Tree. Think of Voyage 34 and all that stuff about Brian’s first trip and you’ll soon get the idea.

The first track If War Should Come sets the scene for this EP with lots of dialogue about what would happen if the war came to Britain. And then we get London Can Take It, an absolutely stellar song. This is followed by Spitfire, a song all about the Spitfire fighter plane, with a cracking voice over. Great guitar riff.

Then we have Dig for Victory followed by the last track . . . a much more mellow tune called Waltz for George.

It’s hard to describe this music. It’s sort of familiar, yet far out at the same time.

Occasionally, it feels like you are listening to a Harry Enfield sketch on account of all the BBC type voices. But this is serious stuff, cleverly put together with just the right amount of acoustic instruments to keep it the right side of organic.

You’ll either love it or hate, I guess. I love it!

Spock’s Beard – Live At Sea (2014)

Spock's Beard - Live at Sea (2014)

Here we are with yet another entry in the Beard’s live album discography. This differs from the others as it was recorded on a boat(!): the so-called Progressive Nation at Sea cruise and also features a certain Neal Morse on June and The Light.

The album features a good mix of old versus new (3 new, 3 old!):

  1. Something Very Strange (09:07)
  2. Hiding Out (07:45)
  3. Walking on the Wind (09:55)
  4. Waiting for Me (14:37)
  5. June (7:09)
  6. The Light (19:19)

As you would expect from the Beard, audio quality is first rate, the performances are mostly top-notch with a nod going to Alan Morse, who must surely be one of the most underrated guitarists around. A brilliant player.

There are a couple of bum notes in The Light, which is to be expected, I guess, but it in no way detracts from what I consider to the their best live album by miles.

Heartily and unreservedly recommended.

Big Big Train: Make Some Noise EP (2013)

Big Big Train - Make Some Noise EP

Big Big Train have re-released their previous two albums English Electric Part One and English Electric Part Part Two (both unmitigated works of genius) as one album called English Electric Full Power with 4 bonus tracks + 96 page booklet. So one doesn’t feel obliged to have to buy them all …

Read moreBig Big Train: Make Some Noise EP (2013)

Blood Ceremony: the Eldritch Dark (2013)

This is the Canadian band’s third album and, I think, their best. Fusing seventies hard rock with some progressive flourishes – like a mixture of Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Curved Air and a dash of Fairport Convention, not to mention the overt paganism of the lyrics – the band have produced …

Read moreBlood Ceremony: the Eldritch Dark (2013)

Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman – Ravens & Lullabies (2013)

This is the first electric album from Giltrap in many years. On Ravens & Lullabies he has partnered with Oliver Wakeman and together they have concocted a delightful semi-prog rock record. By semi, I mean if you like Alan Parsons Project and Kayak, then this is right up your street. …

Read moreGordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman – Ravens & Lullabies (2013)