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.

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 …

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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. …

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Andy Burrows: Company

Andy Burrows - Company

Artist / Title: Andy Burrows: Company (2012) Month Reviewed: June 2013 Format: CD Well, here is an album that has the words ‘pleasant surprise’ written all over it! Andy Burrows was the drummer in Razorlight, a UK indie/rock band that I had little time for. Anyway, here he is with his second solo album, …

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Abel Ganz: Shooting Albatross (2008)

Abel Ganz - Shooting Abatross

Artist / Title: Abel Ganz: Shooting Albatross (2008) Month Reviewed: April 2011 Format: CD Buy: Abel Ganz are one of those bands that seem to have been around forever. First time I heard them was on some cassette sampler and they were also mentioned in the book of British Progressive …

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Spock’s Beard: X

Artist / Title: Spocks’ Beard: X Month Reviewed: October 2010 Format: CD 10th studio album from this US band (I wonder how they came up with the album title?!) and quite possibly their best. Having said that, it took a good few spins to come to that conclusion. Featuring 5 …

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Quidam: the Time Beneath the Sky

Artist / Title: Quidam: the Time Beneath the Sky Month Reviewed: July 2002 Format: CD Buy: Quidam release their latest album (their 3rd studio work) and it features 10 tracks, among which is a cover of Led Zeppelin‘s ‘No Quarter’. Apart from that track, all the others are sung in …

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Porcupine Tree: Stars Die

Artist / Title: Porcupine Tree: Stars Die Month Reviewed: April 2002 Format: CD Buy: Stars Die is a double CD of the bands best work for the Delirium Records label in the period 1991-1997. It comes in a nice box with a rather excellent 36 page booklet packed with interviews, …

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