There is an old adage that states that you should never judge a book by the cover.
I think another maxim should be never judge an album by its first track.
‘Last Day Of Apathy’, the opening track on this, the debut album of London based prog rockers Jade Vine, whilst not a duffer, gives very little indication of the joys to follow on what is a little gem of an album.
Mentored and co-produced by Anathama’s neo-prog leading light Danny Cavanagh, the undeniable influence of said band is writ large across these 10 tracks, which is no bad thing, but to suggest that Jade Vine have slavishly followed the Anathema template would be doing them a great disservice.
This is a real melting pot of progressive rock influences ranging from, inevitably, Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree to as left-field as Nick Drake with a soupcon of ‘Street Spirit’ Radiohead tossed in for good measure.
If this sounds an odd mix, it is, but it works brilliantly.
The guitar is the weapon of choice here with some memorable acoustic and slabs of grinding electric – but always melodic, purposeful and without gratuitous grandstanding. The song is all.
The highlight for me is the magnificent acoustic ballad ‘Drop Of Sorrow’ with its almost Queen-like harmonies and deft fretwork it’s just waiting to be picked up and played over the final credits of an as yet unmade tear-jerking movie.
Strangely enough, the closer ‘Say It Sell It’ is the only other weakish track on the album and it’s unfortunate that the band have chosen to book-end the whole work with, it must be said, the two least interesting things here. It is also worthy of note that these two tracks are the high voltage rockers, suggesting they are much better when they don’t try too hard to rock out – to be a rock and not to roll?
As a debut album Jade Vine have put together a fine piece of work that, although not flawless, deserves to be heard. The (latter day) Anathema inspiration is there for all to hear but the amalgam of its diverse influences makes the whole album so much more than its constituent parts.
Review by Alan Jones
Alan sequences “The Eclectic Mix” third Sunday of the month on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits
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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections
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