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
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Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
Power Plays w/c 25 November (Mon-Fri)
Throughout December we are featuring Best of 2019 selections from the GRTR! Reviewers.
Featured Albums w/c 25 November (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock Featured Albums of 2019
12:00-13:00 Melodic Hard Rock Featured Albums of 2019
14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter Featured Albums of 2019
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
A selection of albums featured in 2019
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