Tigermoth Records [Release date 02.09.13]
Rob Reed, fresh from his triumphant ‘Kompendium’ project (a real ‘follow that’ job if ever there was one) has returned to his day job in Magenta with Christina Booth and Chris Fry to deliver yet another masterpiece with ‘The Twenty Seven Club’.
The Twenty Seven Club is an imaginary clique of musicians and artists all of whom died at the ridiculously young age of twenty seven – when most were at the zenith of their powers.
And this is Reed’s paean to the members of that exclusive club – not trying to emulate their styles or genres, but diving deep into his progressive rock roots to produce an album of stunning quality.
Each track is individually dedicated to and written about six members of the club – Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain and Robert Johnson – to give titles such as The Lizard King, Ladyland Blues, Pearl, etc.
This is also Reed’s accolade to the progressive rock gods of the 70s and 80s and much of this sounds like the finest album Yes never made – if you can imagine a female fronted Yes (not that difficult I shouldn’t think), you’re there.
In many ways Rob Reed has taken a back seat, performance wise, and has let the superlative fretwork of Chris Fry and the breathtaking vocal stylings of Ms. Booth come very much to the fore.
Nowhere is this more evident than on ‘Pearl’ where Fry’s soaring solo and Booth’s ability to wring out the very essence of the subject matter combine to leave the listener thinking ‘did I really hear that?’
That this is just one of innumerable highlights here evidences the fact that this is really something a bit special.
Despite the obvious stylistic comparisons to ‘70s prog rock (check out the Genesis-are-us ‘Ladyland Blues’ and Yes-a-like ‘Stoned’), the album has a very contemporary rock feel about it so all accusations of blatant plagarism will fall on stony ground.
Magenta have a mixed back-catalogue – gems like ‘Home’ and ‘Seven’ rub shoulders with the (slightly) less worthy ‘Metamorphosis’ and previous effort ‘Chameleon’ – but when they get it right, they really get it right and this is, without doubt, up there with the best work the band have ever produced, and, for me anyway, an absolute shoo-in for one of the best albums of the year.
Yes, it really is that good.
Review by Alan Jones
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