Cyclops Records [Release Date 17.06.13]
If classic/prog rock, well played with clever, insightful lyrics is the sort of thing that lights up your musical world you really should have a closer look at this little gem from Mother Black Cap.
Hailing from the eastern edges of the Norfolk Broads, the band have been delivering their very individual brand of rock since 2005 and ‘Energy’ is their third studio album.
Good to see the band releasing the album on Cyclops Records – a much loved independent label responsible for the early output of such prog luminaries as Mostly Autumn, The Pineapple Thief, Karda Estra, Twelfth Night and a good many more.
Ten tracks on offer and things get underway with the very Barclay James Harvest-esque ‘Modern World’ which sets the scene, especially lyrically, for what follows with its cynical observations of modern life and what’s going wrong.
In fact, this cynical world view is a theme that runs through the album with lines like ‘as smug as Simon Cowell, the ego of Steve Wright’ (We’re Moving On) and ‘by the time you reach the age of 55 you wonder that you are still alive (Fifty Five) and titles like ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down’.
It’s good poetry but it is also great music with many and varied influences throughout – so you find early Genesis rubbing shoulders with Camel, Focus and even Spock’s Beard to deliver a cocktail of sustained interest across the whole album.
The musicianship is also peerless and incorporates instruments not usually associated with progressive rock – so you have trumpet, flugelhorn, fiddle and mandolin thrown into the mix, all conspiring with the guitars and keys to keep the interest levels high.
No doubt there will be the knockers who will decry all the cynicism, but there are lighter moments and even occasional hilarity to sweeten the pill – and, at the end of the day, they’re a band who tell it like it is, which is surely what good music is all about.
I bet they’re a blast live as well. ****
Review by Alan Jones
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