Esoteric Antenna [Release Date: 26.02.16]
It must be very difficult if your day job is vocalist for a Genesis tribute band to sound like anything other than said progressive rock Gods.
But is this necessarily a bad thing?
There is no prospect (at the time of writing) of a Genesis reunion, no prospect of any new material and surely the well has run dry of long-lost out-takes and demos?
So the opportunity to wallow in the nostalgia of the ’70’s whilst listening to a wonderful, contemporary progressive rock masterpiece is a pleasure surely not to be denied.
Tony Patterson is the vocalist (and flautist) of the pre-eminent Genesis tribute band ReGenesis, who specialise in Gabriel-era album re-creation, so he knows his way around the intricacies of the genre.
Odd then that much of ‘Equations Of Meaning’ has the vibe, to these ears anyway, of ‘A Trick Of The Tail’ or ‘Wind And Wuthering’ – albeit with Gabriel’s vocal stylings.
And this is what makes ‘Equations Of Meaning’ so fascinating – if Gabriel had stayed with Genesis but taken a back seat on the songwriting front – would this have been the result?
Pure conjecture I know, and irrelevant really as this is an album that stands on its own two feet – but still, food for thought…
The eleven tracks get underway with the instrumental ‘Ghosts’ – its chiming arpeggios and Hackettesque flute fully evocative of the sleeve image.
Follow-up track ‘The Magdalene Fields’ utilises a very similar guitar arpeggio and has a real ‘Entangled / Ripples’ nuance – it also features the first appearance of the recurring use of mournful brass fills (in this case sax, but also horn on a few tracks) – which add splendidly to the overall ambience.
Highlights appear with predictable regularity; the drifting melancholia of ‘Cast Away’, the church-like vocal stylings and flanged guitar of the instrumental ‘The Angel And The Dreamer’, the psych vibe and forlorn horn coda of ‘Beneath A Perfect Sky’ and the almost James Bond-alike orchestration of ‘Sycophant’ all play their part in an irresistible collection of songs.
Bearing in mind that Patterson is a vocalist, it’s to his credit that the lyrics do not dominate proceedings but act only as a message for the brilliance of the music – no Meatloaf here…
The album terminates with ‘The Kindest Eyes’ – a song which in lesser hands could have you reaching for the sick bucket, but actually comes across as one of the finest love songs you’ve ever heard.
Patterson’s grounding in the fine arts of progressive rock (let’s face it, if you’re in a tribute band you’d damn well better sound like them) stands him in good stead here and, together with a coterie of stellar musicians, has helped him not only to produce an exceptional album of melodic progressive rock but also helped nail the lie that tribute band members can only be mere copyists.
Great stuff. *****
Review by Alan Jones
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