Sunn Creative [Release date 11.11.16]
ESP is an interesting collaboration as it features producer/guitarist Tony Lowe and Big Country drummer Mark Brzezicki, the latter maybe not someone you’d associate with progressive rock. Tony Lowe composed all the music and Alison Fleming co-wrote the lyrics with him. There are some notable guests including Lifesign’s John Young, David Cross (ex-King Crimson), Phil Spalding (Elton John/GTR/Mike Oldfield) and Steve Gee (Landmarq).
The album’s story is based around a man’s memories of his childhood illness and a ghostly, healing presence as he ventures into an astral world (Alison Fleming provides the voice of the Ghost throughout the album).
Pink Floyd is the one band that kept coming to mind when listening to this album, from the Floyd-esque musical arrangements on ‘Overture’ and then the Gilmour approved solos on ‘Through The Dream’. The sax and flute playing of David Jackson (ex-Van Der Graaf Generator) weave in and out of the songs he appears on, none more so than on ‘Overture’. Adding this to the musical mix gives it another dimension and works well within the album’s overall sound.
Little bit of jazz/prog on ‘Quiet Days’, not my personal cup of musical tea, however the musicianship is again top notch. Camel (‘Nude’ onwards) would be another musical reference point, as ESP – like Camel – pay lots of attention to the musical detail on each song they create.
The symphonic/big sound created make this album one that will stand up to repeated plays. Interesting listen and it certainly grabs the listener’s attention taking them on a marvelous musical journey. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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