White Knight Records [Release date 26.10.18]
Fellow reviewer Alan Jones gave ‘both barrels’ to South Wales proggers C Sides last release – We Are Now (2017) – suggesting that the band, featuring ex Magenta members guitarist Martin Rosser and drummer Allen Mason-Jones, would be well served in picking up the phone to their old mucker Rob Reed for a few tips in quality control.
Whether or not they made that call, 10 Days – the band’s subsequent, and third album, addresses many of the shortcomings of its predecessor – shorter, more succinct tracks clocking in at an overall vinyl LP running length, and with Sian Elson (vocals) and Kevin Dawson (keyboards) bringing new, enhanced, dimensions to the band’s sound.
All in all it makes the band – rebranded as The C Sides Project – a different proposition to what has gone before.
But unfortunately, 10 Days – a concept piece centred around the 10 days spent by journalist Nellie Bly – who feigned insanity to investigate reports of brutality and neglect at New York’s Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell Island in the late 1800s – still comes up short of expectations.
And for me it comes down to a couple of things – while there’s some unquestionably good playing all round, again from Rosser in particular – the material just doesn’t have barbed enough hooks, and the intermittent use of spoken narrative and ‘contemporaneous’ sound effects spoils repeat plays.
But 10 Days does move the band forward in evolutionary terms, and if you like Magenta and similar bands, go to bandcamp.com and give it a listen. It may be to your liking. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
Album review (We Are Now, 2017)
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