ESP 2.0 22 Layers Of Sunlight [Release date 20.04.18] www.suncreative.com
ESP released a very enjoyable prog rock album in 2016′s ‘Invisible Din’ and now they are back with a revamped line-up. Composer/producer/guitarist Tony Lowe and Big Country drummer Mark Brzezicki are joined by former Lotus Eaters vocalist Peter Coyle this time around.
The first album had a series of guest musicians, however this album has a more band feel about it as the aforementioned trio are joined by bassist Pete Clark and for live dates keyboardist Richard Smith (who plays piano on ‘Smiling Forever’).
It is a concept piece based on the ideas from Peter Coyle based on the near future where a cortex slave system runs the world via the world wide and a world inhabited by cyborgs.
The music is orchestral and sweeping in its scope, with lots of keyboards and the highly melodic vocals of Peter Coyle. Adding him to the line-up has added an extra dimension to ESP’s sound – the wonderful vocals and harmonies on the title track are a fine example of this, although they can still prog out on instrumentals like ‘Ride Through Reality’.
Mark Brzezicki really seems to come into his own playing in ESP, with a wonderful drum outro on ‘Algorithm’ and his steady, yet inventive playing driving along the music.
ESP 2.0 have done it again with another album full of intriguing and enjoyable music. ’22 Layers Of Sunlight’ will certainly propel them further into the upper echelons of progressive music. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
ROAMER What The Hell [Release date 27.04.18] www.czarofcrickets.com
Roamer hail from Switzerland having released a couple of EPs to date. The band consists of Samuel Blatter (vocals, keys), Simon Rupp (guitar), Christian Weber (bass, vocals) and Martin Stebler (drums/vocals) and they have been working on and off for the past ten years to create this, their debut album.
Musically it walks the alternative rock path, sometimes recalling the Eels on ‘Sick Enough’ and hitting the spot on ‘There’s No Me’, a beast of a tune. Otherwise it is slim pickings and not an album that is going to really help Roamer stand out from the crowd. **1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
UNRULY CHILD Unhinged: Live From Milan Frontiers [Release date 23.02.18]
This was recorded last year at the Frontiers festival and it marked a special occasion as the band – all originals which is a novelty these days – performed the band’s 1992 self-titled debut album in full. Of course they arrived in the days of grunge which put paid to wider success the album deserved and indeed the band who split in 1992, before coming back in 1998 with Kelly Hansen replacing Marci Free on vocals.
Do they still have it in 2017? Oh yes indeed and they sail through ‘Let’s Talk About Love’ and ‘Is It Over’, Marci Free is on fine form and the keys soar at just the right time, AOR-tastic. ‘Who Cries Now’ ends of the debut album ends their set in style and a suitably rocking end.
A no brainer for fans of the band to own, plus the DVD adds ‘This Is Who I Am’, which isn’t on the CD. Unruly Child were back then and still are now, one of the leading melodic rock acts out there. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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Power Plays w/c 24 January (Mon-Fri)
UNTIL 9 Headstone (indie)
MARSHALL POTTS The Storm (indie)
WAKING THE ANGELS Stand Back From The Redline (CD Baby)
BLACKTOP MOJO Strike Me (indie)
THE KARMA EFFECT Steal Your Heart (indie)
REVIVAL BLACK Believe (indie)
KUBRICK Devastate (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 24 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GIANT Shifting Time (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE FERRYMEN One More River To Cross (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 PEGGY JAMES The Parade (indie)
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