Album review: VAST CONDUIT – Always Be There

VAST CONDUIT - Always Be There

Vast Music Conduit [Release date 16.02.22]

I have to admit I’ve never really been into the American prog rockers Enchant but – after hearing this – I think I should.  The band flourished in the neo-prog decade of the 1990s. Their debut album in 1993 featured Steve Rothery.  A spin-off of sorts is this latest album from the band’s keyboard player (since 2003) Bill Jenkins.

To those who appreciate Flower Kings or Spock’s Beard and even Toto in proggier mode you’ll find much to like here.  There is a jazz fusion influence strongly in evidence too.

If it lies on the softer ground of AOR/prog rock it is nicely orchestrated and there’s some tasty solos, mainly from Jenkins but also from guitarist Michael Harris.

Both musicians (along with bassist Jeff Plant) have also featured in the band Thought Chamber with Enchant vocalist Ted Leonard.  They  punctuate tracks like ‘Barrier’ and ‘Wesley Save Us’ with flamboyant flourishes throughout.  Vocalist Friel’s style is not dissimilar to  Leonard who himself has been compared to Steve Walsh (Kansas).

‘Always Be There’ is a real standout starting with Jenkins’ rolling piano motif and Harris’ fluid guitar. ‘Endless Days’ reminds a little of short-form Hackett. ’500 Miles’ and ‘Early Eclipse’ are Toto-esque in their immediacy.

The album is spiced with several superb instrumentals including ‘Soul Tuck’ , the jazz funk of ‘Too Busy’ (a great showcase too for bassist Plant), the fusion flavours of ‘Philly Etymology’ with Tom Abraira’s guest trumpet and ‘Of A Feather’ featuring Jim Hurley’s violin – a sort of more upbeat Mahavishnu Orchestra.

If the Enchant back catalogue now beckons – at least from the early millennium let’s not make this too arduous – what we really want to hear is a follow-up to ‘Always Be There’.  ****1/2

Review by David Randall

Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 22 May.

Next session: Sunday 17 July.

Check out previous videos here:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 19 June 2022.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 21 June 2022.

How to Listen Live?

Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)

Listen via Windows Media Player. Click or tap here and “open file”
Listen via other media player (eg. VLC) Click or tap here and “open file”

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.

More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages:

Power Plays w/c 27 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
REVIVAL BLACK Broken Home (TMR Records)
FLOYA Epiphany (indie)
TWISTER Own Worst Enemy (indie)
MODERN MIMES Down And Dead (Curtain Call Records)
TUNGSTEN Northern Lights (Arising Empire)
THE GREAT LESLIE Feel Alive (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 27 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GRACE Hope (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CLASSLESS ACT Welcome To the Show (Better Noise Music)
14:00-16:00 TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT Day By Day (indie)

Popular (last 30 days)

Leave a comment/Main Menu

Please log in/register