Prog Round-up: April 2015
Geoff Barton on new releases from Pendragon, Lawrence’s Creation, Jeff Green Project, Cailyn and Markus Neuwirth
Pendragon: Men Who Climb Mountains
“Enclosed is a copy of our new album,” prickly Pendragon mainman Nick Barrett informs us in a hastily written note, adding: “Someone sometimes has just gotta write some songs when we’re all drowning in a whirlpool of prog twaddle.”
The CD cover depicts a wretched, bloody-knuckled, old-school mountaineer, and sums up perfectly the spirit of the music Barrett has created. These caustic, guitar-driven songs celebrate the courage of daredevil adventurers but suggest that a mad-eyed quest for glory can also provide a cowardly escape from the mundanities of everyday life. The double-edged message comes into stark focus on sprawling centrepiece Explorers Of The Infinite, which focuses on one man’s blinkered hankering ‘to climb the jagged peaks... to flirt with danger and the criminally insane’.
From spectral opener Belle Âme to the smouldering intensity of closing track Netherworld, this is edgy, barbed, precarious stuff. Although they formed in 1978, Pendragon are no archaic throwbacks. Rather, they’re at the very forefront of contemporary prog – quite an achievement. (8/10)