The best Prog you can buy this month
Jo Kendall on the latest releases from Tiger Moth Tales, Intervals, Turn Me On Dead Man, Field Music, Jordan Rudess And Steve Horelick
Tiger Moth Tales - Depths Of Winter
Good old prog, never afeared of a Christmas album. That’s what Depths Of Winter essentially is, Pete Jones savvily giving his third LP a broader titling for a longer shelf life.
But Jones is a clever cookie musically, too. The Nottingham-based performer lost his sight to retinoblastoma at 15 months old, but by the age of four was playing the piano. In 1988, aged eight, he won the junior final of the BBC’s A Song For Christmas competition.
Perhaps Depths has been fermenting in his mind ever since then, being 10 tracks of exquisitely crafted pastoral neo-prog with a nifty Game Of Thrones reference right at the get-go (Winter Is Coming).
On this album, Jones excels not only as a storyteller, but also as an arranger and instrumentalist, a one-man Big Big Train on epics such as Winter Maker and The Tears Of Frigga.
The Gabriel-like Hygge is a flawless tear-jerker and there’s a Bollywood Star Trek spin on Troika for Sleigh Ride.
Do you believe in Father Christmas? Then get this under your tree. (8/10)
Intervals - The Way Forward
Want your instrumental prog technical, riff-driven, but with shades of jazz and yacht rock? Canada’s Aaron Marshall can help. On his third album he retains his ethic that “an instrument is a means of communication”, with eight tracks of fleet-fingered exposition that always retain melody amid the post-djent profusion. Touch And Go is a terrific taster – colourful, bouncy, Steve Vai-style playfulness. (6/10)
Turn Me On Dead Man - Heavy Metal Mothership
Named after Revolution 9’s tenuous backmasked message, this excellent fifth by the San Fran stoners should be played forwards for its full psych-rockin’ impact. Fans of Hawkwind, Sabbath and Big Elf will revel in Mind Of Oz’s monolithic DikMik groovathon or Master Planet + Mother Star + Secret Moon’s Mastodon blowout. (8/10)
Jordan Rudess And Steve Horelick - Intersonic
Here Dream Theater keyboard maestro Rudess teams up with Steve Horelick for a trip into ambient classical. Whether piano led (Child Mind), burbling with minimalist figures (Particles), or creeping you out with Radiophonic atmos (Swarms), it’s both the soundtrack to a spa minibreak in the Cotswolds and intense cinematic experimentalism. (6/10)
Field Music - Open Here
Sunderland’s sibling art-rockers return with a sixth album spun on a James Brown/XTC /10cc axis, embellished beautifully by flute, sax, strings and choir, “pushing in every direction we can go,” they’ve declared. Mellifluent art-pop (Time Of Joy) meets social privilege (Count It Up), culminating in the breathtaking symphonic suite Find A Way To. All Canterbury capers by way of Paisley Park and Tyne & Wear. (8/10)