Magenta - Home


Year of Release: 2006
Label: F2 Music
Catalog Number: 200606
Format: CD
Total Time: 67:19:00

Magenta's third studio album sees the band unwilling to rest on their laurels, and determined to strive for a somewhat different sound and feel to the previous albums.

Having heard some of the Home material played live for close on?year now, initially I was a little concerned that nothing seemed to really jump out at me, I didn't hear a "Gluttony," or a "Pride," or a "White Witch" - I liked the material and it was always excellently performed, but at the time I didn't feel the material was as strong as previous releases.

However, as time went on the songs did take shape and attained a comfortable familiarity about them (bear in mind that the songs were still in their embryonic state back then) - and now that the album is here those fears are gone.

Home is a more mature, contemporary work than the previous releases - the album cover and design jumps out at you straight away, and at first glance nothing about it says progressive - and that's just an observation, not a detrimental comment. But as I said earlier, it's symptomatic of the bands determination to keep fans on their toes and not play things safe. It certainly got my attention.

I would describe the theme of the album as a contemporary story set to music - I am not going to use the word concept because I don't believe that's how this album should be described, and also because of the occasional negative connotations that word often conjures up within the genre. It is simply a collection of songs to illustrate a story.

The story itself revolves around a troubled young girl who leaves Liverpool, England in the hope of finding a better life in New York and then traveling across the US on a voyage of discovery. What she discovers over there is not quite what she expected, and the songs detail her thoughts, experiences and the eventual realisations she comes to about her life.

In fact, the emphasis is very much on the songs and lyrics here. Though the instrumentation and musicianship is as good as ever, the songs are given room to breathe thanks to the excellent production on the album - there is sometimes a pleasingly economical feel to the instrumentation, the band feeling no need to bathe the songs in keyboard washes or unnecessary solos to keep things interesting. This is a band who has the confidence to let the songs stand on their own.

New to the mix this time are some excellent contributions from Troy Donockley on Uillllean pipes and whistles, and a touch of saxaphone from Lee Goodall as well.

Christina's performance on this album is nothing short of extraordinary - lyrically this is very dense and she is almost like an actor who has to appear in every scene of a movie, but her vocal performance elicits a very comforting, emotional and often heart-wrenching reaction.

Up until now I have concentrated on the songs and lyrics, but let's not forget that Magenta are a very cohesive unit, their musicianship having been honed to perfection through their many live performances over the past 4 years - and they still know how to rock. After the gentle opening of "This Life," "Hurt" soon kicks the album off in classic Magenta style, and the aforementioned notion of keeping the instrumentation reasonably sparse and simple means that the bass and drums have a real force behind them, breathing life into the songs and carrying them along on a very powerful rhythm section.

Guitar work on the album is excellent always, especially that twin guitar attack opening on "Demons," and everything is? propelled along by that very formidable rhythm section. I like how the keyboard work is largely understated on the album, perfectly complimenting the songs but never overused. It's as a composer and producer that Rob Reed really shines here, and there's certainly no questioning Rob's musical dexterity.

This is an album that may not at first jump out at you, may not initially provoke an emotional response due to the occasional changes in style and direction, but like a lot of albums that stand the test of time once you become familiar with the songs and various themes, those consistently strong melodies and hooks start to work their magic. Music of this nature that challenges and surprises you will always stand the test of time, music that does not indulge in musical parlour tricks or derivative instrumental noodling.

Testament to the assured longevity of the Home material was evident at the recent launch gig for the album in Rotherham UK, where the new material came across as immensely powerful and assured, and at no point did you feel shortchanged by some of the older material being moved aside to make way for the new.

So, a large step forward for Magenta, illustrating that there is more to them than meets the eye and an album that is very much worthy of your attention.


Tracklisting:
This Life (2:30) / Hurt (5:35) / Moving On (6:02) / My Home Town (Far Away) (3:56) / Brave New Land (1:02) / The Journey (6:21) / Towers Of Hope (2:10) / Demons (5:16) / Morning Sunlight (2:43) / Joe (11:14) / A Dream (1:11) / The Visionary (6:00) / Journey?s End (7:41) / The Travellers Lament (1:15) / Home (4:13)

Musicians:
Rob Reed - keyboards, bass, guitars, backing vocals, recorder, tambourine, grand piano, mandolin, acoustic guitar
Christina - lead vocals
Chris Fry - lead guitar
Martin Rosser - lead guitar
Dan Fry - bass
Allan Mason-Jones - drums

Guests:

Tim Robinson - drums
Martin Shellard - guitar
Lee Goodall - tenor saxophone
Hywel Maggs - guitar
Christian Philips - guitar, backing vocals
Troy Donockley - Uilleann pipes, whistles
Mal Pope - backing vocals
Lorrain King - backing vocals

Discography:
Revolutions (2001)
Seven (2004)
Broken (EP) (2004)
Another Time... Another Place (2004)
I'm Alive (EP) (2004)
Home (2006)
Night And Day (w/Annie Haslam) (2006)
New York Suite (2006)
The Singles (2007)
Metamorphosis (2008)
Live At The Point 2007 (2008)
Seven (ltd CD/DVD, remixed/remastered) (2009)
Live At Read World (2010)
The Gathering (2010)
Live: On OUr Way To Knows Where (2012)
Chameleon (2011)
The Lizard King E.P. (EP) (2013)
The Twenty Seven Club (2013)
We Are Legend (2017)

The Gathering (DVD) (2005)
The Metamorphosis Collection (DVD) (2008)
Live At The Point 2007 (DVD) (2009)
Chaos From The Stage (DVD) (2016)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: May 7th 2006
Reviewer: John Morley

Artist website: www.magenta-web.com
Hits: 1141
Language: english

  

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