Jadis - Photoplay

Year of Release: 2006
Label: InsideOut/Suburban
Catalog Number: IOMCD 238
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

It has been another three years since we embraced the latest Jadis studio effort Fanatic. I remember having written that I was not totally pleased with that album. In fact, since the band's debut More Than Meets The Eye in 1992 (gloriously re-released by Inside Out in 2005 sporting an extra bonus disc featuring the band's very first vinyl release), I have not been fully satisfied with any Jadis release. The period when Martin Orford and John Jowitt were no longer part of the band (their place taken by Mike Torr and Steve Hunt respectively), Jadis had a different sound, a different attitude, trying to steer the band in more of rock direction and thus chosing for the obvious rather than the experimental. With Photoplay it looks like Jadis has finally reached the point they should have found a tad earlier. Strange enough this new album also means the definate departure from Martin Orford (this looks more and more like Rick Wakeman and Yes to me). However the compositions, although still mainly concentrated around Gary Chandler's effective, ingenious and brilliant guitar playing, offers much more interesting hooks and arrangements than before. Stephen Christey's drumming is fierce, effective yet not the kind of style a lot of prog freaks would associate with their favourite genre. OK, fair enough, yet this is neo-prog; in other words the best of two worlds being prog and rock. Therefore the Jadis output might attract more music lovers than we might possibly guess. And Photoplay is a wonderful album in that respect as the band also tries to weave pure prog highlights in their mainly accessible rock driven output. I refer to the splendid organ solo during "Asleep In My Hands" as a prime example here.

Photoplay is the very first result of Gary Chandler working with the mighty Pro Tools, bombarding him also with the role as sound engineer. In the end a more relaxed composer, arranger, producer, engineer and performer aka Gary Chandler, can look back at a completely different recording experience giving him infinite possibilities. Over the years Gary has moulded his guitar playing into a very original sound which immediately sets him apart from hundreds of "other" guitarists. As the driving force behind Jadis, the guitar is the backbone of the Jadis skeleton although Christey and Jowitt have created the perfect Siamese twin bass/drums combination on top of which the Jadis songbook is written. Maybe some of the keyboard playing is mixed too thin in the background leaving all space for the obvious guitar, whether it delivers pristine solos or a mere collection of riffs. Over the years the name Jadis has become synonymous with acts like Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Asia and even Mike and the Mechanics, yet the unique timbre of Gary's voice combined with the original guitar sound result in the unrivalled Jadis brand. Add to this the equally original artwork from brother Geoff and Photoplay can proudly be added to any important record collection. A nice twist is the addition of female backing vocals in "Make Me Move" which together with the inclusion of slide guitar give it a different feel. Nevertheless it remains a very intense and powerful track which should do well live.

Out of the eleven brand new songs on this album, Jadis has mainly emphasized on the heavy riffs and the melodies. Especially the latter seem to be a strong point in the Chandler household although I'd like to stress the fact that the quality of the melodies on this Photoplay are of a much higher standard than previously released material. I put "Need To Breathe" forward here as it combines both a damned heavy riff as well as a more laidback structure yet both have this instant recognizable factor. Add to this a singalong chorus and this will most certainly be a showstopper. I have tremendously enjoyed listening to the entire album and can't find any criticism at all (except maybe that some of Martin's playing is not upfront enough). The only thing I can hope for is that the band finds a suitable replacement for Martin as what Jadis really need is not just a keyboard player but also a damn good friend. It's especially this combination which seems to be the most difficult to find. However looking at the regular intervals between studio offerings, they have another three years to make up their mind!

There's A Light / What Goes Around / Asleep In My Hands / Standing Still / I Hear Your Voice / Make Me Move / Who I Am / Need To Breathe / Please Open Your Eyes / All You've Ever Known / Photoplay

Gary Chandler - guitar, vocals
Martin Orford - keyboards
John Jowit - bass, backing vocals
Stephen Christey - drums


Steve Thorne - backing vocals

More Than Meets The Eye (1992)
Once Upon A Time (EP) (1993)
Across The Water (1994)
No Sacrifice (EP) (1994)
Once Or Twice (EP) 1996)
Somersault (1997)
As Daylight Fades (1998)
Understand (2000)
Medium Rare (2001)
Alive Outside (2001)
Fanatic (2003)
More Than Meets The Eye -Special Edition (2005)
Photoplay (2006)
See Right Through You (2012)
No Fear Of Looking Down (2016)
More Than Meets The Eye - 25th Anniversary Edition (2017)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: February 20th 2006
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.jadismusic.com
Hits: 1598
Language: english


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