Tangent, The - The World That We Drive Through

Year of Release: 2004
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 186/SPV 085-40522
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:27:00

The Tangent's second release, The World That We Drive Through has already been ably and thoroughly reviewed on these pages by Joshua and Clayton, so you may well wonder this late in the game what I could possibly add. Perhaps not much, other than to make sure my voice is added to the chorus of voices of saying that this album is a winner! A not-to-be missed, sure-to-be-a-classic, release from 2004. Turn back the clock and put this one on my top 10 list hands down... (well, top 11, really).

Of course, I'll say a bit more than that because I can't help it. There are passages on this album that make me giddly with delight... okay, pretty much the whole album makes me giddly with delight... and I'm not one for giddiness (at least showing it outwardly). Hmm ... prog as champagne? Yes, it's that's bubbly and good natured, without the tartness that wine has -- though I should tell you that I don't drink, so it'd be Martinelli's versus grape juice. Perhaps it's the infectious joy of its creation that shines through, of people making music they want to hear, and knowing that there are a great number of people out there who also want to hear it. The whole premise behind the band is picking up where the prog greats left off, and they carry this torch with honor and dignity and reverence while forging new ground.

I really love this album. The opener, "The Winning Game," does sound strongly of The Flower Kings, in part because there are three members of the Flower Kings heard here (well, 2 current and 1 former member) in Roine Stolt (guitar, vocals), Jonas Reingold (bass) and Zoltan Csorsz (drums and percussion); in part because Stolt has a distinctive voice; and three, it just plan sounds like a Flower Kings track. It has that breezy, jazzy feel that the Flower Kings have added to their sound of late (at least up to Adam & Eve). As you might expect, lots of keyboards, searing-soaring guitar leads, and an epic scope (and wryly observant lyrics). It even closes with a bit of the Carpenters' ... "Skipping The Distance" is musically cheerful, rocking piece that mixes driving percussion and beefy guitar soloing with trilling flute (Theo Travis)... and, of course, keyboards, including some lovely, shimmery keyboard textures, smoldering organ, and tinkling piano. It sounds at once retro and modern (again, that's the idea), as you can add in some "age-of-Aquarius" influenced 60s atmosphere - female vox singing ethereal "la la."

One of my favorite tracks is "Photosynthesis," a richly symphonic piece that has Tillison in fine voice. There's enough texture floating about that you can get as lost in the mix as you can in the artwork of Ed Unitsky. More jazzy stylings can be found here in the tinkling piano, the brush-like drum work, the moody saxes and those trilling flutes of Travis'. This piece was written by co-keyboardist, the one responsible for many (if not all) of those piano-like phrases, Sam Baine (or Mrs. Andy Tillison). Magical.

But my favorite favorite is the title track, "The World We Drive Through," especially in the way the lead vocal is rendered in this slightly jazzy piece (certainly in Zoltan Csorsz' drumming), but we have some lovely lead guitar here, too; proggy keyboards, tinkling, grand piano-like tones... it's a 13-minute work that has enough gradations in texture, in mood, and tone that it doesn't outlast its welcome.

The album's closer is "A Gap In The Night," a darker piece and sounds like it could be an outtake from Phantom Of The Opera actually. The deep toned vocals that start out the piece sound a bit like Michael Crawford. It certainly has the theatric feel that an Andrew Lloyd Webber piece has, but it's also much proggier - churning guitars and bass, throbbing drums, parpy keyboard solos... This is, apparently, a reworking of a track written for Parallel or 90 Degrees' album The Corner Of The Room (1996). Tillison shares vocals with Manning and Stolt. At just about half way through, we get some atmospheric, spacey keyboard textures -- tinkling effects sounds like floating stardust (we are) -- and acoustic guitar from Manning, who takes over lead vocals for this section. Things shift again to a much punchier, heavier, section with widdly keys taking the lead ... become something a bit Arena-like (to my ears). Well, at 18-plus minutes, you know this septet will cover a lot of territory and textures... It's the meatiest piece on the album, the boldest in it's musical statement... And the most artiest, as well (listen to the avant-garde section at 13:30 or so). Stolt takes over lead vocals at this point, the piece picks up on the jazzy textures heard before, including Travis' sax.

Ah, well, I guess I've "added" quite a bit, eh? Now, don't get me wrong; I haven't just discovered this album. I have been listening to now for a while now...erm, quite a while, in fact... but have finally stopped just listening to it to pause and write a little (lotta) something about it.

A fabulous release; if you haven't gone of on this Tangent yet, divert yourself to a record store now. Now!

By the way, there is a special edition that adds a bonus track called "Exponenzgesetz".

The Winning Game (11:10) / Skipping The Distance (8:57) / Photosynthesis (7:40) / The World We Drive Through (13:00) / A Gap In The Night (18:20) / Bonus Track (Special Edition only) Exponenzgesetz (14:00)

Andy Tillison - keyboards, vocals
Roine Stolt - electric guitar/vocals
Sam Baine - keyboards, vocals
Jonas Reingold - bass
Zoltan Cs?rsz - drums
Guy Manning acoustic guitars, vocals
Theo Travis - saxophones, flutes

The Music That Died Alone (2003)
The World We Drive Through (2004)
Pyramids And Stars (2005)
A Place In The Queue (2006)
Going Off On One (2007)
Not As Good As The Book (2008)
Down And Out In Paris And London (2009)

Going Off On One (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin VA

Added: May 29th 2006
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.thetangent.org
Hits: 1392
Language: english


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