Wakeman, Adam - Neurasthenia

Year of Release: 2003
Label: ATT Records
Catalog Number: ATTCD001
Format: CD
Total Time: 67:44:00

As the second son of Rick Wakeman, Adam Wakeman has tasted both from the progressive rock cup of tea as well as more contemporary rock and pop. As a keyboard player for All Saints, Atomic Kitten, Victoria Beckham, Annie Lennox and lately Travis, Adam has understood that, if he wants to survive in today's music business and wants to make a decent living, he needs to concentrate on other things besides purely progressive rock. Let's be honest, although prog currently unleashes more CDs and bands than ever before, it still is very much an underground experience where bands most of the time fork out money out of their own pocket in order to either record an album or go on tour. Adam has toured extensively with his dad and even performed with Yes in London when Igor Koroshev didn't seem to make it. Sadly for Adam, he made it at the very last minute so they let him do the encore as a thank you. If a band like Yes is confident enough to let a young guy like Adam Wakeman perform without rehearsing, then surely they must put a lot of trust in him.

As said before, even when Adam still had long curly hair and was enabled to record and deliver some solo material for the President label, his material was more song oriented than the material one would normally expect from a prog oriented artist. No doubt by means of his current involvements, Adam has turned even more to the shorter songs instead of the bombastic everlasting epics with as a big surprise that he even plays a lot of guitar on this his lastest album. Other than a pure solo album, Adam Wakeman in 2004 is more like a trio with newcomers Richard Brook on drums and Steve Davis on bass. The Internet says that Richard Brook is a professor, but that surely won't be our man here. However, we find his name on the website of the London Music School, yet as you can expect, there's no info on him at all and even no photograph, so we can't know for sure it's the same guy, although we strongly think so. With a name like Steve Davis it's even worse. There's Steve Davis the amateur radio enthusiast, Steve Davis the video productions man, Steve Davis the man who delivers material for US rodeos, Steve Davis the technical illustrator, Steve Davis the Australian comedian, and out there somewhere you can find adult videos featuring Steve Davis. No doubt the latter category could be our man, having sufficient time left to play the bass once he gets home after a day's worth of filming! In fact, "our" Steve Davis was one of the members of the band Shooter with whom Adam toured in the States during '98 and '99. Enough humour, now so let's concentrate on Neurasthenia instead.

I'm not really sure why Adam picked such a difficult title, as it means "a virtually obsolete term, formerly used to describe a vague disorder marked by chronic abnormal fatigability, moderate depression, inability to concentrate, loss of appetite, insomnia, etc? Popularly called nervous prostration, adj, neurasthenic." So there's a professor here anyway? With "Lean On Me," Adam puts the most catchy melody right at the very beginning. Adam has a slightly soft hoarse element in his voice, which makes it rather original. During "Paranoid Love Song" you would expect some bombastic keyboard arrangements, yet instead Adam concentrates on some tasty, rocking guitar. I do hear some organ in the back, which sadly is not loud enough in the mix. Right at the very end, though, the song ends with some mellotron chords. The jokingly entitled "Broken Biscuits" would benefit from a much more powerful choir instead of the single voice of Jo Knight here, but then again, budget is always the main issue with these kind of recordings, which often is a sad thing as you can hear the potential of a certain song which in the end is not fully exploited. "Free Ride" is a fun song which instantly is as catchy as hell. Play this on the radio and the boy has his first hit in his pocket.

One would expect this album to be bulging with guest appearances, but it looks like nothing in that respect is happening. However, once you listen to that magnificent synth solo during "Sacred," you're almost certain that dad Rick has entered the studio, but it's once again the talented Adam himself. Maybe this is the kind of angle new progressive rock should be taking: blending authentic prog elements within a more contemporary setting without losing the main rhythm. Remember those hollow plastic tubes you had when you were a kid? You had to swing them around as fast as you could and they would deliver a spooky sound. It's that sound which is to be found right at the very beginning of the acoustic "180 Daze," which not only features Adam on the wonderful Fender Rhodes but also introduces the jazzy saxophone of Reg Chapman. Sade eat your heart out! During the final track "My Poison," Adam Wakeman fully experiments, incorporating different sound samples in order to deliver an audio canvas, a surrealistic sound paining if you like.

If I have to be really honest about this release, I think there's too much stuff on this album to keep the listener concentrating throughout. It would have been better if Adam had restricted himself to maybe ten songs, saving the other three for another album. Although the material on this album is varied throughout, some of the later tracks on this album do sound a bit similar, which, due to the trio format, does not give enough options to explore the musical idea further. It nevertheless is a daring experience, having left the path of the obvious progressive rock choice for more contemporary music. Wakeman fans that are expecting "traditional" keyboard extravaganzas will not find what they're looking for; however, fans of Travis or Train will probably enjoy this disc much more. Although this is a pure Adam Wakeman solo album, he should nevertheless ask for some guest involvment for his next solo outing because I feel that the inclusion of extra acoustic elements might do the arrangements a world of good, whilst injecting some well-known names might boost sales as well and a good sale is important if the world has to know who you are. Ladies and gentlemen, after the wellknown Six Wives Of Henry VIII comes The Second Son Of Rick Wakeman, with a decent helping of guitar oriented rock to please the demanding music lover.

Lean On Me / Paranoid Love Song / Broken Biscuits / Free Ride / Error 400 (Mistake) / Sacred / 180 Daze / In Too Deep / Speak / Out Of My Hands / Faded / Shine / My Poison

Adam Wakeman - vocals, guitar, Fender Rhodes, piano, keyboards
Richard Brook - drums, percussion
Steve Davis - bass
Jo Knight - backing vocals
Reg Chapman - sax

Wakeman With Wakeman (w/Rick) (1992)
Soliloquy (1993)
100 Years Overtime (1994)
No Expense Spared (w/Rick) (1994)
Romance Of The Victorian Age (w/Rick) (1994)
Tapestries (w/Rick) (1996)
Vignettes (w/Rick) (1996)
Real World Trilogy (1997)
Wakeman With Wakeman Live (w/Rick)
Out Of The Blue (w/Rick)
Live In Buenos Aires (w/Rick) (2002)
The Revealing Songs Of Yes (2001)
Neurasthenia (2003)
plus guest appearances...

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: January 27th 2004
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.adamwakeman.com
Hits: 1381
Language: english


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