Touchstone - Discordant Dreams

Year of Release: 2007
Label: Touchstone Music
Catalog Number: 5060153430036
Format: CD
Total Time: 63:34:00

Touchstone (courtesy)Touchstone are a band hailing from Hertfordshire in the UK who have been bubbling under on the prog circuit for a couple of years now. They have released a couple of EPs so far, but have primarily been working towards putting their first album together - and Discordant Dreams is the result.

And all I can say is, after the years of occasional line up changes, smallish gigs, support slots and the occasional festival appearance, these guys are now ready for the big time, and are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

I have seen the band live quite a few times, and I have always liked them. But then recently I saw them again in the UK at the Summers End Festival debuting some of the new material here, and they had really stepped things up a few gears. So now ... I really like them.

After an atmospheric, Middle Eastern tinged intro the title track kicks in, and kicks in hard. Paul "Moo" Moorghen's intricate fretless bass work keeps things moving along nicely, while keyboard player Rob Cottingham and lead vocalist Kim Seviour's breathy vocals pull you in and the killer, wonderfully melodic and catchy chorus just hooks you instantly. A great song, only slightly marred for me by a somewhat redundant reprise.

"Curious Angel" previously appeared on one of the bands EPs, and is another very accessible track, with some great riffing and shredding by guitarist Adam Hodgson, building to a powerful climax with some soulful wailing from Kim, and drummer Al Melville giving it some welly on his double bass drums ["giving it some welly" ... kicking the hell out of them, one of those quaint English expressions, doncha' know].

"See The Light" is the only track on the album that does not really stand out for me, not a bad song by any means, just kind of ordinary.

"Being Hannah" is a bit of a driving rocker that really showcases Kim and Rob's vocal abilities, not to mention Adam's dynamic guitar work.

The epic "Shadow" is possibly my favorite track on the album. This really impressed me in when I saw them live recently and that was my first hearing - thematically very strong, with a great, catchy guitar intro from Adam taking us into a sinister tale of an assassin stalking his prey. I love the edgy, frenetic instrumental mid section with bass, drums, guitar and keys all kicking up a hell of a storm, before hitting us with another wonderful, satisfying chorus.

"Ocean Down" starts gently with just piano and vocals, a short but very appealing number which showcases Kim and Rob's vocal talents perfectly.

"Blacktide" is an exceptionally powerful track and one of the album's highlights, a masterfully sinister and compelling song that just builds and builds, getting darker and heavier until it climaxes in an orgy of crunching guitars swathed in atmospheric synth washes.

"Dignity" features guitar work from the ubiquitous John Mitchell (who also mixed the album), and is another vocally strong track; after a gentle opening, it springs into life with a lightning-fast keyboard riff from Rob, and some more terrific guitar work from Messrs Hodgson and Mitchell.

The mammoth "Beggars Song" is a track that has been played live for some time now, though for the album it has been reworked and expanded. Thematically it's very interesting (and certainly if you live and work in London), dealing with the idea of a once successful man now down on his luck and homeless on the streets in London, looking at city workers, traders, etc. from a different perspective as he watches the world go by. Nods to old nursery rhymes are interwoven into a tale of lament and woe for a city that, in the eyes of the protagonist, seems to have lost its identity. Musically this is also extremely dense, lots of keyboard and guitar interplay and pounding bass and drums, building to another powerful, majestic and extremely satisfying climax.

The combination of the band honing their craft on the live gigs, backed up by the excellent musicianship and production work on this album has really made a difference - there is a dynamism and an energy to the material and the performances that is very refreshing.

A very strong debut album - time to sit up and start taking notice of Touchstone.

Intro (1:35) / Discordant Dreams (5:56) / Curious Angel (4:45) / See The Light (7:01) / Being Hannah (5:11) / Shadow (6:47) / Winter Coast Instrumental (0:22) / Ocean Down (2:23) / Blacktide (5:49) / Dignity (5:43) / The Beggars Song (11:04) / [Hidden Track: (6:52)]

Rob Cottingham - vocals, keyboards, SFX
Kim Seviour - vocals
Adam Hodgson - guitars
Paul Moorghen - bass, backing vocals
Al Melville - drums


John Mitchell - guitar (10)

Mad Hatters (EP) (2006)
Discordant Dreams (2007)
Wintercoast (2009)
The City Sleeps (2011)
Oceans Of Time (2013)
Lights From The Sky (EP) (2016)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: September 30th 2007
Reviewer: John Morley
Artist website:
Hits: 3474
Language: english


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