Jadis - Somersault

Year of Release: 1997
Label: Dorian Music
Catalog Number: JAD 001
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:01:00

When I met Steve Rothery a while ago he told me he had created his own label, Dorian Music, for the purpose of giving certain musicians what they have deserved for years but weren't able to get from other record companies. One of these bands was Jadis, to whom he wanted to give the opportunity to become a full-time band.

The band, who won the "Best band of the year" award in 1994, released an album many years ago, produced by Steve Rothery, which was the start of a long friendship. Rothery had produced several of their demo tapes and these recordings, plus four new songs, were pressed onto vinyl. Jadis also supported Marillion during their Clutching At Straws tour in 1988, culminating in an unforgettable three nights at the Hammersmith Odeon. In the wake of those dates, the band released More Than Meets The Eye and Across The Water, and two mini-CD's Once Upon A Time and Once Or Twice. Over the years, they also saw various members of the band come and go; the release of this album is also an introduction for the big public to the two newcomers Mike Torr on keyboards and Steve Hunt on bass. They respectively replaced Martin Orford and John Jowitt who wanted to concentrate their time solely to IQ.

So here we are [in 1997] with their third full-CD Somersault. When I saw the band live some time ago at a festival in Zwolle, I wasn't impressed at all. I had seen Jadis on numerous previous occasions, most of which I liked tremendously, but each time I saw them with the current line-up,I didn't like it. In Zwolle it was like Gary Chandler had another gig lined up somewhere and had to rush off to another city immediately after this gig. Those of you who know Gary also know he's a bit of an untidy guy, leading an unconcerned life (or so it seems at least). However this time around, his music also sounded very untidy, rushing his solos as if he was about to die the next minute and wanted to play the new material at least one more time in his life! Also, the arrival of bass player Steve Hunt introduced a more funky playing style, and on stage it sometimes looked like Steve was trying to get all the attention. So I was on my guard when this album arrived through my letterbox!

It would be wrong to suggest that the new album should sound completely different to what Jadis has done before. Gary's guitar playing is so unique that it is the reference point for everything he does anyway, so expecting a different guitar sound would be illogical. Also, his vocal range remains the same, so the only changes that could be found would be in the arrival of the new members and/or in the compositions themselves. In fact, very little has changed, as the same producer has been used as well as the same sleeve designer. So welcome aboard once again Rob Aubrey and Geoff Chandler!

The intro to the opener "Live This Lie" doesn't really fit with the rest of the track. In fact, I see this intro as a short song itself. However, the actual track is very powerful, following the well-known patented Jadis recipe. The guitars are harder than usual, whilst the keyboards are mixed way in the back from the beginning until we get the full sound at the end of the song. At the end of the track we find all of the typical guitar sounds Gary has been offering us all these years. With not even a second to take some breath, Jadis starts "Batstein" with some nice piano interventions from Mike Torr, slowing the rhythm down before it gives way to yet another Chandler riff.

Slight industrial noises introduce "Speechless" before Stephen Christey can start banging his drums and Gary can open up his box of tricks. "Losing My Fear" is one of my favourites, as it changes the mood of the song constantly, whilst remaining the ideal backdrop for Gary's many solos. It opens and ends with acoustic guitars, before it explores the electric territory. Subtle acoustic guitars also appear in the ballad "Tomorrow Always Arrives" and for the first time an original "hook" that unfortunately isn't used to the fullest. A drum machine introduces "Falling Away" before the real drums take over and acoustic piano hides behind Gary's voice. "Hear Us" continues in the same vein as the rest of the album: Gary's limited voice, set against the rhythmic drum/bass pattern and backed by a range of keyboards, each time enabling him to use a different guitar sound. The best part of the album comes almost at the end when you hear a naive melody on keyboards, accompanied by soft guitar chords, before it takes over in the well-known driving rhythmic force.

It's not a bad album, but is rather average as the important third album. It doesn't contain any tracks that stand out a mile and could guarantee the necessary airplay. Furthermore, apart from Gary there's little room for the rest of the band members to explore their possibilities. After all, Jadis is Gary Chandler, so I don't think a lot will change in the future. Let's put it this way: on occasion I really love to have some porridge, but I wouldn't want to have it on my menu every day for the rest of my life. Sorry guys but I'm not at all impressed!

Live This Lie (8:44) / Batstein (6:52) / Speechless (5:34) / Losing My Fear (6:07) / Tomorrow Always Arrives (4:31) / Falling Away (6:50) / Hear Us (9:40)

Gary Chandler - lead vocals, guitars, and backing vocals
Stephen Christey - drums
Steve Hunt - bass
Mike Torr - keyboards and backing vocals
Josten Obers - 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: September 24th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.jadismusic.com
Hits: 1001
Language: english


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