Andrews, Robert - The Host

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 112
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:17:00

His previous effort An Amnesty For Bonny Things On Sunny Days had introduced the then unknown Robert Andrews as a very melodic guitar player with an ear for interesting moves and lovely, fragile soundscapes. On his new album The Host, Robert is accompanied by Cyclops label boss Malcolm Parker on drums who complements the music in the way it is required: soft and intimate in the delicate passages such as opening track "Contrails," dynamic and energetic in the more electrically arranged songs. In a style which is typical for Anthony Philips, the acoustic guitar of the title track brings you in a dreamy world before the electric guitar takes over introducing a feel which could be early Led Zeppelin mixed with an undercurrent of Mike Oldfield. In this lengthy track the dreamy passages alternate with the heavier sections creating kind of a wavy effect. Andrews is at his very best during the subtle "guitar only" passages as in the intro for "Caution To The Wind." Once the arrangement kicks off however we find ourselves in the middle of a Camel outtake from their Mirage period. I guess it's especially the organ which follows the scales together with the guitar which give away that feel. On top of that Russel Jones' saxophone adds an interesting move before solitary piano takes over creating yet another mood.

In "Lake Vinuela" Robert's guitar sound remains very close to that of Andy Latimer, yet he kind of embeds it, like it gets a mellow Pink Floyd feel in the background. Nevertheless the song evolves towards the atmosphere we used to know from The Snowgoose. Lush orchestral strings open up for "Saboteur" before their power is interrupted by heavy guitars that follow an almost atonal chorus. But then the guitar riffs almost steer towards pure authentic rock'n roll, which is something we would not at all have expected. However it's the bass guitar that takes over and once again changes the atmosphere completely, even introducing some Moorish acoustic guitar whilst psychedelic parts are played in the background. The Pink Floyd elements take over entertwined with some Anekdoten sidesteps not in the least because of the introduction of great mellotron chops. This part is also very reminiscent of Steve Hackett during his Spectral Mornings period. Robert Andrews is also a very accomplished bass player and gets his "pièce de résistance" for that specific instrument during "Ice Angel," the closing song on this album.

Whilst Robert's debut album was purely acoustic, getting close to folk, on The Host he introduces his skills on the electric guitar as well, which together with the more elaborate arrangements, delivers a much more progressive end result. Fans of Steve Hackett and Camel won't be dissapointed as this pure instrumental album contains numerous and different flavours which will please the most demanding progfan around. A great step forward and the right band to get out on the road very soon!

Contrails (4:00) / The Host (15:26) / Caution To The Wind (7:53) / Mount Maroma (2:27) / Lake Vinuela (8:43) / Saboteur (13:49) / Ice Angel (2:59)

Robert Andrews - bass, electric and acoustic guitars
David Groves - guitar-synth, guitars, keyboards
Malcolm Parker - drums
Russell Jones - saxophone

An Amnesty For Bonny Things On Sunny Days (1999)
The Host (2002)

Genre: Progressive Folk

Origin UK

Added: July 30th 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1055
Language: english


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